Hong Kong’s slogan is ‘Hong Kong is it!’ And the ‘it’ is excitement, surprises, history, beauty, fashion, food, shopping and sight-seeing. Visit old temples, explore heritage trails and quaint villages, view towering mountains, taste local foods and shop till you drop.
The New Territories
Set out on a journey to the New Territories on the swift and near-silent electric KCR train. First stop is Sha Tin where you might visit the 12 exhibition galleries in the biggest and beautifully designed Hong Kong Heritage Museum or, for a change of pace, go to the horse races. Next train stop is the Lookout Tower in the Waterfront Park in the Tai Po District where you will see old rural settlements in stark contrast with modern developments. Next stop is Fanling, an historic market town with a temple high on a hill that serves cheap and nourishing vegetarian meals between noon and 5:30 p.m. Another stop takes in the Cing Chung Koon temple where every twist and turn of the grounds brings a different view. Don’t miss the extraordinary examples of bonsai. Perhaps drop by the Buddhist monastery, where the interior walls are adorned with thousands of Buddha images and paintings. And then the Gold Coast, a resort area, where you may plan to stay for a few days or just visit and move on with the tour. From here, you can take a ferry back to Hong Kong Island or continue the tour on a bus along the scenic coastal highway.
The incandescent neon, open-fronted bars and multicultural mix makes nightlife international. It combines big-city glamour with a dash of Hollywood. Nobody sleeps. You can dance until dawn, stop by all-night noodle stalls and buy from people hocking their wares until the sun rises. Visitors and residents alike tend to pub crawl instead of settling in one clubs. Go from places in SoHo to streetside bars on Temple Street. SoHo has some of Hong Kong’s oldest streets and newest bars, clubs, art studios and bistros. It is trendy and home to leading nightclubs such as always-packed Drop and ultracool, Liquid. Taste nouvelle Japanese cuisine at Blowfish, Indian food at Veda and Arabian food at Kazbah.
- Variety: Hong Kong has 9,000 restaurants and its share of award winning chefs.
- Decisions: Rely on the first Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau. This first bilingual Michelin Guide reinforces the city’s status as an international gourmet centre, recommending more than 200 restaurants and hotels.
- Training: Hong Kong is well known for its culinary schools and Hong Kong chefs do well in international competitions.
- Chinese cuisine: Although the choices are international, a variety of Chinese food styles are popular. Cantonese is the favourite. Traditional yum cha and dim sum are eaten daily by the locals. Dishes from Shanghai and Beijing are also available, such as drunken chicken, 1,000-year-old eggs and hairy crabs!
- Vegetarian: The Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island has spectacular views as well as vegetarian meals. In town, go to Nan Lian Garden for vegetarian food in a tranquil garden setting with timber structures, bizarre rocks and bonsai trees.
- International options: It’s a culinary melting pot, with Japanese sushi, Korean barbecue, Malaysian nasi goreng, Vietnamese noodles, Filipino adobo, Italian pizza, French bistros, Spanish tapas and British fish and chips.
Fashion is the attraction for almost 60 percent of visitors to Hong Kong. You can find bargains in street stalls or world famous brand names in shopping malls.
Fashion, in fact, accounts for 33 percent of Hong Kong’s exports – by far the largest category. It also imports famous names from around the world. Shop for Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Giorgio Armani, Moschino, Gucci, Christian Dior, Emanuel Ungaro, Valentino, Versace, Gianfranco, Ferret
and Donna Karan
The shops, themselves, are magnificently decorated – a reflection of the prosperity of Hong Kong’s high-end fashion market. Even if you aren’t interested in buying, you’ll enjoy strolling along the streets to window-shop.
Some of the major lines have set up production here and, although most pieces are exported, some with minor flaws are often sold in local outlets for less than half-price.
Shopping in the street markets is great fun – everything from handbags, underwear, accessories, clothes, silk items and leather shoes are sold on the street. Be prepared to bargain.
Some people still come to Hong Kong for made-to-order pieces, such as many Hollywood stars and members of the British royal family.
A new generation of young designers present mostly handmade items at reasonable prices. They often make exclusive accessories, leather wear and jeans.
All in all, a trip to Hong Kong runs the gamut of experiences. So bring your camera and keep a diary because the variety of experiences should be enjoyed again and again
Fact & figures
- Language: Chinese (Cantonese) and English
Currency: HK Dollars
Climate: Sub tropical Typhoon season is May to November.
Hong Kong is situated on the southeastern coast of China and covers an
area of 1,104 square kilometres (425 square miles). It comprises Hong
Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories, which includes 262
Travel documents: A valid passport is required, but no visas for most countries