Hong Kong, because of its long association with England, is truly a cosmopolitan city, a blend of East and West. Shopper’s can find almost anything there, and pratically the entire population speaks English. Its skyline is second to none and its harbor is always busy with shipping (it’s one of the largest container ports in the world) and pleasure boats. The city is divided into districts but is fairly compact because the island is very mountainous and the only area available for building is the immediate shoreline. It is an exciting city which never sleeps and reminds visitors of New York with its tall buildings and non-stop shopping. Here are my selections for the best of this great city. A photo album will follow.
1. The Peak – Victoria Peak looks down over the entire city providing picture-post-card views of the skyline, harbor and outlying islands. Access is via road or the steepest funicular in the world. Panoramas must be experienced both during the day and during the night. The Peak is well-developed with several restaurants and shopping areas, besides the overlooks.
2. Ride the Star Ferry – This frequent ferry service between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon peninsula must be experienced if only for the views. At posting, the ride across cost a mere $0.30 — what a bargain!
3. Aberdeen Fishing Village – On another part of Hong Kong Island, tourists can take a Sampan which winds its way through the old fishing village — people here have lived on their boats for many, many years. The fishing boats have all of life’s amenities, like televisions, dishwashers, etc., except for fresh water, which requires an occasional trip onto shore. The contrast of these old, in some cases decrepit boats with the high-rise apartment buildings on shore is stark and interesting.
4. Shopping at the Stanley Market – The village of Stanley, in another section of the island, is noted for its great shopping. Here intrepid shoppers can find great bargains, especially if they are willing to bargain, on all types of items. Even non-shoppers enjoy the lively scene and browsing through the narrow alleys lined with shops and stalls.
5. Promenade along the Kowloon Harborfront – The waterfront walkway in the Tsim Shs Tsui section of Kowloon is a lovely stroll and also provides fantastic views of the Hong Kong skyline from water level.
6. Visit the Buddha at Po Lin Monastery – On Lantau Island, southwest of Hong Kong visitors can climb the 268 steps up to the largest outdoor seated bronze Buddha in the world. The best way to reach the village of Ngong Ping is to take the cable car, probably the longest in the world. Once in the village the Buddha looms overhead and is well-worth the effort of climbing the stairway to see him up close.
7. Man Mo Temple – The most popular Buddhist temple in Hong Kong is located in the Western District, on Hollywood Road. The temple is always filled with smoke from the incense which is burned as an offering to the Buddha.
8. Temple Street Night Market – Another interesting shopping venue is located off Nathan Road, the main north-south artery on Kowloon. Practice your bargaining here and search that treasure that you’ve been unable to find elsewhere. People-watching is alos fantastic here.
9. View the Symphony of Light – At 8 PM each night the Hong Kong skyline comes alive in a wonderfully well-coordinated light show. The best viewing area is near the clock on the Kowloon side of the harbor. Come early to get a good spot since the performance is very popular.
10. Play the Ponies at Happy Valley Racetrack – Hong Kong residents are inveterate gamblers and the Happy Valley Racetrack is the main venue for horse-racing, the Sport of Kings. The race track is just east of Central, Hong Kong’s downtown district.