The first thing to say about Hong Kong is that it’s not really a place to go if you’re looking for a relaxing getaway where you laze around all day – the city simply won’t let you. With over seven million people crammed into an area of no more than 430 square miles, it’s a vibrant, exciting city which can leave you dizzy – in a good way. It really should be on any traveller’s list of top destinations.
Hong Kong is the place where the East really meets the West, since it spent over 150 years under British control and only recently returned to Chinese ownership in 1997. British influence is still keenly felt – which is handy if your Cantonese leaves much to be desired!
The area is now known as a leading global business centre, so there are hotels in Hong Kong to suit any purse and any level of luxury. If you decide to dive in and embrace the chaos, here are a few things to look out for:
When the well-to-do British grew tired of the hustle and bustle and dirty air of the city, they moved to higher ground on The Peak. It is still an exclusive neighbourhood, but now offers visitors the perfect vantage point to see Hong Kong Island in all its glory. Gazing out at night offers a different – but no-less awe-inspiring – viewpoint.
Off Hong Kong Island and onto the mainland is the district of Kowloon, where the skyline is not so imposing but the streets still buzz with people. It’s shopping heaven, and great bars and restaurants offer a place to take the weight off your feet.
Po Lin Monastery
When you need a moment away from the hustle and bustle to collect your thoughts, you should try a trip out to the Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island. Look at the Buddhist iconography or relax in the peaceful gardens as you gaze in awe at the 34-metre majestic Bronze Buddha which now towers above it.
There are plenty of other things to do depending on your tastes; you can explore the area’s film history with a stroll down the Avenue of the Stars, or enjoy some thrills at two great local themeparks: Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park. The latter combines rides with animal and marine life; for instance, one bob-sled ride will allow you to explore the polar regions, while another will take you into the heart of the rainforest. There is also a world-class aquarium showing off some extraordinary marine life.