Hong Kong: Asia’s best Vacation City
f you’re considering traveling to Asia, the world-class city of Hong Kong should be at the top of your list. This gleaming metropolis on the Pearl River has become one of the most important financial centers in the world, as well as an increasingly popular tourist destination. In 2018, the city attracted around 30 million tourists, and for good reason! Hong Kong has so many things to do, it can seem overwhelming if it’s your first time going there In this post, we will look at some of the most exciting things to do in Hong Kong to enable you to get the most out of your trip.
Hong Kong has a long and unique history; for over 100 years it was a British colony, until it was restored to Chinese rule in 1997 as a special administration region with a certain degree of autonomy. British rule is partially responsible for the area’s unique identity compared to the rest of China. Due to this history, Hong Kong also has a high level of English, especially in the tourist and service industries. Today, Hong Kong has the highest per capita income in the world.
Shopping Centers and Cuisine
In between the massive skyscrapers of the city lie a variety of shopping centers and quaint street markets which offer anything a buyer might be looking for. Of course, different areas cater to different clienteles; for example, Tung Choi Street is known for its women’s fashions. A favorite with tourists is the Temple Street Night Market, built around a Tin Hau temple and open into the night. Flooded with bright lights, fortune tellers, and seafood restaurants, this market is a fusion of old and new that’s iconic Hong Kong. It’s important to note that haggling is also permitted at Hong Kong’s markets, so don’t be afraid to try and get a better deal!
A trip to Hong Kong would not be complete without sampling its legendary Cantonese dim sung. Since it lies on the South China Sea, seafood is also a staple of the city, with fish, oysters, clams and crab dishes. However, Hong Kong doesn’t just have traditional cuisine – it’s also home to cosmopolitan fare, with nearly every type of cuisine one could imagine, along with the world’s least expensive Michelin star restaurant (dim sun eatery Tim Ho Wan).
Taking in the View
Hong Kong’s appearance is iconic, with the highest number of skyscrapers in the world. Viewing the city from a distance can be a breathtaking experience, and fortunately there are two famous attractions which enable tourists to do just that. The Star Ferry, which travels to Hong Kong Island from the nearby Kowloon Peninsula, gives an amazing view of the city as it glides leisurely over Victoria Harbour and through the waterways of the city. Just imagine approaching the city at night, bright lights shining, perhaps just in time to see the the Symphony of Lights at 8 PM, documented as the world’s largest light show.
To see the city from above, travelers can take the Peak Tram to Victoria Peak, Hong Kong’s highest point. This offers not just a view of the city, but also the rolling green hills of the New Territories, giving visitors a picture of what the area must have looked like in the past.
Peace and Quiet: Traditional and Natural Sites
Hong Kong is not just hyper-modern; keep in mind that Hong Kong is actually a group of islands and not just the famous concrete jungle. for those who want a taste of traditional China there’s also much to see. If you feel you need a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, pay a visit to the Nan Lian Garden, a traditional Chinese garden located in Kowloon. Consider topping off your relaxation with a famous Hong Kong massage.
Hong Kong is also known for its many hiking trails and beaches. Lantau Island offers both, with Sunset Peak being a popular hiking trail known for its spectacular sunset views and Cheung Sha beach being a popular location for resorts and surfing. The Tian Tan Buddha, also known as “the Big Buddha,” is located on Lantau, with Ngong Ping village, replete with stores and tea shops, built around it. For those with children, Hong Kong Disneyland is also here.
Overall, Hong Kong offers an interesting fusion of east and west, past and present. Efficient public transportation makes it easy to get from one sight to the next, and balance between busy urban center and peaceful, outlying islands make it an ideal getaway. So much of what a traveler could want out of a trip to Asia is here, making it an excellent final destination or gateway to other parts of Asia.