Hong Kong was a British colony until 1997 but has now reverted to a special administrative region of China. To sum up the character of Hong Kong, it could be described as the place where East meets West. It is this mixture on Hong Kong vacations that makes it an exceptional destination.
What are the top things to see in Hong Kong?
Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Island
Victoria Peak is the island’s highest peak and can be seen from the harbour as well as almost everywhere else on a Hong Kong vacation. You can reach the summit in several ways – by road or bus, also via the Peak Tramway. It is possible to walk to the top of the peak but this is fairly strenuous. The biggest attraction of the mountain is the panoramic view from the top. At the top, there are restaurants and boutique shops. The actual summit is not open to visitors as it is occupied by a radio tower. The Peak Tower has a series of escalators that connect to all levels of the tower with a Viewing Platform at the Sky Terrace.
The Star Ferry
The Star Ferry is the main method of transportation across Victoria Harbour between Kowloon (Tsim Sha Tsui) and Hong Kong Island (Central), the two main parts that make up a large area of the city. It is the cheapest entertainment in Hong Kong as it costs 25 cents US/35 cents Canadian one way. During the 15-minute journey, you will enjoy spectacular views of the skyline of Hong Kong together with a glimpse of the harbour activity. Ferries depart every 6 to 12 minutes depending on the time of the day. If you want a longer ferry ride, you can take the one between Kowloon and Wan Chai further along Hong Kong Island. You can also partake in the Star Ferry’s Harbour Tour which sails on a circular route for an hour around Victoria Harbour calling in at Tsim Sha Tsui, Central and Wan Chai.
Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, Kowloon
Hong Kong has one of the most spectacular skylines anywhere and the promenade here is one of the best ways to obtain a fabulous view. Along the first part of the promenade is the Avenue of the Stars which pays homage to the Hong Kong film industry and its stars with handprints, sculptures and information boards everywhere. In the evening, the Symphony of Lights is a big attraction. This is a spectacular sound-and-light show involving 44 buildings on the Hong Kong Island skyline. The Symphony of Lights has been named the “World’s Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show” by the Guinness Book of World Records. It is done with coloured lights, laser beams and searchlights which are all synchronized to music. There is live narration in three languages, English, Cantonese and Mandarin, depending on the night.
Aberdeen, Hong Kong Island
Once a fishing village, Aberdeen is now a popular place visited on Hong Kong tours. It is situated on the southern side of Hong Kong Island. This historic area is known as the original Hong Kong since it was the first harbour that European explorers set foot in. The floating village here is full of boats which the locals use for fishing and trading. Nearby is the floating Jumbo Kingdom, the very well-known floating restaurant. A free shuttle ferry takes you to the restaurant. You can also have a Sampan boat ride around the harbour which lasts around 20 to 30 minutes.
Ocean Park, Hong Kong Island
Ocean Park is a marine mammal park, oceanarium, animal theme park and amusement park located in the Southern District of Hong Kong. This and Hong Kong Disneyland are the two large theme parks in Hong Kong. It has a total of 80 attractions and rides and is separated by a large mountain into two areas, the Summit (Headland) and the Waterfront (Lowland). These areas can be reached by a cable car system or the Ocean Express funicular railway. The attractions and rides include four roller coasters, animal exhibits with different themes such as a giant panda habitat, a rainforest and polar displays. There is also an aquarium featuring the world’s largest aquarium dome.
Disneyland, Lantau Island
This world-famous theme park is situated on reclaimed land on Lantau Island and consists of seven themed areas: Main Street, designed to resemble an early 20th Century Midwest town in the U.S.A., Fantasyland, Adventureland featuring jungle-themed adventures, Tomorrowland, an optimistic vision of the future, Grizzly Gulch, reminiscent of an abandoned mining town, Mystic Point, a dense rain forest surrounded by mysterious forces and supernatural events and Toy Story Land which brings characters and places from Disney’s movies for children to life.
Reached by ferry from Central, Lantau Island is a much quieter and serene place. There are a number of attractions on which to spend time here on a Hong Kong vacation. Ngong Ping 360 is a spectacular 5.7 kilometre/3.5 mile-long cable car journey that travels via an impressive cultural themed village and the Tian Tan Buddha. At the themed village, there are a couple of attractions. These include the Walking with Buddha attraction which gives an interesting introduction to Buddha. The Monkey’s Tail is a silent animated movie, The Tian Tan Buddha is the largest seated outdoor Buddha in bronze. Also on the island is the Po Lin Monastery which was founded in 1906. The main temple building houses 3 bronze statues representing Buddha of the past, present and future. Tai O is a traditional fishing village known as “The Venice of Hong Kong”. Here the houses are built on stilts and for a small fee, some residents will take visitors out on their boats along the river and for a short trip into the sea to view Chinese white dolphins. The village is also a good place to see the sunset.
Peng Chau Island
Reached by ferry from Centra, Peng Chau Island is definitely “off-the-beaten-track”. There are no cars, buses or taxis on this island; it is simply a place for walking or cycling and bikes are available for rent. The island has 8 temples including the Tin Hau Temple dating back to 1792. Along the coastline, you can view marine life including Chinese white dolphins. Finger Hill is a popular spot with panoramic views of the island. There are also a number of beaches dotted around the coastline.
Man Mo Temple
There are a number of old buildings worth visiting such as the Man Mo Temple, Hong Kong’s oldest, located on Hong Kong Island and the Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden in Kowloon.
Enjoy the cuisine in Hong Kong
Hong Kong cuisine is mainly influenced by Cantonese cuisine, European cuisines (especially British cuisine) and non-Cantonese Chinese cuisines as well as Japanese, Korean and Southeast Asian cuisines due to Hong Kong’s past as a British colony and a long history. From roadside stalls to the most upscale restaurants, Hong Kong provides an unlimited variety of food and dining. In other words, the choice is almost unlimited on a Hong Kong vacation.
Shopping in Hong Kong
Stanley Market, Hong Kong Island
The most renowned market which is visited by almost every visitor on a Hong Kong vacation is Stanley Market on the south side of Hong Kong Island. It is a labyrinth of narrow alleyways containing stalls and shops selling every kind of merchandise including silk garments, sportswear, art, Chinese costume jewellery and souvenirs. There are also a number of restaurants available for lunch or a snack.
Hong Kong’s Other Markets
Kowloon is home to the majority of the street markets. There is the Ladies’ Market in Mong Kok with its more than 100 stalls offering what most women are happy to find – bargains. The name derives from the type of merchandise sold here such as clothing, cosmetics, CD’s, trinkets, leather goods and, of course, SHOES! It stays open until late in the evening. The best known “night market” is the Temple Street Night Market at Jordan in Kowloon. Here you can find not only merchandise for sale but also it is a place for singers, buskers and fortune tellers to entertain you. It is a very lively part of Hong Kong. You can pick up almost anything from electronics to clothes and food. The Bird Market, which is located in a traditional Chinese garden in Mong Kok is worth a visit to see the dozens of stalls selling exotic birds in cages. The Chinese have traditionally liked to keep birds as pets and here, you will see old men with their cages taking their birds for “walks” much like you would take your dog to the park. Cat Market on Hong Kong Island is where you might find a rare antique such as Ming Dynasty furniture or something from the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The market is a mixture of antique dealers, curio merchants and art galleries. This is also the place to look for bargains in jade, silk products, embroideries and wooden handicraft items.
When is the best time to visit Hong Kong?
Hong Kong has a subtropical climate. It has mild, relatively dry winters and hot, humid and wet summers. The best time to visit Hong Kong weather-wise is from March to April and from October to early December when the weather is sunny, cool, and pleasant. Late February to the end of March, Hong Kong starts becoming warmer and humidity begins to rise as the rainy season draws near. Generally speaking, this is a good time to visit as the temperatures are usually cool, not cold and the chances of rain are low. April, May and June are the wettest and most humid months. December to February is the coolest but it remains dry and cloudy during this time and the temperatures can drop. Many shops remain closed during the Chinese New Year (this varies between mid-January to February.
What types of tours are available in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is advantageously located to allow you to not only spend time there but to easily combine with other Asian countries. Should time be limited, consider adding a side trip to Macau, a short ferry ride away. You can also conveniently combine a Hong Kong vacation with China, Taiwan and Bali.
Travel to Hong Kong
There are regular non-stop flights from Toronto, Montreal, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Transportation within Hong Kong
The transportation system in Hong Kong should satisfy all the visitor’s needs. Transport comprises the MTR (Mass Transit Railway), taxis, buses, minibuses and tramways (only on Hong Kong Island). There are plenty of ways to get around Hong Kong, The city claims one of the world’s safest, most efficient and frequent public transportation systems and a convenient payment method is in the form of the Octopus Card. It is used to pay for rides on almost all modes of public transport
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A visit to Hong Kong will certainly be both enjoyable and entertaining no matter how long you spend there.
No matter what your interests are, it is almost certain that a Hong Kong vacation can satisfy them. Book one of our Hong Kong tours today and start exploring this vibrant city.
“Globetrotting with Goway” blog articles
For some additional reading, the following articles are from our blog “Globetrotting with Goway”….. a great source of information for those people who are, or who want to be, world travellers!
Visit Hong Kong and Thailand for an Ideal Asia Getaway
6 Must-See Street Markets in Hong Kong and Taiwan to Explore on Your Asia Vacation
Spirited Away by Culture on Hong Kong and Taiwan Tours
Kowloon vs Hong Kong Island: How to Choose Your Stay
Tasting Your Way Through Hong Kong and Taiwan
Explore Hong Kong as a Foodie
Lantau Island Splendours in Hong Kong
Where to Stay in Hong Kong: Kowloon vs Hong Kong Island
Three Nights in Hong Kong
The Venice of Hong Kong – Tai O & Lantau Island
Hong Kong Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy to navigate travel information section dedicated to a Hong Kong vacation.
Learn about the history and culture of Hong Kong, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Hong Kong’s nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with ‘Country Quickfacts’ compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information will help ensure you’re properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Hong Kong for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Hong Kong tours today!
Extend Your Trip
After your Hong Kong tour consider taking the time to visit other destinations. Goway offers exciting China vacation packages, India tours and Thailand vacation packages plus a comprehensive selection of vacation packages in many other Asian countries.
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