Hong Kong has unusually good museums that are also inexpensive. The top 7 museums listed here are free to enter on Wednesdays since they are public museums. The 10 museums listed here are all sponsored by the government. They are places to go to learn about Hong Kong, China and the world quickly, and have some fun too.
Depending on your interests, you'll have your own favorite museum. But these 10 are recommended as the best in the area.
1. Hong Kong Museum of History (Kowloon)
The big History Museum (香港歷史博物館) is right next to the big Science Museum. They are two of Hong Kong's most visited museums, so these two might be the ones you’d want to see first.
The History Museum attempts to portray the whole panorama of Hong Kong's history from the cosmological beginnings, through the prehistoric times, imperial dynastic rule, British rule, the Japanese occupation, up until the present.
The museum instructs about various eras and topics via tens of thousands of artifacts, specimens, and videos in 8 galleries.
2. Hong Kong Science Museum (Kowloon)
You might really like the big Science Museum (香港科學館) next to the History Museum. This is especially true if you like science, are a kid, or like physical fitness.
Most of the museum is really meant to appeal to kids and teach them science. It gives them a place to have fun with interactive exhibits, computers, and videos. However, adults can learn some science too. You can learn about a broad range of subjects, from physics to nutrition and much in between.
There are 500 exhibits arranged in 18 galleries. There is a physical fitness testing gallery where you can have fun testing your own health and stamina.
3. Hong Kong Space Museum (Tsim Sha Tsui)
Another museum that is instructive for both adults and kids is the egg-shaped Space Museum (香港太空館). It is one of the most popular museums.
Among hundreds of exhibits and specimens, three things make it special:
- the big walk-in model of the Space Shuttle front end,
- a collection of models and artifacts showing the history of Chinese and world rocketry, and
- the Omnimax Theatre that uses the building's big egg-shaped dome as a video projection screen. Seeing an Omnimax film is recommended.
The museum is a Hong Kong landmark because people can see the white dome looming up from the harbor.
4. The Museum of Art (Tsim Sha Tsui)
The Museum of Art (香港藝術館) is a favorite for art lovers. It contains almost exclusively Chinese or Chinese-related art. But its location on the Avenue of Stars near the Star Ferry makes it a tourist attraction too.
It has a good small cafe with outdoor tables overlooking Victoria Harbour, and has a big and good gift shop where you can purchase souvenirs and gifts.
The large museum has four floors and seven galleries, with the star among them all being the Chinese Antiquities Gallery, with precious and exquisite art specimens from every dynastic era since the Neolithic Zhou era.
5. Museum of Coastal Defence (Shau Kei Wan)
You can take a short scenic walk in Shau Kei Wan, and see the biggest museum in Hong Kong that used to be a British fort. It was damaged in WWII, and you can still see some of the war damage as you stroll around the park-like grounds.
The many galleries will show you the panorama of the defense of Hong Kong since the Ming era. You'll appreciate more about the horrors of war and the evolution of both weaponry and war tactics and objectives.
6. Hong Kong Heritage Museum (Sha Tin)
The Hong Kong Heritage Museum in Sha Tin occupies a large building overlooking a canal, but the exhibits cover a relatively small space since most of it is empty space, theaters, and meeting rooms.
There are art exhibitions, art performances, and exhibitions detailing Hong Kong's culture and her cultural roots in both China and Britain.
7. Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Museum (Central District)
Appreciating the life of this famous man will help you to appreciate the modern state of the Chinese people and their future.
He is called "Guo Fu", "The Father of Modern China", and he led an adventurous, dangerous life bringing down the Qing Empire and shaping the modern Chinese government. Learn what influenced and inspired him.
The early 20th century mansion that houses the museum is itself a historical monument and interesting and beautiful from an architectural point of view.
8. The Flagstaff House Museum of Teaware(Admiralty)
The Flagstaff House Museum of Teaware is relatively small, but its antique ceramics collection is really special. It too is located in an old British colonial house that is a historical monument.
It is a main highlight of Hong Kong Park.
For refreshment, you can enjoy some special kinds of tea, dim sum, or a full meal in the tea cafe.
There is a also a tea gift shop with dozens of varieties of exquisite Chinese teas that you can learn about or buy. Some are very expensive. The staff are helpful.
9. Hong Kong Police Museum (Hong Kong Island)
The Hong Kong Police Museum is another relatively small museum to go to to learn about the history of Hong Kong from British colonial times to the present. Some exhibits deal with WWII. You can learn something about the past and current police forces of Hong Kong.
The museum is in a relatively out of the way place perched on a hill overlooking the southern coast of Hong Kong Island. You can enjoy the view.
10. Hong Kong Maritime Museum (Central District)
The Hong Kong Maritime Museum is sponsored by the government and the HK Tourism Board, so it's meant to be entertaining and enjoyable. Visitors learn about the history and current state of maritime shipping and warfare around the world and especially in Hong Kong via models, interactive equipment, videos, and many hundreds of artifacts.
It has moved from its old location at Murray House in Stanley, and is set to open in 2013 in new facilities at the old Pier 8 in the Central ferry piers.
This will put the museum at a Central location easy for tourists to visit as part of a redevelopment of the Central coastal area along Victoria Harbor. This space will be 8 times larger than the museum's old space.
Free Admission on Wednesday and Museum Passes
- Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum (Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum Guided Tour)
- Hong Kong Heritage Museum (Cantonese Opera Appreciation Class)
- Hong Kong Museum of Art
- Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence
- Hong Kong Museum of History ("The Hong Kong Story" Exhibition Guided Tour)
- Hong Kong Science Museum
- For the above 7 museums, there are available:
- Family passes: 200 HKD full year
- Individual passes: 100 HKD full year, 50 HKD half year, and 30 HKD one week.
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- Handicapped-Tourist-Friendly in Hong Kong
- China's Top Museums
- The Key Places in Hong Kong that Every Tourist Needs to Know