Our guide to the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront promenade starts and ends in Central and is bookended by ferry crossings. Tsim Sha Tsui offers the ideal viewing point to soak up those stellar views of Hong Kong’s iconic skyline completely free of charge, with plenty of other attractions along the way. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the waterfront – from the Star Ferry pier in the west, all the way to sundowners with a view in the east.
Arrive at Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in style on the iconic Star Ferry from Central. Starting at the Promenade’s westerly point, alight the Star Ferry at its Tsim Sha Tsui terminus, built on reclaimed land at the Kowloon Peninsula’s southernmost tip.
The original pier opened in 1906 before being promptly destroyed by a typhoon in September of the same year. The current pier was opened in 1957, and features a number of small stores including the fabulous 80M Model Shop, whose extensive collection of Hong Kong transport models and toys is always a huge hit with younger visitors.
Another stop at this end of the promenade is Ocean Terminal, a former wharf pier rebuilt in the 1960s as a cruise ship terminal, and home to Hong Kong’s first ever shopping mall.
These days, Ocean Terminal forms part of the two million square-foot Harbour City development, the city’s largest mall, with upscale shops, restaurants and bars galore to explore.
With your back to Ocean Terminal, head towards the harbour and the clock tower. Built in 1915, it is the only remnant of the former Kowloon Station, which was once the terminus station of the Kowloon-Canton Railway.
The 1915 construction originally repurposed a single clock from the demolished Pedder Street Clock Tower, with a further three clock faces added in 1921. With the exception of the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong in World War II, they have continued to run ever since – eagle-eyed visitors may be able to sport some of the damage inflicted on the tower’s brickwork during that period.
The station was relocated to Hung Hom in the 1970s, making way for the Space Museum, Museum of Art and Cultural Centre to be built on its former site, however the tower was preserved and declared a monument in 1990.
Established in 1962, the HKMoA was the city’s first ever public art museum. After a full refurbishment, the museum reopened to visitors in 2019 and is now home to over 17,000 curated artworks and installations across seven floors. Admission to the museum is free of charge, and you’ll find plenty here to keep art lovers of all ages busy.
Enjoy regular guided tours, an excellent bookshop and two restaurants – Hue, which offers fine dining with amazing views, and Ink, a casual alfresco café. If you prefer to grab-and-go, then check out the food trucks that dish up delicious Hong Kong snacks, such as pineapple buns and dumplings – trucks are typically located in Salisbury Gardens, close to the museum.
Hong Kong’s most original (and some might say, strangest!) attraction is its free musical light and laser show, performed nightly at 8pm. Featuring around fifty of Hong Kong’s most iconic buildings, including the Bank of China Tower, International Finance Centre and HSBC Main Building, the ten-minute performance beams lights across the city, accompanied by music and narration that is available to access via a free app.
The view from Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront offers a full view of the spectacle, with the upper deck of the promenade being the optimum viewing spot. Be sure to arrive before 7.30pm to guarantee a good spot.
Hong Kong’s answer to Hollywood’s Walk Of Fame, the Avenue of Stars, commemorates various luminaries from the city’s entertainment industry, including Chow Yun-fat, Jet Li, John Woo, Gong Li and Jackie Chan.
Arguably the most significant star featured is Bruce Lee – voted the greatest martial artist of all time – who not only features on a star, but who was also granted his own, 2.5-metre tall statue which sits along the promenade, which, alongside the statue of Cantopop diva Anita Mui, provides many a visitor with the opportunity for a celebrity selfie.
Described as “The Silicon Valley of Culture” (we’re not sure what this means either!), this vast mall-cum-gallery space threw open its doors in summer 2019, and now forms a key part of the new Victoria Dockside redevelopment. Featuring over 250 shops and 70 dining outlets, along with multiple art installations, a MoMA design store, and the “K11 Kulture Academy”, which runs a series of art, design, culinary and wellness programmes.
It’s fair to say that K11 MUSEA is a destination in its own right. Highlights include the Nature Discovery Park, which promotes urban biodiversity and sustainability, and the Donut Playground which features a three-storey slide. For a fancy foodie experience, head to Fortnum and Mason’s first non-UK location to enjoy afternoon tea with your pinkies out.
With creative workshops, soft play and indoor rides, if you haven’t visited the land Discovery Centre yet, it is a must-do with kids. The Centre is easily accessed from the waterfront on level B1, and is easily 2-3 hours of interactive and educational entertainment for everyone.
Meanwhile, next door, the Rosewood Hong Kong is an uber-upscale addition to Hong Kong’s already swanky hotel scene. Opened in 2019, it also forms part of the landmark Victoria Dockside redevelopment and offers a huge variety of excellent dining options, including some surprisingly kid-friendly choices at Bayfare Social, Rosewood’s gastro-chic answer to a food court. Drop in for tea and beautiful cakes at Butterfly Patisserie, or indulge in some serious relaxation at Asaya, Rosewood’s spectacular spa.
Continue along the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade for another 20 or so minutes, passing the Hong Kong Coliseum music venue on your left, you’ll eventually arrive in Hung Hom.
Built predominantly on reclaimed land, this area is now home to the gleaming Kerry Hotel, which offers weary walkers the ideal spot to rest their legs and enjoy sundown cocktails on Red Sugar’s lovely alfresco terrace. Close by, in neighbouring Whampoa there is a huge ship, disconcertingly nestled amongst residential tower blocks.
Hung Hom pier recently restarted direct ferry services to Central, after a lull of nearly a decade, although unfortunately services terminate relatively early each evening. Running until 7pm on weekdays and 6.20pm on weekends, we’d recommend swerving the air-conditioned cabin, in favour of an open-air top deck seat-with-a-view on your leisurely cruise back to Central’s Pier 8.