If you want to visit Asia but are concerned about going somewhere very foreign, then perhaps the place to start is in Hong Kong. This former British colony is a rather tame version of Asia but still has some fun and somewhat exotic things to do.
Hong Kong is an autonomous territory that sits in the Pearl River estuary and is administered by the People’s Republic of China. This city is jampacked with over 7 million people and covers just over 1,000 square km.
It consists of 200 islands, the most important of which are Hong Kong Island and Lantau Island. The Kowloon Peninsula and New Territories are also notable. Every inch of terrain that could be developed has been, with the rest being mountainous and not conducive to building.
Flying into Hong Kong, you will land at Hong Kong International, which is located on the mostly reclaimed land of Chek Lap Kok. This land was reclaimed explicitly for the building of the airport. When it opened in 1998, it was the largest passenger terminal in the world (a record now held by Terminal 3 at Dubai International), and it services over 100 airlines that fly to every destination in the world.
Victoria Peak Tram
No visit to Hong Kong would be complete without a tram ride to the top of Victoria Peak. This scarily steep ride can be a bit frightening in places, but it is well worth the trip, as the views of Hong Kong from the summit are unsurpassed. You can get fabulous photographs of the city and harbor at any time of the day.
Bird lovers will love a trip up to Victoria Peak, as this is a bird paradise with Black Kites wheeling overhead. To add to your enjoyment, there is a mall on the summit that has a good range of shops and eateries for your pleasure. Do not try to sneak a walk onto the actual summit because this is a restricted area full of telecommunications equipment.
Hong Kong’s fantastic light show
The picturesque heart of Hong Kong is Victoria Harbor, and each evening there is a fabulous laser light show. Take one of the cruises so you can lay back and enjoy drinks and snacks while watching lights dance across the buildings accompanied by a stirring musical score. The show is known as Symphony of Lights and is definitely not to be missed.
For an extra-unique show, book your trip for October 1 every year. This is National Day in Hong Kong, and you will be treated to the most spectacular fireworks show.
Wednesday night horse racing
Enjoy a mid-week blast with a visit to Happy Valley Racecourse and enjoy a full evening of horses and congenial entertainment. Many companies offer an evening’s entertainment that includes a visit to the racecourse and after racing pleasure at a local nightclub.
Food tours of Hong Kong
There is a wide range of wonderful eateries in Hong Kong, but unless you are a very knowledgeable foodie, they may be a little confusing. There are several tours available that will guide you through the various types of food available in the city.
Sham Shui Po is the most authentic district in Hong Kong, and it has a plethora of street vendors offering all kinds of authentic meals. Since this is where the local people eat, you will be sure to get authentic meals at very reasonable prices. Tours of the Sheung Wan district will give you a taste of some of the not-so-well-known delicacies in Hong Kong, such as milk tea (a relic of the British time) and egg tarts.
The Dim Sum Library is a restaurant in Hong Kong that specializes in dim sum. Take your time to enjoy these tasty bites and remember that the objective of one of these meals is to share and taste as many delicacies as you can.
Dragon’s Back Hike
For those looking to exercise, consider going on a hiking tour of the Dragon’s Back. This gentle uphill climb will give you fabulous views over Victoria Harbor and is rated the best urban hike in Asia. The walk generally starts from the Shau Kei Wan MTR Station and will take you along mountain paths and through beautiful forests as you slowly wind your way to the top.
On the other side, you will slowly descend to the beautiful beach and blue waters of Tai Long Wan (Big Wave Bay). You can then spend a lazy afternoon on the beach enjoying the sun and sand.
Lantau Island tour
Take a tour of Lantau Island with a ride on the Ngong Ping cable car and enjoy the 360-degree views of the Po Lin Monastery, Grand Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas and Big Buddha. Then move on to Tai O, the stilt village built over water, and see the fish market and production of shrimp sauce.
Visit the World Heritage city of Macau and enjoy some of the world’s best-known casinos and 5-star hotels. For a real thrill, take the Turbojet ferry between Hong Kong and Macau.
These are just a few of the many attractions in Hong Kong. Visit the city and enjoy a world of pleasures in a very small area.