A product of the British-Chinese Opium Wars, Hong Kong is a culturally-charged metropolis with a fantastic skyline cast against a backdrop of green hills. This sleepless city is a tourist magnet, and visitors are pleased to find as many historic attractions as there are modern amenities.
Affluence is around every corner on the shiny northern coastline of Hong Kong Island, yet the territory isn’t all skyscrapers and neon lights. The densely populated Kowloon offers a more down-to-earth experience while the New Territories and outlying islands offer great adventures if you can drag yourself away from the excellent shopping, world-class dining and luxury hotels.
The best views are on offer at Victoria Peak, and those who are too puffed to get up here after swiping their plastic can ride the Peak Tram. Lantau Island is host to an enormous Buddha statue and monastery which make for a fantastic daytrip but most visitors prefer to make a beeline for Hong Kong Disneyland or one of the surprisingly beautiful beaches like Repulse Bay.
Why You Should Go
World-class skyscrapers, Chek Lap Kok International Airport, panoramas from Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Disneyland, houses built on stilts, bi-level trams, efficient public transport, ancient temples and state-of-the-art museums.
The occasional typhoon, endless choices, cramped hotel rooms, foul-smelling alleyways, muggy weather, greedy taxi drivers, traffic, rats and expensive medical bills.
Getting There & Away
Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok International Airport is one of Asia’s most impressive, and flights connect here from all over the world. Ferries regularly arrive from neighboring islands, and it is also possible to arrive by train from major cities on the mainland. Public transportation here is top-notch, with commuter trains and city buses traveling anywhere you want to go. The metro (MRT) runs from the New Territories to Kowloon and offers the quickest connections. Taxis are seldom needed.
Things to Do
- Hong Kong Island
Is the metropolitan district characterized by skyscrapers, tireless business sectors and victoria peak.
- New Territories
Is where the commuters live, and it’s also outfitted with some forested hiking trails that make for a nice escape from life in the city.
- Repulse Bay
Don’t let the name deter you; the local elite live along this idyllic, sandy beach.
Myriad shopping options packed into winding alleyways and quintessential chinese markets.
- Lantau Island
Po lin monastery, home of a giant buddha statue, is found here in close proximity to the airport.
- Betting on the races
Is possible at the happy valley horse races.
Is well catered for outside of the city, especially in the northern territories. there are also a few trails on hong kong island itself.
- Amusement parks
Hong kong disneyland makes for an excellent family excursion.
- Island hopping
Presents the perfect opportunity to check out a few of the far-flung temples, including po line monastery, che kung temple and man mo temple.
Doesn’t get any better than this. the selection is endless and prices aren’t steep.
Is possible in nightclubs across the city.
Visiting Hong Kong during one of its major festivals can add a splash of color to your holiday.
Chinese new year is a huge celebration among local chinese, and tourists may have a hard time booking hotel rooms and making restaurant reservations.
Countless lanterns light the trail that climbs victoria peak during the spring lantern festival.
Grave sweeping day (ching ming festival) sees families heading to family plots and cemeteries to tidy up the grounds and make offerings to the deceased.
There’s nothing in the world quite like cheung chau bun festival, which sees participants scrambling up towers to snatch bread rolls.