Among the world's most glamorous and cosmopolitan cities, Hong Kong sits on the southern coast of China at the Pearl River estuary of the South China Sea. It comprises Hong Kong Island, where the Central Business District and most affluent areas and attractions are, and, on the mainland, Kowloon and…
Among the world's most glamorous and cosmopolitan cities, Hong Kong sits on the southern coast of China at the Pearl River estuary of the South China Sea. It comprises Hong Kong Island, where the Central Business District and most affluent areas and attractions are, and, on the mainland, Kowloon and the New Territories. Hong Kong is a regional and global hub for banking, shipping, fashion and food, boasting more than 60 Michelin-starred restaurants. Its five-star hotels are among the most elegant to be found anywhere; many are set in the towering skyscrapers that carpet Hong Kong Island's steep slopes and light up its skyline so beautifully.Officially known as Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy relative to the rest of China, even after it was reunified with China in 1997 after 156 years of British rule ended.Many cruises in Southeast and East Asia start or end in Hong Kong, and it's definitely a great city in which to spend a day or two sightseeing and finding cultural things to do before or after the voyage. Smaller cruise ships can dock right in Victoria Harbour, for front-row seats of the stunning skyline. Unfortunately, pollution is a problem, and sometimes the views are obscured because of it.
If you go to just one Hong Kong museum, this should be it. It's a balanced and all-encompassing collection of the ancient and the new. Permanent exhibits range from 2,000-year-old Han dynasty sculptures to a reconstructed theater and memorabilia from the Cantonese opera to galleries focused on the New Territories (part of greater Hong Kong), fossils, the opium trade, British Rule and more.
Head to the Aberdeen Promenade along the southwestern shoreline of Hong Kong Island, and hop aboard a sampan. The small, distinctive boats are operated mostly by elderly Tanka and Hoklo women from the traditional seafaring community who still live on boats. For a reasonable price, take a 30-minute ride around Aberdeen Harbour among the junks, houseboats, trawlers and fancy yachts, and pass under Ap Lei Chau Bridge.
This self-guided tour of 15 historic buildings takes you through one of Hong Kong's oldest settlements, Wan Chai, which grew up around the northern shore of the island. The area was once home to rich Europeans and foreign merchants. Many of the points of interest are on or near Queen's Road East, and highlights include 19th-century Chinese shophouses and temples, streamlined Art Deco buildings and the 1918 red-brick Nam Kou Terrace mansion.
This fishing village on the western coast of Lantau Island is a step back in time to when simple wooden houses on stilts lined the coast of southern China, and fishermen came and went with their catch. Framed by distant mountains, the colorful harbor is still busy with small boats. The town's traditional seafood market is something to see (and smell)—all manner of dried marine creatures are for sale as well as buckets and bins of fish freshly plucked from the sea and often still moving.
If the weather cooperates, the view from the top of Victoria Peak, which is also simply called the Peak, will make your day. Get up to Hong Kong Island's highest point (552 meters, or 1,811 feet, above sea level) by bus, train or taxi, or better yet, ride the outdoor escalators. This fun option gets you as far as the Peak Tram, a century-old funicular railway that makes the rest of the steep trip to the top.
This cha chaan teng, or dim sum and tea restaurant, is set in a colonial-era building with elegant furnishings, carved wooden panels and framed calligraphy on the walls. A revival of the traditional Cantonese teahouse, LockCha offers more than 100 teas along with vegetarian dim sum. There are also Cantonese concerts and calligraphy classes from time to time along with a shop selling tea and teapots.
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