Hong Kong, China (at least the downtown area), is about as un-China-like as can be imagined. It appears to be a modern city of the Western World, transplanted onto the edge of the Chinese mainland as some cruel joke. But it is, in fact, a monument to capitalism and positively spectacular, with its backdrop of tall mountains, including the majestic Victoria Peak looming over stunning skyscrapers. Take the Peak Tram up to the top for glorious views of the city skyscrapers below and the harbor beyond.
The central city and mountains are on an island (one of about 230 islands which make up the entire city), Hong Kong Island, which is a Mecca for business and commerce. For a look at more traditional commerce, stroll along Bonham Strand, with its shops selling Chinese medicines and herbal remedies, very different from the typical pharmacy in New York or London. Another sight on the island is the Man Mo Temple (Man is green, while Mo is red). If time permits, travel to the southern shore of the island to visit Stanley Village, for discounted goods and pretty beaches.
Across the harbor lies the Kowloon Peninsula, with hotels, and small businesses and some of the best shopping (there are professional shoppers who can be employed to assist in finding the best bargains) in Asia, especially along Nathan Road. The Star Ferry terminal is at the southern tip (which also has stupendous views of Hong Kong Island) and the ferry ride is a must for the visitor to experience Hong Kong’s majesty from the water.
1. Ride the (very quick) elevator to the 43rd floor of the Bank of China building for a great view of the city.
2. I have posted several walking tours of Hong Kong — check out 5-27-08 in the archives.