The Most “Instagrammable” Places in Hong Kong and if They Are Worth Visiting
In general, I do not see the point of taking pictures of places which have been over-photographed. Furthermore, I do have my issues with people who seem to travel just for the sake of a picture on their Instagram account. I personally enjoy unique pictures and those capturing special moments. As Hong Kong is one of the cities which I know best, I decided to do some research about the most “instagrammable” photo spots and have a look myself.
Choi Hung Estate
Choi Hung Estate (picture above) and its colourful exterior on the Kowloon-side has become probably one of the most popular photo locations. I went there around noon and it was packed with Instagram-fame-seekers (see photo below). I actually was a bit disappointed by the colours – due to the heavy filtering on the Instagram feeds, the colours looked much more intense than in reality.
If it is your first trip to Hong Kong, I think it is not worth going all the way to Choi Hung. From Central, it takes about 35-45 minutes. If you know Hong Kong and are passionate about architecture and interested in public housing complexes, I recommend having a look.
How to Get There
MRT Station Choi Hung, take Exit C4, walk outside and turn left into the estate. Turn left again and walk towards the car park. The basketball court is on top of that car park.
Ping Shek Estate
I discovered this place on a photography account I follow on Instagram and was intrigued by the architecture. For architecture enthusiasts and photographers who love geometric shapes, it is very interesting.
I only recommend to go there if you are really into architecture and photography with geometric shapes. If you decide to go to Choi Hung Estate, I recommend walking over to Ping Shek Estate as well because it is just a stone throw away.
Hot to Get There
MRT Station Choi Hung, take Exit A2. Turn left and take the stairs up into the estate. The geometric structure is the inside of the four towers of the estate. I walked straight until the end of the estate and turned left into one tower. I was a bit confused at first and interestingly, the residents and shop assistants did not actually know where the structure was.
Nan Lian Garden and Chi Lin Nunnery
Next to a huge shopping mall and in the middle of highways, there is this oasis. I personally really enjoyed walking in Nan Lian Garden. Chi Lin Nunnery is right next to the garden and can be accessed from there.
I think the garden and nunnery are interesting if this is your first time in the region and if you have not been to Mainland China or similar gardens before.
How to Get There
MRT Station Diamond Hill, take Exit C2 and take the escalator up until you reach the entrance of the mall. Turn right, pass by Uniqlo and follow the signs to Nan Lian Garden. It is across the street.
My Personal Tip:
If you decide to visit one of these the above locations, I recommend visiting all three of them. You made your way out there, make the most of it. Because of the popularity of the spot, I recommend going to Choi Hung Estate first early in the morning and then to Shek Kip Estate. On your way back, stop at Diamond Hill. Nan Lian Garden is open from 7am.
Sai Wan Swimming Shed in Kennedy Town
This was one of the places that was listed in most of the blogs I screened during my research for this post. I went there in the late afternoon hoping to see the sunset from there. From all the places I visited for this article, this was probably the worst experience. The Sai Wan Swimming Shed is literally a shed. There is a wobbly pier and a long line of (mainly Chinese) tourists queueing up for a picture (see below).
I did take some nice pictures. However, for me, a nice picture should capture a beautiful moment. And my time there was not pleasant at all. The place is full of mosquitoes and people literally only come for a picture. It was a bit funny though to watch the “wannabe-Insta-celebrities” pose and at the same time scream because they were scared that they might fall off the wobbly pier. Furthermore, as you can see on the picture below, people even come with their luggage.
Unless you want to make fun of all the posers, I do not think it is worth going there. There are far nicer seaside places in Hong Kong. Judging by the popularity of the place, I think there must have been a very famous shot on Instagram – or rather WeChat/Weibo in China – that all these people made their way to this place outside of Kennedy Town. I overheard a group of Chinese visitors saying to some others climbing down the stairs that it is not worth it and not beautiful.
How to Get There
I took the MRT until Kennedy Town, took Exit C and walked up Victoria Road and from the Swimming Shed, I took the Bus Line 1 back to Central. However, this bus does not seem to go there regularly. I recommend checking the lines at the station. The bus station is called Caritas Jockey Club Hostel; Victoria Road.
Street Art in Central
Hong Kong street art is all over Instagram. Especially the murals in Central and Sheung Wan. I really enjoy exploring Hong Kong’s street art.
I recommend staying away from the really popular murals (like the one in the picture above) and take pictures of the hidden ones.
I took the above picture of this now popular mural about three years ago at lunchtime. I guess this picture without any crowds has become a rare gem. When you pass by now, you have to fight for a spot to pose.
How to Get There
Walk around in Central and Sheung Wan. Check out my Hong Kong Street Art post (including a map) for more details.
Man Mo Temple
The lanterns of Man Mo Temple in Hollywood Road are a recurring picture on Instagram travel accounts.
Similar to Nan Lian Garden, I recommend visiting Man Mo Temple if you have no previous travel experiences in China. No matter if it is your first trip to Hong Kong or if you are a regular, you will almost always end up somewhere on Hollywood Road and can just quickly stop by the temple.
How to Get There
MRT Station Sheung Wan, Exit A2. Walk down Hillier Street, turn right onto Circular Pathway and then left onto Ladder Street.
Note: At the time when this article was published, the temple was under construction.
View from Kowloon
The view of Hong Kong Island from Kowloon is as famous as the one from Victoria Peak (see below).
I think it is definitely worth to go to the Kowloon-side and enjoy the view from there- whether it is during the “Symphony of Lights”-show in the evening or from the ICC-Tower.
How to Get There
MRT Station Tsim Sha Tsui. I recommend taking the ferry from Central to enjoy the view from the harbour.
Of course, this article cannot be finished without listing the view from Victoria Peak. When I lived in Hong Kong, I walked up the Peak from the Mid-Levels at least once a week. I also had “hiking-dates” which ended up at a cake shop at PMQ to treat ourselves.
When I was out to take pictures for this article, I wanted to capture the sunrise from Lugard Road Lookout. Unfortunately, an over-protective Uber-driver crossed my plans and insisted that I was in the wrong place, dropped me off at the wrong place (twice!), charged me twice for the trips and made me miss the actual sunrise. I managed to take the pictures above from Lion’s Gate.
Yes, definitely. I think a trip to Hong Kong should definitely involve these iconic views. I do not think it is absolutely necessary to go there for sunrise views, as the views are stunning all day.
How to Get There
If you decide to take the Peak Tram, be there when it opens in the morning, as the line can be very long. Pro tip: top up your Octopus Card to avoid the queue for the ticket. You can also walk up if you are in need for some exercise. Alternatively, take a taxi or Uber. Lugard Road Lookout is hidden in a very narrow path. I recommend getting off the car at the main road and then walk the rest.
I also like the Sky Terrace – even though you have to pay an entrance fee – as it is the best spot for pictures. Lugard Road Lookout and Lion’s Gate are accessible for free.
As expected, a lot of the “top places” are crowded and in my opinion overrated. Musts on this list for anyone visiting Hong Kong for the first time are the Peak and the views from Kowloon. I also recommend exploring the city’s street art. Do not waste your time at the Sai Wan Swimming Shed. The places in Kowloon can be interesting if you are interested in public housing architecture and/or have never been to Chinese gardens/nunneries.
I intentionally did not cover two places which are also listed among the top photo places: Ngong Ping with the big Buddha statue and the so-called Monster Building. Ngong Ping is very far off and again, I only recommend it to first timers in Asia. If you have seen Buddhist temples in China or Thailand, for example, I do not think it is worth to invest a whole day (which you will need) to visit Ngong Ping. The so-called Monster Building became famous due to the Transformers movie. As residents have repeatedly voiced their complaints about the masses flocking the place especially at night, I decided to respect their privacy and not list it in this article.
Have you been to any of these places or have a missed your favourite photo spots in Hong Kong? Let me know in the comments below!
More about Hong Kong
Seaside Escapes in Repulse Bay and Stanley
Exploring Hong Kong’s Creative Hub at PMQ
Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) Guide
All information as of the date of publishing. We cannot accept responsibility for the correctness or completeness of the data, or for ensuring that it is up to date. All recommendations are based on the personal experience of Elisabeth Steiger, no fees were received by the recommended places above.
Wow this looks like a great list. I just visited hongkong. Peak is the only place we visited from this list. Hope to visit others on next trip
Thank you for your comment and your feedback, Madhu! I hope you can make it to some of the other places on your next trip. I recommend the street art in Central and Sheung Wan.
What a great idea for a post! It’s interesting what Instagram has done to tourism, right?! I don’t ever travel to a place specifically for the ‘gram, but sometimes I do visit an iconic Instagram spot if I happen to be close by. I like how you tell people whether these spots are actually worth the effort though!
I’m the same, I don’t ever travel specifically for Instagram places either. I was just really curious what the Instagram community considers “the” spots. As a lot of them are quite far off the spots you would visit as a first timer to Hong Kong, I thought it might be useful to assess if they are worth visiting. Glad you enjoyed my article!
This is a nice collection! I’ve pinned it for when I go to Hong Kong.
Thank you very much! Glad you like it!