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Must Visits in Hong Kong

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Travel Features >> Must Visits in Hong Kong

Must Visits in Hong Kong

September 06, 2011

Today, after years of jugglery between China and Britain, Hong Kong (which is what 'Perfumed Harbour’ means), is one of those rare examples of a thoroughly cosmopolitan city. Hedonistic and happy-go-lucky; very Chinese and yet somehow very global- Hong Kong manages to be a little bit of everything.

A trip to Hong Kong should begin with an overview of the city- literally. Start with a ride in a cable car up to the summit of Victoria Peak for a panoramic view of the city and its harbour. From there, move on to the many tourist sights around town: the delightfully colonial Flagstaff Tea House; the very Chinese Man Mo Temple, dedicated to the gods of literature and war; and busy, historic Kowloon. If you’ve got kids along, plan a trip to Water World, Kids World and Ocean Park; or give ‘em a dose of Chinese culture at the Sung Dynasty Village.

Spend a while at the Wong Sai Temple, or cross the spectacular Tsing Ma Bridge- the world’s longest rail and road suspension bridge- to the New Territories, chockfull of everything from trekking trails to ancient temples. Go hiking down the 100-km MacLehose Trail; make a wish (no guarantees for fulfilment!) at the Wishing Tree of Lam Tsuen, or go on an unforgettable tour of the many historical monuments around the area. The Ching Chung Koon/ Miu Fat Buddhist Monastery, the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery (well, not really 10,000- there are actually 13,000 Buddha statues here), and the deliciously ethnic Luen Wo Market- a traditional Chinese market- are must-sees in the New Territories. Get a glimpse of Chinese culture at one of the many ethnic villages and villas dotting the area, such as the Kam Tin Walled Village, the Tsang Tai Uk, the Sam Tung Uk Museum and the Tai Fu Tai Mansion, or go wildlife-viewing and bird-watching in the Mai Po Wetlands.

Head out to the Outlying Islands, where long, leisurely strolls along deserted beaches, fabulous photographic opportunities and delicious seafood are the main attractions. Hit the temple trail, with visits to the Pak Tai Temple and the Tin Hau Temple, or spend a soothing weekend at the quiet Yung Shue Wan village. Let Hong Kong work its seductive spell on you!

Making your way here
Hong Kong’s Chek Lap Kok International Airport, on the island of Lantau, receives flights from all across the world. A number of airlines, including Cathay Pacific, connect Hong Kong to the rest of the world. Other than that, frequent train services on the Kowloon-Canton Railway connect Hong Kong to mainland China. The third option for reaching Hong Kong is by ferry from Macau or ports along the Chinese coast. The China ferries dock at Tsim Shat Sui and the Macau ones (which include hydrofoils and jetfoils) arrive at Shun Tak Centre.

and getting around
Moving around Hong Kong isn’t a problem: there are loads of options to choose from, including the efficient MRT (the Mass Rapid Transport) train network and the bus system, which connects all of Hong Kong’s territories. The city has a very good taxi service, with cabs colour-coded to specify the area in which they operate. Hired cars, ferries and hydrofoils (which link the component islands of Hong Kong), minibuses and the occasional rickshaw are some of the other choices for getting around.

A Roof over Your Head
Hong Kong has no shortage of places to stay, no matter what your budget- you’ll find everything from world-class deluxe hotels to cheaper hostels, inns and guesthouses. Most of the city’s swankiest properties are on the main island of Hong Kong; if you’re looking for something a tad cheaper, head for the outlying islands: you’ll find a much larger range of budget options to choose from.

a Good Meal, a Great Bargain and more.
Hong Kong’s thoroughly cosmopolitan outlook is reflected in the cuisine it offers- virtually every style of cooking under the sun is here, from Chinese to high-brow Continental. For eating experiences with a difference, head for the floating restaurants in Aberdeen Harbour, or feast at one of the city’s many dim sum stalls. Shopping too is something you have loads of opportunity for in Hong Kong- check out electronics, clothing, curios and more along Hollywood Road, Tsim Shat Sui, or Causeway Bay.

and one Last bit of Advice.
Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities in this part of the world, so plan well before landing up here. The budget options for accommodation, transport and eating are plentiful, but you’ll need to seek them out. A very good bargain in the way of transport is the Octopus Card, which is valid on nearly all transport in HK- great value for money!

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