Hong Kong maintains its status as the most popular travel destination in Asia, where the exotic East fuses with the contemporary West in a dynamic contemporary city. English is widely spoken and Hong Kong’s compact area along with her excellent public transport system makes it easy to get around. Hong Kong's energetic atmosphere is unforgettable. Ranked as one of the largest trade entities in the world, a broad business base has developed and today it is the most dynamic international business (trading, transportation and communications) center in the region. Hong Kong is renowned for its entrepreneurial spirit, and her 7 million inhabitants have a worldwide reputation for working hard and playing hard.
The vantage point of Victoria Peak, overlooking the world's busiest deepwater port, overshadows a city geared not only to making money but feeling good about it with a vibrant nightlife. Visitors often find it takes a few days in Hong Kong to get accustomed to the whirlwind pace. If you need some respite, check out the solitude of the Outlying Islands for a change of scenery and a more relaxed way of life.
Hong Kong is well established as a tourist destination with some of the finest hotels in the world, known for impeccable Asian service standards and a wide variety of restaurants. It is a colorful kaleidoscope of attractions to arouse the senses: spectacular sightseeing, sensational shopping and fabulous foods. The Chinese experience is enhanced by strong western influences from its British colonial history, yet Hong Kong has always stuck to its roots and the culture beneath the glitz is pure Chinese. Skyscrapers which dominate Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula are quite a contrast to the rural farmland and tranquil fishing villages which can still be found in the New Territories and the more than 260 outlying islands. Hong Kong is just 1,100 sq. kilometers with both Chinese and English as the official languages. Sovereignty reverted to China with the handover in 1997, but Hong Kong remains a unique entity through China’s "one country, two systems" policy. A visit to Hong Kong is a must as either the gateway to China or as a stopover to any destination in the Pacific region.
There are three professional dance companies making up the local arts scene. The Hong Kong Dance Company performs traditional Chinese dance as well as new works. City Contemporary Dance Company specializes in modern dance, and the Hong Kong Ballet Company focuses on classical and modern Western choreography.
As the 'Events Capital of Asia', many international performers grace Hong Kong stages. The Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra is one of the world's largest Chinese musical groups, using the pipa and ehru to perform both Chinese and Western music. The internationally recognized Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is in residence at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre from September until July. Chinese Opera has been expressing the moral dilemmas and folk legends of the Chinese people for over a thousand years. The three hour performances are big productions with extravagant costumes and make-up, falsetto singing and martial arts, making for a unique art form.
The 1,600-seat auditorium, 200-seat studio theatre and 500-seat outdoor arena host theatre presentations, concerts and dance productions.
Address: 1 Gloucester Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island
Phone: 2584 8514 or 2824 2651
A premier concert venue, offering a wide range of local and international classical operas, music, dance, film and art exhibitions. It boasts a separate theatre, concert hall and sizeable auditorium.
Address: 7 Edinburgh Place, Central, Hong Kong Island
Phone: 2921 2840
Commerce occasionally gives way to culture at this huge and impressive waterfront complex, which hosts a variety of concerts, exhibitions and sporting events.
Address: 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island
Phone: 2582 8888
One of the most prestigious venues for theatrical and other performances, it houses a 2,100-seat hall and the 1,750-seat Grand Theatre.
Address: Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Phone: 2734 2009
Principal focus for experimental theatre, avant‑garde, alternative performances of theatre, jazz, classical music, poetry and other events. They also sponsor workshops, classes and temporary exhibitions. This is a key venue for non-mainstream events during the annual Arts Festival.
Address: 2 Lower Albert Road, Central, Hong Kong Island
Phone: 2521 7251
The 3,500‑seat stadium is primarily for sporting events but occasionally hosts ballet, pop concerts and classical recitals.
Address: 18 Qi Kwan Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Island
Sai Kung is known locally as "Hong Kong's back garden", a playground for outdoor activities. Embracing much of the New Territories' eastern seaboard, the region is one of Hong Kong's natural settings, fringed by sandy bays and dotted with protected country parks. One of the most pleasant ways to see the coast is to rent a kaido, a small private boat, in the town of Sai Kung, where you might also eat in one of the local seafood restaurants. Or you could enjoy sea and mountain views by hiking the first section (10.6 km) of the famous MacLehose Trail in the Sai Kung Country Park, located about 15 minutes away by bus or taxi from Sai Kung.
Located at Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island, this religious symbol is the largest seated outdoor bronze Buddha in the world. Measuring 34 meters high, it can be seen from as far away as Macau on a clear day. Many people hike up the stairs to the top and there is a museum inside the statue relating to Buddhism. Visitors can also dine in the vegetarian restaurant operated by the monks in the monastery.
Ocean Park, opened in 1977, has grown into the biggest entertainment complex in Southeast Asia, and is located on the southern side of Hong Kong Island overlooking the sea. It features a Panda Habitat, an amusement park, an aquarium and an open-air theme park, attracting over three million visitors per year. Another attraction is The Middle Kingdom, a recreation of life in ancient China. A great place to visit with children!
The Hong Kong Museum of Art opened in 1989 as part of the city's superb new Cultural Center. It is arranged over five floors and divided into six separate galleries, the majority of which are devoted to Chinese art and artifacts from the past. Among the art galleries the undoubted highlight is the third floor's Historical Pictures Collection, home to more than a thousand paintings, drawings and prints devoted almost entirely to topographical scenes of Hong Kong and its immediate surroundings. Among them is the first known painting of Hong Kong, an Aberdeen waterfall scene executed by William Havell in 1816.
The Peak gives Hong Kong the most extraordinary and legendary vista of any modern city in the world. It was an upper-class residential area in colonial times, and remains a prestigious residential area. It is a must see attraction for visitors, who can ascend the Peak via the century old Park Tram. The views from the Peak Tower are spectacular, and this is also a great place to get an overview of the geography of Hong Kong and Kowloon. It’s worth making the trip twice, once in the daytime to see the harbor at its most active, and once at nighttime to see the magnificent Hong Kong skyline lit up at night. The new Peak Tower stands at 400 m above sea level and was built to withstand typhoons. Included within are various entertainment facilities, such as the Asian Madam Tussaud's Wax Museum, shops and a few cafes. Standing next to the Tower is the Peak Galleria. This is another complex filled with restaurants, bars, shops, a playground and the inevitable McDonald's. Walking half a kilometer to the west of the Tower brings you to the Old Governors Mountain Lodge and Gardens; situated 140 meters above the Tower, it is considered the actual Peak. The lodge itself is in ruins today, but the gardens are very pleasant, offering an alternative to the tower with an equally impressive view in a more peaceful setting. There are numerous paths and tracks around the Peak and this is a popular spot for jogging and hiking.
Central is the heart of Hong Kong, forming the city's financial, business and administrative core with major banks, hotels and smart shops. Central’s architecture makes up the most dramatic portion of the city’s fabled skyline.
Hong Kong Park, tucked discreetly above the city center and the imposing Bank of China building, is one of the most charming and surprising areas in the metropolitan area. It is an oasis of green amid the urban landscape, beautifully designed with modern fountains, bamboo and palm trees but also incorporating some fantastic colonial style buildings. The public park appears to be submerged in the skyline and is sheltered by the huge tower blocks and mountains shooting up into the horizon that surround the area. There is a lovely aviary, duck ponds, pottery center and the Museum of Teaware in Flagstaff House. Hong Kong Park also has over 2000 types of plants, making it a popular venue for weddings with newlyweds being photographed amongst the flora that abounds in the scenic park.
Opening hours: 10am-6pm daily.
Take the number 6 double-decker bus (or 6A, 6X or 260 from Central Bus Terminus in Exchange Square) over Tai Tam to Stanley, which can be a delightful half-day visit to the beach and market. Tin Hau Temple is located just beyond in Ma Hang Village. Stanley Market is the place to find silk garments, sportswear, art, costume jewelry, souvenirs and other bargains.
Man Mo Temple is a traditional temple situated at the corner of Hollywood Road and Ladder Street. The Temple is dedicated to two deities; the god of Literature (man), a 3rd-century BC statesman and the Military god of war (mo). This is one of the oldest temples in Hong Kong and contains two antique sedan chairs used to carry statues of the gods during festivals. The most intriguing thing about this temple are the hundreds of large incense coils that hang suspended from the ceiling. Smoke from the coils fills the temple creating a spiritual atmosphere while sending fragrant petitions to the gods. Light some to make a personal wish for health, wealth and happiness.
Opening hours: 8am-6pm daily.
Lan Kwai Fong in Central district is well known for its restaurants and nightlife catering to both locals and expats. Located to the west of the Landmark shopping complex, it centers on D'Aguilar Street and Lan Kwai Fong Lane. D'Aguilar Street was once known for its flower market that was moved here from nearby Wyndham Street, formerly called the 'Street of Flowers'. It was on Wyndham Street that Hong Kong's first English-language newspaper began publishing in 1845, earning it the nickname 'Fleet Street in Miniature'. The Foreign Correspondents' Club still occupies the early 20th-century Old Dairy Farm Building at the top of the street.
The horse racing at Happy Valley Racecourse is hugely popular during the racing season (September-June) with rich businessmen, holidaymakers, locals and hardcore gamblers caught up in the frenzy, placing their bets on the horses galloping around this famous track. It is quite an experience to be a part of this electrifying atmosphere with the punters, even if you don't take part in the betting. A racecourse was first built here in 1846; since then an additional racecourse has been built in Shatin. These are the only two places to watch the horses, one of the most popular pastimes for Hong Kong residents.
One of the city's oldest traditions, the firing of the Noon Day Gun is a blasting spectacle that has taken place since the 1840's to aid seafarers in synchronizing their clocks. It is the only colonial remnant of an early British settlement on the waterfront, opposite the Excelsior Hotel in Causeway Bay.
All three main religions of China, Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism, are practiced in this huge and colorfully decorated temple. It was built in 1973 in honor of the eponymous god, a shepherd taken by an immortal as a young boy and taught how to devise an elixir of immortality. Today he is one of Hong Kong's most popular gods and the temple is one of the city's most revered Taoist shrines. The temple itself is built to embrace the five elements of fire, earth, gold, wood and water. Fire and earth are represented in the Yue Heung Shrine, water in the temple fountain, wood in the Library Hall and gold in the Bronze Luen Pavilion. There are many fortune tellers ready to predict your future for a donation.
The Hong Kong Heritage Museum is devoted to preserving Hong Kong's history, arts and cultural heritage. The museum, located in Sha Tin, features a permanent exhibition on the New Territories, a gallery devoted to the history and performance of Cantonese opera in Hong Kong and a Children's Discovery Gallery of natural and cultural history, including toy making. The museum also aims to highlight Hong Kong's arts identity. The museum includes the T.T.Tsui Gallery of Chinese Arts, the Chao Shao-an Gallery displaying Professor Chao Shao-an's works along side other contemporary masters, and the Hong Kong Community Art Gallery, which displays work by non-professional artists such as students, the handicapped and senior citizens. All of these venues are enjoyable places to spend the day. Theme galleries display a wide variety of artistic styles including traditional Chinese wood block prints and Hong Kong comics.
This museum is converted from the 100-year-old Lei Yue Mun Fort. It features the history of coastal defense in Hong Kong from the Ming and Qing dynasties to the current day.
The Hong Kong Museum of Art is one of the city's largest museums and is the perfect place to while away a few hours. The museum houses some of the world's finest examples of ancient Chinese art from the Han to the Ming and Qing dynasties. Two special exhibition galleries showcase international works, keeping pace with global artistic trends. Another gallery showcases the famous Xubaizhai collection of Chinese painting and calligraphy donated by Mr Low Chuck-tiew.
This museum showcases Hong Kong's broad and dynamic history. Great efforts have been made in collecting, conserving, processing, studying and displaying cultural objects which are related to the archaeology, history, ethnography and natural history of Hong Kong and South China. The permanent exhibition showcases 6,000 years of Hong Kong's history and occupies an area of 7,000 square meters. Thematic exhibitions are also held from time to time.
Learning has never been so much fun! The Science Museum showcases over 500 interesting exhibits, 80 percent of which are hands-on and offer an insight into a wide range of science-related subjects. The exhibition covers many areas of science and technology, including robotics, transportation, virtual reality and more. The focus of the museum is the 20-metre-high Energy Machine which, when activated, triggers a series of displays to produce spectacular audiovisual effects demonstrating various forms of energy.
Explore the final frontier - learn all about astronomy and space technology at the Space Museum. The museum is particularly renowned for its Space Theatre, one of the largest planetariums in the world, which features both Omnimax screenings and Sky shows several times daily.
Something is always cooking in Hong Kong with Dim Sum, literally 'small heart' or 'to touch the heart’, it is one of the mainstays of Cantonese cooking and Hong Kong's most widespread regional Chinese cuisine. A form of daytime snack, it features over 2,000 different dishes, though most Hong Kong dim sum restaurants - of which the city has many hundreds - offer around 150. Dim sum is usually served from early morning to late afternoon. Lunch and Sundays are the busiest times. At your table you are brought either jasmine tea or the strong black Chinese Oolong. You usually order from a menu, but in more traditional places you can still choose from food paraded on trolleys. Food is generally served in steaming bamboo baskets and you are charged per dish. Prices are usually very reasonable.
This restaurant is a Hong Kong stalwart serving authentic Cantonese dishes and seasonal delicacies.
Address: 3/F Harbour Centre, 25 Harbour Road, Wan Chai
The views are spectacular and an international menu makes this a regular spot for local and tourists alike. The Peak Cafe has an outdoor garden to enjoy the views above the south side of the island.
Address: Victoria Peak
Phone: 2849 5111
This famous HK attraction serves delicious Chinese food in a unique setting on the water at Aberdeen Fishing Village. There is a free sampan ride after a sumptuous meal around the fishing boats in the typhoon shelter between 5:50-9:30 each evening.
Phone: 2827 8887
This colonial-style restaurant with an intimate atmosphere is a favorite among locals. You’ll enjoy the Asian fusion cuisine as well as the great view overlooking the waterfront in Stanley on the southside of Hong Kong Island.
Address: 90 Stanley Main Street
Phone: 2813 9988
Replicates the rustic feel of a French farmhouse setting. In business over 30 years with many tried and true French favorites. A good choice for a special meal.
Address: Ground Floor, 6 Carnarvon Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.
Phone: 2366 8754
A relaxed and amiable restaurant where the Malaysian and Singaporean curries and other dishes are eaten from banana leaves in the traditional manner (knife and fork are provided). Be sure to try one of the many fresh fruit juices. Several locations including:
Address: 3rd Floor, Golden Crown Court, 68 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.
Phone: 2721 482l
A good, reasonably priced chain of Chinese restaurants with a wide range of dishes that should also appeal to non-vegetarians. Most outlets have a take away or stand-up counter as well as table service. No alcohol is served.
Address: 56 Cameron Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.
Phone: 2739 2222
A hotel restaurant serving western food, with an emphasis on steaks and New England style seafood.
Address: Lower Lobby, Langham Hotel, 8 Peking Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.
Phone: 2375 1133 ext 2070
This dazzling Philippe Stack-designed French restaurant atop the Peninsula Hotel is one of the places to eat in Hong Kong if you are feeling extravagant. The views over the city at night are as impressive as the sublime food.
Address: 28th Floor, Peninsula Hotel, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.
Phone: 2366 6251 ext 3188
Located in the famous Peninsula hotel, this has been one of the city's grandest dining spots for over 40 years. Superb food (predominantly French), impeccable service and majestic decor make for a memorable meal.
Address: Peninsula Hotel, Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.
Phone: 2366 6251 ext 3171
Founded in 1972, this was one of Hong Kong's first mainstream Indian restaurants and has been a hit with visitors and expats ever since. Tandoori dishes are favorites.
Address: 1st Floor, Ashley Center, 23-25 Ashley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.
Phone: 2376 1001
The Golden Bull's two outlets offer above average Vietnamese food in stylish surroundings. Specialties are barbecued chicken in red bean curd sauce and grilled jumbo prawns in garlic butter, but the 'seven kinds of beef' and mixed meats are also tempting.
Address: 101 Ocean Center, Harbor City, 5 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.
Phone: 2730 4866
Ignore the simple decor and allow the friendly waiters to take you through some of the 400 often adventurous menu items, tried and tested over the course of 25 years. The first choice in the area for Shanghai cuisine.
Address: 26 Prat Avenue, Tsim Sha Tsui.
Phone: 2366 8158
The rarefied atmosphere, strolling players and complimentary flowers and cigars may not be to all tastes, but Hugo's is ideal for a celebrity-style dinner.
Address: 2nd Floor, Hyatt Regency Hotel, 67 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.
Phone: 2311 1234
The high prices are worth paying for what is considered some of the finest and most innovative Cantonese cuisine in Asia. Service is polished, the ambience serene and elegant with a spectacular harbor view.
Address: Grand Hyatt Hotel, 1 Harbour Road, Wan Chai.
Phone: 2588 1234
One of Hong Kong’s most popular and authentic Japanese restaurants, located in a Japanese hotel, with chefs and most ingredients coming from Japan. The emphasis is on the kansai cuisine of the Kyoto region, a cooking style which favors light sauces and the freshest possible ingredients. The restaurant's harbor-facing glass wall provides memorable city views.
Address: Hotel Nikko, 72 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui East.
Phone: 2313 4215
No one will leave hungry after a dinner of North American classics which include steaks, salmon and clam chowder. The steaks are grilled to perfection, seared on the outside but juicy and tender on the inside.
Address: 2/F of Sheraton Hotel, 20 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.
Phone: 2369 1111
Stanley Market is the place to find name brand bargains including silk garments, sportswear, and art, along with costume jewelry, tourist souvenirs and the like.
Shopping in Hong Kong's bustling street markets can be great fun but it is hit-or-miss. There are markets which specialize (like the Flower Market, Bird Market, Goldfish Market, Ladies Market) and those that sell most everything (Temple Street Night Market, Li Yuen Streets East and West in Central, Jardine’s Bazaar in Causeway Bay). Be sure to bargain! Another fascinating market is the Wan Chai wet market selling fresh foods and miscellaneous items, located between Johnston Road and Queen’s Road East.
Hong Kong is a major exporter of computers and electronics, so there are many specialists to assist the shopper. There are specialty centers at Star House in Tsim Sha Tsui, Windsor House in Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, Mong Kok and Sham Shui Po.
Hong Kong is a good place to buy high quality jewelry at reasonable prices. The duty free status enables dealers to offer jade, gold, diamonds and pearls in unusual settings by highly-skilled local craftsmen. Be sure to select a qualified gemologist, such as D'Alejo, 9B On Hing Bldg, No 1 On Hing Terrace in Central (phone 2521 2238).
Be sure to bring your eyeglasses prescription because eyewear is inexpensive, and you can have a new pair of glasses in a few hours. Make sure the optical shop is a member of the HKTB Quality Tourism Services (QTS) scheme, such as Jackson Optical in the Tung Ying Building at 100 Nathan Road (phone 2366 6590).
There are thousands of tailors who can produce tailored suits and fashionable dresses for a reasonable price. You’ll need a few days and it will require 2-3 fittings. Make sure the tailor is a member of the HKTB Quality Tourism Services (QTS) scheme, such as Tony the Tailor at Fu Shing in the Fleet Arcade at Fenwick Pier, Lung King Street in Wan Chai (phone 2511 2312).
Very chic and exclusive, one of the city's top shopping centers, boasting most of the major designers. There are also plenty of trendy cafes, of which the Trattoria is the most popular.
Address: Des Voeux Road and Pedder Street, Central, Hong Kong Island
The most convenient and up-market of Kowloon's shopping complexes, on the waterfront just east of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, next to the Star Ferry. It has a huge range of shops over four floors: particularly good for jade, silk, rosewood and lacquer furniture.
Address: 20 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon.
This massive mall, one of Asia's biggest complexes, stretches along Canton Road and contains virtually all the major names in world retailing, as well as a group of hotels and restaurants. Accessed on the left immediately after you disembark from the Star Ferry in Kowloon, it also acts as a cruise ship terminal. Address: Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon.
Hong Kong's best shopping complex, and the one to visit if you visit no other. Boasts hotels, dozens of cafes and restaurants and several mini-malls filled with all the designers and top quality stores you could hope for, such as Marks & Spencer and Seibu.
Address: 88 Queensway, Central, Hong Kong Island.
Located opposite the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in the heart of Central, you’ll find basics and exciting designer shops in a setting more intimate than the sprawling nearby Landmark complex.
Address: Chater Road and Des Voeux Road, Central, Hong Kong Island.
This mall doubles as an entrance to the Macau Ferry Terminal, making it a useful standby if the shopping bug hits you while waiting for a ferry or exploring the area west of Central. It contains most of the major Hong Kong chains.
Address: 200 Connaught Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island.
This mall to end all malls is a modern development with 12 floors filled with most of the top names in retailing. Each level is devoted to a particular type of store, making it easier to navigate than some malls. The prestigious Lane Crawford store has an outlet as well as many as the famous designers.
Address: 1 Matheson Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island
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Hong Kong is a metropolitan city with a well-established public transportation system. Visitors staying a few days may find it convenient to purchase an "Octopus" card which is available from most stations and allows travel on most public transport, such as KCR/MTR trains and buses.
Since the official opening of the Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok on July 6, 1998, visitors have been impressed with the large and modern airport. The airport, including the Tsing Ma Bridge, is the world’s largest civil engineering project valued at nearly US $20 billion.
The KCR provides through-train service between Hong Kong and major Mainland Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. Travelers on these trains clear immigration and customs (open 6:30am – 11:30pm daily) at the Hong Kong terminus in the Hung Hom KCR Station. It also serves the KCR East Rail with service to the border at Lo Wu. Those wishing to visit Shenzhen will disembark in Lo Wu, pass through immigration, then walk across the border to Shenzhen.
The terminal is the transit point for public ferry services to different cities on the Chinese Mainland, mainly southern China.
1) Estimated taxi fare Central / Wanchai: HK $96, Western: HK $115, CausewayBay: HK$82, Tsimshatsui:$22, Mongkok/Yaumatei:HK$72, Sha Tin: HK$102
2) Bus route and fare K15 is a free shuttle to Mong Kok KCRC 215X to MTR Kowloon Station is HK $6.2 110 to Jordan Road Ferry is HK $5.4 973 to Stanley is HK $13