The Best Things To Do In Hong Kong
Contrasts can be beautiful, especially when they complement each other harmoniously like this city whose skyline is dotted with towering skyscrapers and historic monuments and whose harbor welcomes traditional vessels as well as modern cruise ships. Surrounded almost entirely by the South China Sea, Hong Kong is bordered by the city of Shenzhen to its north while Macau, its closest rival sits opposite it on the Pearl River Delta. The city which boasts the largest number of skyscrapers in the world is also a historical, cultural and entertainment center all rolled into one and is a veritable treasure trove when it comes to sightseeing.
If you love great food, harbor cruises and a neon-lit nightlife, you will find yourself spoilt for choice in this city whose fabric seamlessly melds eastern and western influences together. Shenzhen, Hong Kong’s northern neighbor is a thriving tourist center in its own right with an impressive stretch of coastline, fun filled beaches, leisurely seaside resorts and easy access to Hong Kong. Visitors to the city who also intend to treat themselves to a trip to its southern neighbor will be able to take the ferry from the airport’s Fuyong Port or HKIA SkyPier for a journey lasting 40 minutes. They also have the option of boarding the train from Shenda Station to Luohu Station which is the entry point into Hong Kong, and then travelling to East Tsim Sha Tsui Station which should take about 45 minutes.
Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor is the city’s pride and joy and can be viewed in all its glory from Peak Tower, the leisure and shopping center located on the city’s highest mountain, Victoria Peak. Harbor cruises and trips on junks – traditional Chinese ships – are also an amazing option for viewing the stunning skyline at any time of the day. They also provide a great opportunity for admiring the delightful display known as the Symphony of Lights from the harbor which is a truly enchanting experience. Fans of marine wildlife will be thrilled with the opportunity to visit Sha Chau and Lung Kwu Chau Marine Park where pink dolphins which are the star attraction, lead a pampered lifestyle. If you happen to be visiting between June and October, the Sai Kung Coastal Treasures tour is a great option for viewing historic monuments, spectacular coastlines and sampling fresh seafood at Sai Kung Market Town.
HERE ARE OUR PICKS FOR THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN HONG KONG…
Visit Lantau Island – the largest of Hong Kong’s islands – and experience a truly eclectic mix of attractions. Take the cable car (Ngong Ping 360) to the Po Lin monastery and absorb the history and the charm, and the magnificence of the world’s largest seated bronze Giant Buddha. Tour the fishing villages and hike through the trails, and if that’s not enough, of course, there is also Hong Kong Disneyland! There is just so much to do on Lantau Island!
Big Buddha (Tian Tan Buddha)
A visit to Lantau Island just must include a trip to admire the amazing Big Buddha (Tian Tan Buddha). The fun starts with the journey there – take the Ngong Ping 360 cable car and then climb the 268 steps to the base of the statue. After taking in the majesty of the statue, stay and absorb the beautiful panoramic views of the mountains and South China Sea, then wander down and sample the vegetarian delights at the monastery’s restaurant!
The hustle and bustle of Victoria Harbour just never stops, so to get your bearings, why not take the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island, or vice versa. The green and cream ferries have been a part of the city’s life since 1888, and until the tunnel was built, they were the only way to cross the harbour. The harbour takes on a different persona between day and night, so why not book a dinner cruise and relax as you take in the lights!
Hong Kong Island
The action just never stops on Hong Kong Island. The shopping is “to die for”, the food is amazing, and the sights are just awesome – enjoy it all! If time permits, try to venture away from the bright lights for a little while, and take in the coves and harbours that are an integral part of the coastline. Oh, and don’t miss having a flutter on the horses at the Happy Valley Racecourse!
Victoria Peak (Tai Ping Shan)
It’s hard to put into words the unbelievable views that await you atop of Victoria Peak – a magnificent Hong Kong viewpoint, standing at a height of 552 metres! Suffice to say, the 360 degree panorama of the harbour, and high-rise buildings that dominate the city, will live on in your memory forever. The Peak Tower can however be quite touristy, so be sure to take a break and a walk through the Victoria Peak Gardens while you are there.
Po Lin Monastery
In 1906, three Buddhist monks from China established the Po Lin (Precious Lotus) Monastery, and for many years it went largely unnoticed. This all changed in 1993, and a visit to see the world’s largest seated bronze Buddha statue is a must! The fun starts on the trip, as you take the cable car to the monastery and then walk 268 steps to the base of the statue! Admire the beauty of this monument, and take in the magnificent views of the mountains and South China Sea.
Ngong Ping 360
Lantau Island has become a very popular place to visit while in Hong Kong, and the Ngong Ping 360 cable car ride has become an essential way to get there. Board the cable car at the Tung Chung Metro, and take in the views as you travel on a 25-minute, 3.5-mile ride to the peak of Ngong Ping. Take in the magnificent views of the surrounding mountains and South China Sea, visit the Tian Tan Buddha, and enjoy a meal at the Monastery before you return home.
The TramOramic is the perfect way to introduce yourself to Hong Kong and get your bearings. Sit back and relax while this one-hour tour on a 1920’s style tram meanders through the bustling streets, with audio commentary that takes you through the history and culture of the city, and tells the magnificent stories of its past. You’ll pass landmarks such as Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Disneyland and the Clock Tower – it’s a great way to plan your itinerary for Hong Kong!
On the mainland – facing Hong Kong Island – lies the district of Kowloon. Head to the “Golden Mile” on Nathan Street and take in the shops, bars, and restaurants, or wander through the markets on Temple Street and Tung Choi Street. Kowloon is the main residential area of Hong Kong, so go exploring and discover some of the favourite restaurants and bars of the locals, people-watch, or just soak up the hustle and bustle that never seems to stop.
You can’t visit Hong Kong without taking a trip on the Peak Tram – it’s iconic! Over four million people take this “pilgrimage” each year, as the tram climbs the steep ascent of Victoria Peak. Since 1888, the tram has been an integral part of the Hong Kong experience, and will no doubt continue to trundle up and down the mountain forever!
Symphony of Lights
Each night, at 8:00pm, the Symphony of Lights turns the skyline of Hong Kong into a kaleidoscope of colour. Find a good vantage point (Harbour Cruises are ideal) and watch over 40 skyscrapers – on both sides of Victoria Harbour – turn on a choreographed show from their rooftops, featuring laser beams, searchlights, music and narration. Make a night of it – you’ll remember this show forever!
Hong Kong Park
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the skyscrapers and shops, and relax for a while in beautiful Hong Kong Park – located in the heart of the city. Here, instead of traffic, you will and see flowing streams, waterfalls, and ponds. Meander over to the Edward Youde Aviary and watch the flamingos, parrots and many other bird species at play. It’s the perfect way to relax in a city that never stops.
Star Ferry Pier
On the edge of Hong Kong Island, you will find the iconic Star Ferry Pier. As you wander through it, admire its Edwardian architecture, and then take a trip on the water – it’s a cheap and fun way to tour Victoria Harbour. If you’re hungry, there is a great waterfront restaurant and viewing platform – settle in and people-watch as you enjoy a leisurely meal and a great view.
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