Po Lin Monastery & Big Buddha

Po Lin is a huge Buddhist monastery and temple complex that was built in 1924. Today it seems more of a tourist honeypot than a religious retreat, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors a year and still being expanded. Most of the buildings you'll see on arrival are new, with the older, simpler ones tucked away behind them. The main compound has several areas to peer into, such as the Main Shrine Hall of Buddha.

The big draw is the enormous seated bronze Buddha, a must-see on any Hong Kong trip. Commonly known as the "Big Buddha," the Tian Tan Buddha is a representation of Lord Gautama some 23m high (or 26.4m with the lotus), or just under 34m if you include the podium. It was unveiled in 1993, and today it still holds the honour of being the tallest seated bronze Buddha statue in the world.

Peak Tram

This cable-hauled funicular railway has been scaling the 396m ascent to the highest point on Hong Kong Island since 1888. A ride on this clanking tram is a classic Hong Kong experience, with vertiginous views over the city as you ascend the steep mountainside. It's become so popular that the whole experience was upgraded with larger trams and a bigger lower terminus in 2021.

The Peak Tram runs every 10 to 15 minutes from 7:30am to 11pm; booking in advance or using an Octopus card to pay for the ticket will help reduce your queuing time. Note that the ticket office will push the fare that includes entry to the Sky Terrace 428 viewing deck (HK$122/148 per one way/return). Be sure to sit on the righthand side going up for the best views.

Victoria Peak

Standing at 552m, Victoria Peak is the highest point on Hong Kong Island. It is also one of the most visited spots by tourists, and it's not hard to see why. Sweeping views of the metropolis, verdant woods and easy but spectacular walks are all reachable in just eight minutes from Central via Hong Kong's 125-year-old, gravity-defying Peak Tram. Predictably, it's become a money-making circus with restaurants and two shopping malls, but there's still magic up here if you can get past that.
The Peak Tram's upper terminus spits you out at the Peak Tower. Ascend to Level 5 and you'll reach the Sky Terrace 428, so named because it stands at 428 metres above sea level. In Hong Kong terms, this is the top of the world and you'll be greeted with panoramic 360-degree views of Hong Kong's forest of skyscrapers, the harbour and Kowloon beyond (if you can dodge the Instagrammers and official photographer touting for business in front of the best framed view).