Hong Kong, or Fragrant Harbour, is where East meets West. The territory, now a Special Administrative Region of The People’s Republic of China reflects its Chinese roots, together with the culture brought to it during its time as a British Colony.
Apart from its many varied attractions, the relatively new Victoria Harbour Light Show is unique and the largest Symphony of Light and Sound in the World. It involves 44 illuminated buildings on both sides of the harbour. The show is a dazzling extravaganza of laser beams, searchlights and coloured lights synchronised with music and an English narration.
Its main themes are, Awakening, Energy, Heritage, Partnership and Celebration. On Festival Days, an added attraction is a fireworks display launched from the centre of Victoria Harbour. The best views are from a harbour cruise, the Star Ferry or the waterfront promenades alongside the harbour.
For its size, Hong Kong has a multitude of other attractions. In this article we suggest a selection that should not be missed on your visit to discover Hong Kong.
On Hong Kong Island, the views from The Peak are quite amazing. The ride up on The Peak Tram is an experience in itself. The tram, pulled by steel cables climbs 1,200 ft (373m) on a very steep track. Once there the lookout points at Lugard Road, Lions View, Peak Galleria and the Peak Tower provide stunning views.
The Chinese are inveterate gamblers and The Happy Valley Racecourse is quite a spectacle. The first races were held on a strip of reclaimed land in 1846 with night time meetings being introduced in 1973. This is the place for excitement and where to rub shoulders with the local community.
In Aberdeen Harbour is the famous Jumbo Kingdom. A floating restaurant modelled on a Chinese Palace, which accommodates 2,300 diners. Renovation in 2003 transformed it into a shopping, dining and cultural attraction. The restaurant has an open deck cafe, a wine garden and a tea garden.
The numerous islands around Hong Kong also provide some great attractions. A must, is a visit to Lantau Island to see the worlds tallest, outdoor Buddha in The Po Lin Monastery, on top of the Ngong Ping Plateau. The statue is 34m high, weighs 250 tonnes and took 10 years to build.
Lamma Island is the weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of downtown Hong Kong. It has golden beaches, delicious seafood and great walks. There are no cars and bicycles are the main form of transport. The village of Sok Kwu Wan has delightful terraced seafood restaurants while Yung Shue Wan has handicraft shops and the 100-year old Tin Wau Temple.
On Kowloon (Mainland) is the famousLei Yue Mun Seafood Bazaar. It came into prominence in 1960 when diners would select fish from the market and take it to the restaurant for cooking. A Seafood Festival was launched in 1992 and is now an annual if noisy event in the narrow streets.
If you need a break from the history and culture of Hong Kong or if you have taken the children with you, Hong Kong also has its own Disneyland.
Hong Kong has long been the place for shopping. However if you are tired of its glitzy, glass and chrome malls and huge department stores, visit the fabulous Street Markets. Visit these quaint places and haggle to your hearts content.
They include. The Ladies Market in Tung Choi Streetwhich has ladies handbags, clothing and accessories, children’s toys and clothing.
Temple Street Night Market is a memorable experience. This is a brightly lit chaotic affair selling just about everything. The food stalls offer hotpot and seafood. You can have your fortune told and see impromptu performances by Chinese opera enthusiasts.
Stanley Street Market fills the narrow lanes in the old fishing village. This is the place for Chinese artwork, curios, silk and clothing. You will need several hours and can then regain energy dining in the collection of fine restaurants in the restored Murray House or on the waterfront.
In Li Yuen Street you can buy ready made clothing or have a suit made within 24 hours. Jardine’s Crescent in Causeway Bay is also worth adding to your list.
Finally before leaving, ride the Hong Kong Subway which is a modern, clean and highly organised method of getting around the place. From a different era is the venerable Star Ferry which runs across Victoria Harbour from Kowloon. This is not only a cheap and practical way of getting across the harbour but is a great sightseeing trip too. A definite must see on both a daytime trip and of course during the evening when you can enjoy the colour and spectacle of the light show.
Whether you enjoy food, sightseeing, history, culture, fantastic nightlife or shopping, Hong Kong is a unique and fantastic holiday location. Enjoy yourself when you discover Hong Kong.