Your insider’s guide to Hong Kong

Five of the best museums in Hong Kong

Words: Kate Farr

Get a better handle on Hong Kong and China at our pick of the city’s museums

While Hong Kong is famed for its delicious dining, world-class bars and home-grown fashion, the city also hosts some great museums. From political icons to military might; colonial history to the perfect cup of tea – here are five museums that will help you to understand what makes Hong Kong tick.

Hong Kong Museum of History
Hong Kong Museum Of History
Located in Tsim Sha Tsui’s museum district, the Hong Kong Museum of History covers the gamut of the city’s existence, from the prehistoric era more than 400 million years ago, up to the present day.

A feature of the Museum of History’s attraction is that no two visits are the same. Each season brings a rotating programme of special exhibitions that take place alongside the museum’s eight permanent galleries, which currently showcase over 4,000 individual exhibits. Past exhibitions have included a focus on Hong Kong’s unique toys, the political impact of Silk Road trading and the cultural significance of the traditional cheongsam, making this a museum that offers something for everyone.

100 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui, +852 2724 9042
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Hong Kong Heritage Museum

Hong Kong Heritage Museum
Offering a unique combination of art, history and culture, people often overlook the Hong Kong Heritage Museum due to its location outside of the tourist trail. This makes it one of the less busy locations in which to learn more about Hong Kong’s proud cultural legacy, which includes intricate Chinese calligraphy, martial arts (including the legendary Bruce Lee), vibrant Cantonese opera and delicate porcelain and pottery works. The museum also plays host to a variety of high-profile international touring exhibitions ranging from a Picasso blockbuster to a tribute to Pixar animation.

The museum offers a variety of expert-led talks and programmes throughout the year, along with daily themed guided tours that are available free of charge – check in advance for the current programme of English and Cantonese tours.

1 Man Lam Road, Sha Tin, +852 2180 8188
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Dr Sun Yat Sen Museum

Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum
One for Chinese history buffs and the uninitiated alike, the Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum charts the life and career of the man who was to overthrow the Qing Dynasty and originate the Republic of China: a crucial moment in China’s history that helped to assure its global status today. Dr Sun, known as “the father of modern China”, studied, lived and worked in Hong Kong for many years, and the city’s ties to this important figure are charted within a beautifully-preserved colonial-era building in the Mid-Levels district.

With four floors of permanent and temporary galley space, an audio guide service and a number of interactive video screen displays, there is plenty to learn here in a serene environment that feels miles away from Central’s bustling streets.

7 Castle Road, Mid-Levels, Central, +852 2367 6373
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Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence

Hong Kong Museum of Coastal Defence
Anyone interested in Hong Kong’s wartime history should schedule time for a visit to the Museum of Coastal Defence, whose location, situated at the former Lei Yue Mun Fort redoubt built in 1887 by the British armed forces, played an important role during the Battle of Hong Kong in 1941.

There’s more to this museum than its WWII connections, however. Its permanent exhibitions chart the protection of Hong Kong’s coast, from the 14th century Ming Dynasty period, through to the modern deployment of China’s People’s Liberation Army within the city. In addition to the museum’s permanent and temporary exhibitions, the site also includes a historical trail that winds its way around the museum and along the surrounding rugged headland, taking in ten historically significant military relics along the way. Bring a camera – the views are excellent. 

175 Tung Hei Road, Shau Kei Wan, +852 2569 1637
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Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware

Flagstaff House Museum Of Tea Ware
Nestled within a colonial-era lodge in the leafy surrounds of Hong Kong Park, this museum pays tribute to China’s favourite tipple – tea. Examining not only the relevance of tea throughout the ages, but also the cultural customs built up around this humble beverage, the museum holds an impressive display of intricately painted antique ceramic ware, including rare pieces dating back over a thousand years to the Song Dynasty. The museum also houses a permanent display of stone seals from both Hong Kong and Mainland China, featuring intricate and painstakingly carved calligraphy.

No visit to Flagstaff House would be complete without a refreshment break at the on-site Lok Cha Tea Shop. Styled on a traditional Cantonese tea house, Lok Cha’s delicious vegetarian dim sum, refined décor and extensive tea menu that runs to over one hundred varieties, brings a refined air to your elevenses.

10 Cotton Tree Drive (inside Hong Kong Park), Central, +852 2869 0690
www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/Museum/Arts/en_US/web/ma/tea-ware.html

 

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