Hidden in Plain Sight: Six Unexpected Places to Take Photos in Hong Kong
Discover the most photogenic locations (hint: they're right under your nose!)
In a place where sacred temples and modern skyscrapers seamlessly coexist, Hong Kong is a photographer's paradise. The water is pristine, the architecture is innovative and the local culture is an eclectic mix of Chinese, British and Western influences. Hong Kong is often regarded as one of the most luxurious places, too, with swanky hotels, hip eateries and exclusive retail boutiques that gather a high-fashion crowd.
Most out-of-town visitors have heard of the main attractions, like Hong Kong Disneyland or The Peak, but the region of Hong Kong is also home to some of the most unexpected photo spots around the world. Between a car park and fishing village, to a bridge and residential neighborhood, the Explorest app can lead you right to these lesser-known locations. When you're in Hong Kong, you can use the app to find photo spots near you and discover a whole world of new destinations you may have never even knew existed.
Below, you can start your virtual photo journey with our list of the six unexpected places to take photos in Hong Kong—we promise these photo spots are worth the scroll!
Lok Wah South Estate Garage
Can it get more unexpected than a parking garage? At first glance, the Lok Wah South Estate Garage is just that: a place to park your car—but if you're willing to explore the area a bit more, you can unlock the potential of one of the best places to take photos in Hong Kong.
The striking blue color of the architecture, coupled with the horizontal beams on the top of the car park make this place a perfect spot to experiment with shadow play. Alternatively, you can get creative and rotate your photo at the car park, which will create an illusion that your model is hanging onto one of the red benches. In reality, the model is just laying down on the bench, but by rotating the image during post-processing, you can snap a mind-altering shot that requires little skill—fit for an amateur or a pro!
After playing around with the blue outdoor building, head to the top of the car park with a friend or model. Have them change into bright clothes, like red pants, and then position them so they're in front of the Ngau Tau Kok housing complex. From a slightly lowered perspective, the residential building will tower over your model and provide a jaw-dropping background.
credit: @vthota — discover Circular Structure at Lok Wah South Estate Garage Rooftop on the Explorest app
credit: @nicholasku_ — discover Lok Wah South Estate Car Park Roof view of the Lok Wah South Estate Wun Wah House on the Explorest app
Victoria Harbour is far from being a hidden gem, but the featured perspectives of land and sea joining together can only be found on the Explorest app. The sparkling waterfront can be seen from near and far on Hong Kong Island, resulting in unlimited potential as to where you can snap a pic. Do you want to get a bird's eye view and capture the famous Hong Kong Observation Wheel in front of the water? Avoid the crowds of The Peak, but still get a killer view of the harbour and Central skyline? Photograph almost all of Hong Kong Island in one single shot? You can achieve all of these shots (and thousands more) when you're using the app. And don't worry—the Location Insights that Explorest provides always have exact directions, weather conditions and expert tips and tricks to teach you how to improve your photo skills.
Note: Before flying a drone, check and follow local drone regulations and permit requirements.
credit: @derryainsworth — discover Hong Kong Observation Wheel & Victoria Harbour from Man Kwong Street on the Explorest app
credit: @irwinsychan — discover Lugard Road Lookout view of Central Skyline & Victoria Harbour on the Explorest app
credit: @derryainsworth — discover Hong Kong Island & Victoria Harbour from Jardine's Lookout on the Explorest app
Tian Tan Buddha (Big Buddha)
Lantau Island is the largest of Hong Kong's islands and it's situated about six miles west of Hong Kong Island. It's known for its mountainous terrain and manmade attractions, like Hong Kong Disneyland, The Ngong Ping 360 cable car system, and Tian Tan Buddha (aka Big Buddha). As it's shown below by one of our talented contributors, @seven7panda, the massive bronze structure is breathtaking against the lush landscape and South China Sea.
Since its completion in 1993, Tian Tan Buddha has stood as a representation of the harmonious relationship between man and nature, people and faith. It's next to the remote Po Lin Monastery and although it isn't as popular as some of Hong Kong's other attractions, it beckons visitors from around the world to climb its steps and take in the peaceful presence of the 34-meter-high statues (makes sense why it's called Big Buddha, right?). You're able to photograph a more unexpected perspective of the scene and evoke a sense of scale with the minuscule tourists swarming the buddha by shooting your images with a drone, instead of a camera at ground level.
credit: @seven7panda— discover Tian Tan Buddha (Big Buddha) & South China Sea from Ngong Ping Piazza on the Explorest app
Tai O is a small fishing village that's also located on Lantau Island and it's another location, like Tian Tan Buddha, that's perfect for practicing drone photography. Translated to English as "large inlet", Tai O is frequented by visitors throughout the year, but it's not as popular among photographers as other attractions in the Hong Kong area.
With an aerial perspective, you're able to get a clear image of the turquoise waterways, cluster of wooden stilt houses and beautiful architecture and landscape. One of the most underrated places to get one of the best photos in Hong Kong is the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge. The look down of the bridge and South China Sea is almost surreal as if the highway is floating on water until it disappears into the horizon.
After you finishing droning, don't forget to head over to the local markets and try some authentic cuisine. The salted fish is a must and we also recommend trying Tai O's famous egg waffles! Aside from the photo opportunities this village offers, Tai O has a vibrant locale, showing another side of Hong Kong that many don't get to experience.
credit: @derryainsworth — discover Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge & South China Sea Look Down on the Explorest app
What makes Stonecutters Bridge so unique is the plethora of unexpected choices it offers to photographers. As you can see in the featured images below, you can take a drone photo of the surrounding Tsing Sha Highway and bridge far off in the distance, capture an eye-catching shot of the bridge from underneath its structure or hike to a lookout spot where you can shoot a night shot of the bridge and ICC Building lights glistening against the darkening sky. The options are endless at this underrated photo spot and you can really get creative with how you shoot the 5,236-foot long, 241-foot tall bridge!
Note: The night shot of Stonecutters Bridge and the ICC Building is actually taken from Tsing Yi Island Peak, which requires quite a difficult climb to get to—so for all of our adventure-lovers out there, you can kill two birds with one stone and get your adrenaline pumping on the hike and then reward yourself with the epic view, captured by contributor @timothyma___.
credit: @timothyma___ — discover Tsing Yi Island Peak view of Stonecutters Bridge & ICC Building on the Explorest app
To Kwa Wan
Last, but not least, on our list of unexpected places to take photos in Hong Kong is To Kwa Wan. The residential and commercial neighborhood of To Kwa Wan is surprisingly under the radar, making it a prime spot if you're looking to photograph spots that are off the beaten path. When you're there, you'll feel an older, yet urban, feel and it's vastly different than what you'd find in the Central Business District of Hong Kong.
Start your day at the I-Feng Mansion to get a pastel-hued view of the residential building in To Kwa Wan. The pink, purple and yellow buildings are a hidden gem and the character of the architecture will shine through in your photos. You'll also be able to get a glimpse into the daily life of locals, with their clothes hanging over the balconies to dry and their windows left open for a breeze to pass through each apartment.
After seeing the I-Feng Mansion, make your way to the intersection of Wing Kwong St and Kai Ming St. Without the inclusion of the taxi, this street corner is still photogenic, but if you wait for a cab to pass by, it'll elevate your image. The vintage-style car adds a distinct personality to the frame and the pinkish color of the building behind the taxi also complements the red shade of the car. Bet you didn't expect a street crossing to look so charming in a photo!
credit: @flosslai — discover I-Feng Mansion (Block A) view of Pink, Purple & Yellow Mei King Mansion on the Explorest app
If you're looking to discover new photo spots, download the Explorest app today. We provide insider recommendations to help you capture your travels, near and far.