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Hong Kong

Overview

Hong Kong has grown into one of the world’s most popular stop-over destinations due to its shimmering allure of designer label shopping, abundance of fine dining and raucous nightlife to name just a few. Those who visit are missing out if they limit their time here to these few experiences.There is a great history to this former British colony, and one must travel a little further out to find soft adventure experiences that rival any destination in Asia. To accompany the visual extravaganza in the city, there are a number of entertainment parks and don’t forget Macau, the former Portuguese colony is just a 50 minute jet-foil boat ride away.Often described as a place where ‘East meets West’, Hong Kong celebrates its cultural mix that is reflected through the cuisine, architecture and daily practices of its people. For any traveler, this vertical city presents an opportunity to quickly become involved with these traditions and experience them first hand. Whether it is joining a tai chi class at dawn, eating local food on the street, watching an exhilarating game of rugby or following a path through the mountains, Hong Kong never fails to excite.

Attractions:

Hong Kong's shopping and restaurant scenes are world renowned, but there's more to do in this eclectic city than simply get your fill. If you only tick off one top attraction in Hong Kong, it should be "the Peak". Catch the Peak Tram (running since 1888) up to the highest point on Hong Kong Island to admire the stunning view across the harbour, all the way out to Kowloon and the New Territories. For colour, bustle and bargain, go to the Ladies' Market on Tung Choi Street to peruse the many market stalls. Hong Kong Disneyland is a family adventure waiting to happen on Lantau Island. While here, you can enjoy an experience at the other end of the spectrum, by visiting the Po Lin Monastery and 'big Buddha.

Things to Do:

1. See the Avenue of Stars Skyline

Avenue of StarsAvenue of Stars

Simply walk out on the Avenue of Stars on the shore. The skyline around the harbor ranks as the tallest in the world, and at 8 pm most evenings, it lights up for the Symphony of Lights, in the above photo.By day or by night, Hong Kong's skyline against Victoria Peak and the blue backdrop of Victoria Harbor is the favorite tourist attraction.

2. Ride the Star Ferry

The Star Ferry offers some of the best views of Victoria Harbor.

This little ship does a lot of work and is internationally known and ranks high in international tourist esteem. But it is just a humble little ferry ship that gets it acclaim due to its neighbors. By day or night, you'll see memorable and beautiful scenery like this. A ride across Victoria Harbor costs 25 cents US. At 8 pm, see the light show from the ship.

3. Ascend for the Victoria Peak View

Victoria peak Hong Kong's skyline viewed from the Victoria Peak

The best sightseeing point on Hong Kong Island and probably all of Hong Kong is Victoria Peak that looks down on Central. Walking paths, a mall, and parks on the peak are places you can explore. The Peak Tram is a tourist favorite, but you could walk up Old Peak Road in an hour.

4. Shop and Sightsee on Nathan Road

The "Golden Mile" of Nathan Road starts from the Third World of Chungking Mansions, passes through the World of Islam by the Masjid, goes by First World malls and ritzy shops, and takes you to popular Cantonese-style street markets. It is a unique experience in a few hours. Temple Street closeby is for a sample of Hong Kong's food.

Hong Kong Nightlife

Hong Kong Shopping

Top Street Markets in Hong Kong

5. Explore Lantau Island

Big Buddha in Lantau IslandThe Big Buddha in Lantau Island

Get away to this large island for relaxation, sightseeing and outdoor adventures. It is still a sparsely populated island of natural parkland, beaches, mountains, and hiking and biking trails. Mui Wo and Pui O are known for scenery and seafood restaurants.

6. Have Fun at Ocean Park

Hong Kong's biggest and most popular theme park is Ocean Park. Along with acrobatic sea mammals, there are exhibits of other sea creatures. The Amazing Asian Animals section has pandas. You can ride the sky tram to see the scenery. There is a roller coaster and many other big rides.

7. Ride the Tram for Sightseeing

A lot of people will be surprised that this old fashioned contraption still operates in Hong Kong. It stops at all the right places and goes slowly enough so that tourists can see the sights along the north coast. An exciting photography opportunity, you can get up-close photos from the top of the boxcars.

Places To Stay:

Basically Hong Kong can be divided into three regions: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula & New Territories among which the Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula are the most popular location for tourists.

From historic quarters and commanding waterfront positions to rooms tucked away in the Outlying Islands, Hong Kong accommodation spans more than 200+ hotels, guesthouses and hostels. Hong Kong does luxury particularly well and 'budget' here does not translate in the same way as in some other Asian countries.

Major international chains represented here include The Peninsula, Four Seasons, W, InterContinental, Ritz Carlton and Shangri-La. If you're looking for a hostel, it's a good idea to check if it's part of the Hong Kong Youth Hostel Association; they run seven across the region.

Best Time to Visit:

The best time to visit Hong Kong is between October and December. This period boasts comfortable temperatures and reasonable room rates. After New Years, tourism picks up significantly, despite the falling temps, and leads to higher hotel prices and more crowds. Another sweet spot for affordable travel is the short spring. And while summer remains a popular tourist time, the weather can be stiflingly hot and humid. To protect your wallet, avoid Chinese national holidays and large conventions, when hotel prices soar.