Towering skyscrapers, ancient temples, beaches and enormous Buddhas – little wonder perhaps that Hong Kong is often described as the place where ‘east meets west’ while also claiming the self-title of ‘Asia’s World City’.
The territory, after 156 years of British colonial governance, was handed over to Chinese rule in 1997. It has a good mix of influences which ensure Hong Kong retains an exciting and unusual cultural infusion; a place of multiple personalities in fact. Consultants proficient in the ancient art of ‘feng shui’ are drafted in for uber-modern construction works while the cuisine eclectically marries traditional and modern, east and west too. In my opinion the restaurants here are simply to die-for ranging from the best Chinese food to be found anywhere in China to haute cuisine offerings of the Western world. If you’re looking for bars there are plenty of these too. Almost as high as Victoria Peak, Wooloomooloo is a rooftop bar in the heart of Hong Kong that’s known for it’s epic views and custom cocktails. If you are going to splash out come here as the bar is also part of a popular steakhouse and definitely one of my favourites.
There are well over 1000 skyscrapers in Hong Kong and here’s an interesting fact for you – more people here than anywhere else on the planet, live and work above the 14th floor. As you might imagine this skyline makes for incredible views after sundown especially across the Kowloon Bay. If you want a bird’s-eye view during daylight hours head to the highly distinctive Peak Tower which has an observation platform as well as shops, dining and museums.
If you’re looking for traditional heritage locations of the temples/monastery/stilt house kind there are plenty throughout Hong Kong including Kowloon, Lantau Island – with its enormous Tian Tan Buddha – and the New Territories where you can meander the Ping Shan Heritage Trail and take in a plethora of ancient sights.
For a blast of colonial flavour and an easy city overview hop aboard one of the double-decker trams – the only system of its kind remaining anywhere on the planet – which have been making their slow, stately way on Hong Kong Island since 1904. Transport of a different kind can be found with the super picturesque and essentially exotic junk boats. These traditional vessels can be privately chartered, embarked for sight-seeing tours or booked for dining cruises.
Should the cosmopolitan and the high density of Hong Kong folk (which include a fair helping of ex-pat communities) get too much and you crave a little tranquillity head for Lantau Island with its open countryside, traditional fishing villages and tucked-away beaches.
Hong Kong makes for a great stopover destination but for those with the time and inclination, it is actually something much more than that too. Let me know if you are planning a visit and I will happily run through the various hotel accommodation options too.
To contact Jerry with your travel questions and for itinerary advice, please email him: [email protected]
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