When you first arrive, Hong Kong can overwhelm. Navigate its teeming, tightly packed sidewalks and you’re met at every turn with neon signage, steam-filled canteens, traffic at a standstill and an assault of the ears that is quite like anywhere else! However, take a deep breath and start swimming with the current, because you’ll find Hong Kong is a place to delight in.
Hong Kong is an intense, vibrant and colourful city with a magnificent natural setting on the tip of the mainland – it’s a thrilling gateway to China, and Hong Kong holidays offer a glimpse of this fascinating fusion of east and west. With 5,000 years of Chinese traditions, 150 years of British colonial influence and boundless energy for the future, this is a truly unique city that’s constantly changing – so even if this isn’t your first visit, you’re sure to find something new and exciting.
Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan, adrenalin-fuelled experience with exhilarating shopping, cuisine and nightlife. It can nudge you out of your comfort zone but usually rewards you for it, so try the stinky beancurd, sample the shredded jellyfish, brave the hordes at the city centre horseracing and join in the dawn tai chi. The city’s yin-yang sensibility is summed up neatly as traditional junks drift past soaring skyscrapers and colonial buildings neighboured by designer malls. Escape the city limits and other experiences await – watching the sun rise from a remote mountain peak, hiking surf-beaten beaches or exploring deserted islands.
On Hong Kong Island, marvel at the blend of man-made and natural landscapes from Victoria Peak above the central region of the Island, overlooking the streets, skyscrapers, harbour and Kowloon Peninsula below. Don’t forget to take your tram ride up!
For beaches, traditional markets and laid back cafes, head to the island’s south coast. From bargain hunting in Stanley Market, through Repulse Bay to Aberdeen, which boasts a wonderful and unusual floating community, there is much to see.
From Hong Kong Island take a ride to Kowloon on the Star Ferry with the commuters, an inexpensive way to view the city from a spectacular vantage point.
For serious shoppers there is no rival to the vast malls and stalls that line the streets on the Kowloon Peninsula that forms the northern shore of Victoria Harbour. Explore the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui, famous for high end stores, sprawling shopping complexes and street traders hawking their wares.
Head to the mainland New Territories to see a more authentically Chinese face of Hong Kong or visit Lantau to marvel at the giant reclining Buddha and take a trip on the spectacular 5.7km Ngong Pin 360 cable car ride or a trip to the Tai O Stilt Houses.
Hong Kong caters for the highest end pampering that money buy – you name it, Hong Kong can provide it. Yet it is also a city of simple pleasures. Most often it’s the least pricey experiences – a £2 tram or ferry ride, a whiff of incense curling from temple rafters, savouring fishing-village sundowners and seafood – that live long in the memory.