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Tsim Sha Tsui: Top 11 Attractions & Things to Do (and free spots to view the skyline)

Tsim Sha Tsui is a vibrant neighbourhood at the tip of the Kowloon Peninsula with a lot of dining and shopping options. It also offers you some of the best vantage points for viewing Hong Kong's skyline. Here's a look at the best things to do in Tsim Sha Tsui.

   Top Things to Do in Tsim Sha Tsui

1. Admire the iconic skyline of Hong Kong Island for free

There is no better place to view Hong Kong's skyline than from the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade. It offers a wide and uninterrupted view of the northern coast of the island, which is equally impressive during daytime and nighttime. Every night at 8pm, you can even enjoy a free light show called "A Symphony of Lights".

2. Stroll along the Avenue of Stars

The Avenue of Stars is Hong Kong's version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It features handprints and statues of Hong Kong's prominent stars. It was recently renovated and reopened in 2019. The handprints are now set into the wooden handrails by the sea for an easier viewing experience.

3. Take a ride on the historic Star Ferry

First established in 1888, Star Ferry is the city's oldest-surviving public transport and the cheapest way to cross Victoria Harbour (one-way fare to Central starts from HK$2.6). It's noteworthy that all the ferries in use were built from the 50s to 60s, which have a nice vintage look.

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4. Take a selfie with the Clock Tower

The Clock Tower outside of the Star Ferry Pier has always been a popular meeting point for tourists. It's actually a remnant of the former Kowloon-Canton Railway Terminus, built in 1915. The terminus was demolished back in the 70s to make way for the development of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and other museums.

5. Explore the photogenic K11 MUSEA mall

Opened in 2019, K11 MUSEA is the latest mall in Tsim Sha Tsui. Unlike other malls in Hong Kong, art elements are nicely infused into every corner. It also features a instagrammable atrium and an outdoor sculpture park. You'll also find plenty of unique stores, like MoMA DESIGN STORE, as well as a lot of cafes and restaurants, including Fortnum & Mason, CURATOR Art & Café and Camellia.

6. Shop and dine at Harbour City

Harbour City is Hong Kong's largest shopping complex. It's composed of 5 interconnecting malls, and is home to over 700 shops & 60 restaurants. For wallet-friendly brands, head to Ocean Terminal, Gateway Arcade or visit the Harbour City Bazaar.

7. Catch the sunset at Ocean Terminal Deck

Even if you are not interested in shopping, make sure to check out the free observation deck called Ocean Terminal Deck in Harbour City. It offers a 270-degree panoramic view of Hong Kong's skyline and Victoria Harbour, and it's a very nice spot to view the sunset.

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8. Stroll around 1881 Heritage

1881 Heritage is an upscale shopping arcade converted from a historic complex. It is made up of the Old Marine Police Headquarters (1881) and the Old Kowloon Fire Station (1920). Even though it's highly commercialized, it's still a nice place for photos. If you are here at the weekend, make sure to catch the free 3-D light show 'Our Harbour Our Stories' at 8:30pm.

9. Refresh yourself in the greenery of Kowloon Park

Kowloon Park is a public park converted from the former Whitfield Barracks. Today, you can still find the old battery from the 1870s and four barrack buildings. Two of them now house the Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre, where you can learn about the architectural heritage of Hong Kong for free. The Bird Lake, the Aviary and the Avenue of Comic Stars are also worth checking-out. You will also find the Kowloon Mosque And Islamic Centre nearby, which was built for the Indian soldiers.

10. Sample Local Food at Haiphong Road Cooked Food Hawker Bazaar

Home to about 10 food stalls, the Cooked Food Hawker Bazaar at Haiphong Road is a nice place to get a taste of local food. The prices are surprisingly inexpensive comparing to other restaurants in the neighbourhood. It was recently renovated and reopened in 2020.

11. Explore the historic buildings dotted across the neighbourhood

Though the Kowloon Peninsula had been ceded to the British Empire in 1860, Tsim Sha Tsui's building boom came after 1898, when the boundary between Hong Kong and China pushed further. At first, it was mostly a European-exclusive neighbourhood, and several schools and churches were built for the growing population. Some of the surviving structures includes Kowloon British School (1902), Rosary Church (1905), St. Andrew's Church (1906), St. Micheal Building (1924) and Main Building (1930s) of St. Mary's Canossian College. Most of the early residential buildings, however, have been demolished, and the remaining one on 190 Nathan Road (1930s) is currently facing demolition risk.

Tips for Visiting Tsim Sha Tsui

1. How to get to Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon?

Tsim Sha Tsui is well-connected with the rest of the city. The easiest way to go there would be taking the metro. Most of the major attractions and shopping malls are walkable for either "Tsim Sha Tsui" or "Tsim Sha Tsui East" station. If you go there from Central or Wan Chai, you may consider taking the iconic Star Ferry, which is much cheaper and allows you to enjoy a great view of Hong Kong's skyline.

2. Where to stay in Tsim Sha Tsui on a budget?

Tsim Sha Tsui is generally not a good place to look for cheap yet good-quality hotels, but the good thing is, you can still stay in this area on a budget. There are a number of cheap inns and guesthouses with the most basic amenities at Chungking Mansions and Mirador Mansion.

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