A Guide to Ocean Park Hong Kong
You’ve never really been to Hong Kong unless you’ve visited their world-famous Ocean Park! Opened in 1977 and catering to millions of visitors a year, the Ocean Park is among the most visited amusement parks in the world. It is also among the largest in Asia, so a day is literally not enough to go through all its attractions. It’s a combination of the traditional zoo-style nature-related exhibits and carnival-style park with thrill rides and family activities. And of course, its top attraction is its amazing collection of animals! If you’ve ever wanted to see a cross-section of animals around the world, from the deep sea creatures to the animals of the Australian savanna, then this should be your first stop. It has also become easier to access due to the new South Island MTR line.
This step-by-step guide is perfect for all those who would want to make the most out of a day’s visit in the park. The whole area can be pretty overwhelming, and it can be difficult to decide where you want to go first. But I’ve got your back, as I curated the best attractions for you to see!
See their most famous animals!
Ocean park is the animal lover’s paradise. It is split by a large mountain (yes, a mountain) into two areas — the Summit (Headland) and the Waterfront (Lowland). Ascending to the Summit lets you ride Hong Kong’s second longest outdoor escalator and moving between the two areas gives you a choice between the park’s own cable car and railway system.
While the area is an “ocean park”, take it from me and save the Aqua City attraction for later. Instead, head over to Waterfront’s Amazing Asian Animals area! There, the Giant Panda Adventure awaits with Ying Ying and Le Le, the park’s resident huggable giants. There are also the red pandas which are smaller but no less cute! You can even get a chance to feed these red pandas or listen to the trainers as they talk about the animals in this area.
The neighboring Panda Village, which features other panda-themed items, also offers a view of some of the rarest and most beautiful birds in Asia. There are also little otters that will delight you with demonstrations of their hunting abilities! And if you haven’t had enough of the pandas, there’s also Club Panda for food and Panda Kingdom Shop for souvenirs
Ocean Park is made up of two main parks – The Waterfront, which is where you’ll find yourself upon entering the park, and The Summit, which is on top of the mountain. Once you get into the park, save Aqua City for later and head on over to the Amazing Asian Animals. Marvel at the delightful red pandas at the Giant Panda Adventure. At the neighboring Panda Village, you’ll find cute otters and some of Asia’s most beautiful birds. And if you need more panda in your life, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Sichuan Treasures houses the park’s beloved giant pandas, An An and Jia Jia, as well as the golden monkeys, Le Le and Hu Hu.
#2: Ocean Express train or Cable Car?
While the Waterfront has all the cuddly animals, there’s a whole lot of reasons to ascend to the Summit. If you’re bringing the little ones along, there’s Whiskers Harbour that offers some good kiddie rides. But if you’d like to go for an adrenaline rush, there’s a lot of thrill waiting at the Summit, too! We’ve already said that there are two forms of transport within Ocean Park, so which should you choose?
Well, it really depends on whether you have time or not. Most of the park-goers queue up for the Cable Car for its breathtaking scenery. If you have time to spare, and if you want to have a bird’s eye view of the wonderful location, then this is your ride. It can take you to the Summit in about 10 minutes, which is enough time to take in the beautiful panorama!
But if you are in a hurry (like nearly all first-timers) you could take the Ocean Express train, with all its grand visuals and animations! Ascending to the Summit in merely 4 minutes, the Hogwarts Express-like train ferries around 5,000 people an hour. You can take it going up, and reserve the views of the cable car for when you’re going down.
#3: Satisfy your appetite for food and adventure
There’s more than walking and ogling to do at Ocean Park. Head straight to Thrill Mountain at the Summit and check out Hong Kong’s most extreme roller coaster yet — the Hair Raiser! It has the record for being the fastest roller coaster in the country, and is also the only floorless one so you’re suspended above the blue sea. We loved the exhilaration so much that we rode it twice! I’m a really big fan of coasters, and this one, while not being too fast, has a lot of hoops so it’s really thrilling.
This is only one of the four roller coasters the Park has to offer, so you may check the others out. One of the other thrill rides is aptly-named The Flash — mostly because everything blurs in a flash and we don’t really know what hit us! It throws the riders up 22 meters into the air while spinning, showing you blurred views of the bay from several different directions. Never ride this on a full stomach! This was actually the first thing that we did upon arriving at this side of the park and the motion sickness was the only thing that spoiled the experience
If that’s not to your liking, there’s always the Rev Booster, which spins, pauses, and spins again in different directions! It’s set to nice music, though, and has a circus-y feel, so it’s worth a shot. The one on the right ends up squishing the one on the left, though, so it might not be something you’d ride if you don’t know the one you’re sitting with!
But for now I recommend walking over to the nearby Polar Adventure section so you can cool down your nerves. Here, there’s the Arctic Fox Den that showcases this predator of the snowy tundras. It’s a beautiful thing, watching it go about its business and learning how it thrives in one of the most extreme habitats on earth! Even the color of their fur changes to adapt to their surroundings.
Then there’s also the North Pole Encounter, which lets you get up close with the park’s two walruses! You get a real 360-degree view, as part of the exhibit allows you to see what the walruses and seals look like below the ice. If the slow trudge of the walruses leaves you wanting another dose of thrill, then go for the Arctic Blast ride for a quick fix. This one is perfect for in the shaky middle of being a novice adventure seeker and a die-hard adrenaline junkie. It’s that type of coaster you’re looking for if you just want a chill time (quite literally, too) and we’d really do it again.
For a meal, you can head over to the Tuxedo Restaurant with their tasty handmade (and penguin-shaped!) pizzas and nice views of the penguin exhibit. I got steak, and it was nice!
After that, it’s time for a change in locale! Nearby is the Rainforest section. It’s perfect for melting down that lunch food. Head over to the Expedition Trail for a walk-through that shows you some of the rarest animals in the world, from the Hercules Beetle (world’s strongest beetle) to the Pygmy Marmoset (world’s smallest monkey). There are also toucans, frogs, snakes, and fish — a veritable collection of the largest and smallest species, along with the most colorful. And because it’s the rainforest, it’s understandably hot — so cool down (and get really wet!) at Raging River, a log boat water ride that starts slow and unassuming, before dropping you into a vertical at 58 kph!
If you’d like to get a different and more literal high, there’s the Mine Train that’s located at the edge of the mountain down in Adventure Land. Let speed delight you as the cart moves precariously overlooking the harbor. Thing is, you’re not really looking into the harbor —- you’re sporing a Samsung Gear VR headset and dodging attacks from robot minions! Or maybe you’re plunging into the deep ocean or flying into the sky. This is a whole new level of thrill, as the natural sensations of the roller coaster meet the game experience of virtual reality.
Yes, there’s a game you play by pressing the headset’s buttons, and there are high scores shown at the end. At first we didn’t know what it was about. It turns out you have to take pictures in the first part, which is done by the button press. You have 10 chances to do it. Thing is, we didn’t know when they announced this part, but it was good enough motivation for us to try the ride again! We read all the notes but the instructions were not there, so we were glad we just asked the staff for how to play. It was really cool! The whole visual and motion experience is not for the faint of heart, but definitely a must-see!
#4: Discover the beauties under the sea
Ahh, here comes the “ocean” part! The Marine World is nearby, and you can see some of the best marine life exhibits anywhere. I particularly loved the Ocean Theater’s Dolphin Show. I mean, who can’t love dolphins? For some truly dazzling scenes, stroll through the Sea Jelly Spectacular exhibit and check out the thousand or so fluorescent sea jellies, dancing amidst neon lights and surreal melodies. There are also fun interactive games!
It’s also here that the most extreme thrill ride in the park is located — The Abyss! Think drop tower on a massive dose of steroids. It takes you 20 storeys up before plunging you into oblivion! This one I really loved, even though I usually hate the dropping sensation. The suspense while waiting is really something — just when you think the drop is about to happen, it won’t! You’d keep hearing a sound and expect the ground to come rushing at you, but you’re still there and it will drop when you least expect it. It was quite fun, especially the first drop. The next two are just in the “fine” category — maybe we’re getting used to it. Definitely go for this, though!
Here Jo also tried The Eagle, a spinner ride which I sat out because I was not into the idea of making myself dizzy. It’s more of a humongous centrifuge, but Jo said she definitely enjoyed it! Me, I just loved how colorful it looked.
And now, we’re off to the grandest attraction yet! It’s my personal favorite — the Grand Aquarium! It has the world’s largest viewing dome and a mindblowing 5,000 fish! The sapphire-blue water is truly mesmerizing, as you watch the giant stingrays glide effortlessly, and as your eyes take in the explosion of colors that is the myriad of fishes.
By mid-afternoon, take the cable car back down to The Waterfront for even more marine entertainment. After getting off the cable car, stroll through Old Hong Kong and get a taste of some local delicacies while breathing in the culture and history of Hong Kong in the 1950s.
Once the tummy is satisfied, set your sights on their best – and my favorite – attraction yet. The Grand Aquarium has the world’s largest viewing dome and has an astonishing 5,000 fish. Gaze in awe at the mesmerizing sight of crystal blue water, huge stingrays and colorful fishes.
#5 Some Things to Remember and How to Get there
- Some of the Park’s rides may be closed on different days for maintenance, so don’t be too down if you miss any on this list. There are always more options!
- Don’t skip the talks in the animal encounters. You’ll be surprised at how much you can learn about environmental responsibility, about the damage we’re doing to the oceans and its animals. Listen up for how we can do our share to take care of Mother Nature!
- Make sure to check the timeline of each show. There’s a smartphone app that tells you the schedule of events.
- The park winds down at 6, and all queues close then. We were so sad, because we wanted more! The line for the cable car is still long at this time — good thing we had a fast pass so that helped because we barely stood in queue. And with that I recommend…
- Get a fast pass if you want to make the most of your day! It makes for a much better experience!
- There’s a Chill Out Lounge where you can wind down at 6, and there’s even a live band. In this area there is also a yakitori restaurant that was REALLY good! There were Italian stuff and fried stuff (fried chicken, of course!) and some much-wanted drinks (beer is only 20 HKD!). The live band was fun, and we were even singing with them as we hung out! Some others were playing jenga. It was a really chill place, as the name suggests.
- For a real exclamation point to your day, stay up until 8PM. Then, there’s a water and fire show that beats the one at Victoria Harbor! It was definitely not to be missed. The effects were awesome, and it’s even better when you watch it with beer in hand! It really reminded me of Vegas, or maybe Macau. It was that grand. The show is also open to the public so you can get back here anytime. I did, in fact, and took my friends to Ocean Park to watch the show at a different date. It’s an attraction that’s really easy to get to.
8. Ocean Park is free on your birthday if you . have a Hong Kong ID
Are you raring to go to Ocean Park Hong Kong yet? Take the train from Admiralty to South Island line, which is faster. Buy your tickets at KKday, and start a full day of fun! After the bag security check, everything is in front of you.
Of all the amusement parks I’ve visited, Ocean Park Hong Kong is definitely one of the ones most worthy of a visit. It’s a place for everyone, a combination of Seaworld and Disneyland. Young, old, animal lover, thrill seeker — you’d find something to over here! Get your tickets now!