The former British colony of Hong Kong can be overwhelming on a first visit, but when you begin to navigate its urban sidewalks taking in steam filled canteens, colourful temples and vibrant markets – you’ll be literally glowing with admiration under the harbour’s utterly stunning neon skyline.
Hong Kong can be neatly divided into 4 (or 5 if you count the rest of the outlying islands as a separate entity) districts – Hong Kong Island is of course the main event, the original British ettlement, and home to Hong Kong’s army of skyscrapers – along with the best shopping districts, the Central (financial and government) area and the east and south coast. Next up is the Kowloon peninsula, which offers up a diverse mix of malls, residential areas and street markets. Lantau is the largest of Hong Kong’s outlying islands and is the best place to head to get back to nature in Hong Kong, while the New Territories offer up a mix of small farms, country parks and though heavily industrialised, is also home to a plethora of beautiful beaches and grassy mountainous peaks.
There is some wonderful architecture in Hong Kong – made up of a breathtaking panorama of skyscrapers and an eclectic mix of temples and churches, the food is exquisite – with great seafood and a dominating Cantonese presence, and there is a great selection of dewy peaks and rocky bays… and if you’d like to do something a bit different – then why not head to Hong Kong’s very own Disneyland?
Hong Kong – A quick view
Time difference: GMT +8 Hours
Flight time: Approx 11 hours
Visa Required: On arrival for British Passport holders
Currency: Hong Kong dollar
Tel Code: +852
Population: 7.188 million (approx)
Official Language: English, Chinese
Recommended Airlines:British Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, KLM, Air France.
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When to go
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Hong Kong is simply spectacular – it’s where China and Britain combined to create a unique place made up of skyscrapers and temples, trams and Feng Shui. It is a combination of rural, urban and coastal – dazzling and never boring. An absolute must do in Hong Kong is to appreciate the phenomenal skyline. It doesn’t matter how you view it – whether you board a ferry and view it from the water or sip a cocktail and gaze out of the window in the Intercontinental’s lobby lounge – you just have to take a few minutes, if not hours – staring in awe – taking in the glistening tops and neon lights as the night fades into day. When the sun is up, explore the city at street level at Causeway Bay where there are plenty of shopping opportunities, interesting historic sites and parks, afterwards, you might want to scramble around the cities cultural sites – taking in the impressive temples such as Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple.
It’s no secret that Hong Kong has a bit of a fascination with street markets – and as you’d expect there are no shortage. Take in the Temple Street Night Market or if you’d prefer to do you shopping in daylight hours – head to Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok markets where you’ll find everything from intriguing trinkets and antiques to foods and fashions. When you want to get out of the main city – head to Ocean Park which is home to a marine and mammal park, an animal theme park and an amusement park.
Points to ponder
Hong Kong Cuisine is heavily influenced by Cantonese cuisine, as well as other Chinese cuisines such as Hakka, Hokkien and Zhejiang, Japanese cuisines and Western.If you prefer to keep to more traditional dishes then by all means do – try a Dim Sum restaurant, eat like a Buddhist (vegetarian) with dishes like Buddha’s delight and Mantou, try some spicy XO Sauce, Black Sesame Tong Yuen (rice balls) and Chinese-style pastries such as Egg Tarts, pineapple buns and Egg waffles.
Hong Kong is not short of activities, it is home to some 1000+ hiking trails, the Lantau trail to the breathtaking 112-foot tall Tian Tan Buddha or why not head West to the awe-inspiring Victoria Peak.
Explore Hong Kong, Temple Street in Kowloon – a busy flea-market-esque night market, from the Bank of China building and the rest of the Hong Kong skyline through to the Central Ferry Pier and the 100-year-old Clock Tower on the southern shore of Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon – Hong Kong is full of wondrous landmarks. Do not miss The Wan Chai strip a colourful and vibrant touristy bars and raucous nightclubs for the most authentic Hong Kong nightlife experience.
One of our Far East Destination Specialist, Shian Lee, offers you inspirational tips, click here to read the article.
- Lantau Island
- Victoria Peak
- Ocean Park
- Kowloon Park