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Destination Guide: Hong Kong

In Destination Guide on 2011/04/19 at 2:08 pm

Hong Kong, with its blend of East and West, of Chinese roots and British 150 years of colonial heritage, of ultramodern sophistication and ancient traditions, is one of the most diverse and exciting cities in the world. From the dishes you love to something you’ve never tried. Take a stroll into the green and serene Hong Kong hills. Buy souvenirs and antiquities from street markets or glamorous malls. Leisure and luxury make sightseeing easy with our organised sightseeing.


In survey after survey, Hong Kong’s hotels frequently top the list of the world’s best accommodation. Whether you’re treated to hand-made chocolates in your room or greeted by a doorman in impeccable white gloves and pillbox hat, the city’s deluxe hotels offer a style and service that is second-to-none. Relax in comfort. Easy to get to and comfortable to stay in, from deluxe to moderately priced, Hong Kong’s hotels offer service with a smile. Even smaller establishments take pride in their ‘family-style’ way. English-speaking front-line hotel staff are full of useful information. And Hong Kong hotels offer a vast array of cuisine’s – from homey hamburgers and pizzas to some of the world’s finest fare.

Compact and cosmopolitan, most Hong Kong hotels are located within easy reach of major attractions and transportation. Shuttle buses can whisk you from airport to hotel in air-conditioned comfort, and the Mass Transit Railway (MTR), linking the city with conveniently located stations, has easy-to- follow English language instruction. Ride the rails on the vintage working tram way system that has run from one end of Hong Kong to the other since 1904. A superb network of air-conditioned buses can take you to all corners of the Territories, and regular ferries run between all major islands.


Travel in style on transportation from another era. The Star Ferry (which celebrated its 100th birthday in 1998); the Street Tram (inaugurated in 1904); and the Peak Tram (the oldest form of mechanised transport in Hong Kong, at 110 years) are still used widely by locals and tourists alike. Easily accessible, Victoria Peak, via the Peak Tram, is the most popular attraction in Hong Kong. Stanley Market, on the south side of Hong Kong Island, is another favourite with visitors for its lively street market atmosphere and scenic setting. For long-staying visitors, an “Octopus” stored-value card will be useful. It allows you to travel on the MTR, KCR, Light Rail, some outlying ferry services, cross-harbour and city buses, and the Airport Express. Like most major cities, though, it’s best to avoid rush hours (8am-10am and 5pm-7pm) if possible.

Chinese Extravaganza

The capital of Chinese cuisine, lovers of authentic Oriental cooking need look no further. Cantonese, the local style, is known for its fresh flavours and quick frying. Steamed fish and barbecued meats are also popular dishes. From China’s provinces the tastes are rich and varied. You can have the most succulent Peking duck served with spring onion and plum sauce on a wafer-thin pancake, or wake your taste buds with some spicy Szechuanese or Hunanese fare.

Familiar Flavours
The City that lives to eat, Hong Kong boasts nearly 8,700 restaurants. Food to tempt your taste buds is never far from hand. From American-style steaks and burgers to authentic Italian fare, SoHo (the area ‘South of Hollywood Road’) and Knutsford Terrace (in Tsim Sha Tsui) has a cluster of cosy yet cosmopolitan restaurants. Lan Kwai Fong, the trendy nightlife area known for its excellent restaurants and bars in Central district, caters for tastes ranging from Californian to Vietnamese. Simply bring your appetite and feast away. is a Hong Kong people’s online directory for eating places and it is frequently visited by lots of locals for restaurant reviews and coupons.

Tea Time


An enduring tradition from the colonial era is the charming custom of afternoon tea. At the city’s most prestigious hotels on both sides of the harbour, visitors can take high tea, a tradition steeped in both British and Chinese cultures. Enjoy a pot of fine English tea accompanied by delicacies such as cucumber sandwiches, Windsor cake and home-made scones (with Devonshire cream and jam). Tea sets withlocal flavors can be found in most cha chang tang(they are everywhere, ask any local on the street, they’ll point you to one), while traditional English tea set can be tasted in Peninsular Hotel located on the Kowloon side in Tsim Sha Tsui.

For seafood, Hong Kong’s Outlying Islands are a pleasant surprise for most visitors. With relaxed island atmosphere, quiet village ambience, lush greenery and excellent restaurants, of the 260 Outlying Islands, about a half-dozen have ferry service and are accessible to visitors. The main islands are Lantau, Lamma, Cheung Chau and Peng Chau. With a giant bronze Buddha, craggy mountains, quaint villages and seafood restaurants galore, it’s well worth the effort to visit these charming rural retreats. Dim sum (or light snacks) is the quintessential Hong Kong dining experience. During breakfast and lunchtime, restaurants and teahouses offer such tasty snacks as har gau (shrimp dumplings) and shiu mai (minced pork and shrimp in flour casing).

Super Shopping
Second only to dining, Hong Kong’s favourite pasttime is shopping. The City of Life has an unrivalled diversity of shopping destinations – from glitzy malls to lively market stalls.

High style
For international names at bargain prices, head to the many factory outlets and wholesale warehouses. These outlets buy fashion from factories where international brands are made and sell them at bargain prices. Places to look, with European and North American sizing and designs, are Central’s Pedder Building and Li Yuen Streets East and West. Also on Hong Kong Island, there’s Ap Lei Chau. In Kowloon, head for Hung Hom, or Granville Road and Fa Yuen Street for their casual fashions.

Market Magic
When market shopping, prepare to haggle! Visit the Ladies’ Market in Mong Kok for inexpensive style, or Yau Ma Tei’s Temple Street Night Market for anything from goldfish to electronics. Stanley Market on the south side of Hong Kong Island is famous for its Chinese souvenirs. As well as souvenir markets, visitors can enjoy markets dedicated to birds and flowers. Market shopping – it’s all part of the Hong Kong experience.

Stroll through historic streets in search of curios and antiques. Cat Street’s kitsch memorabilia, the fine imported carpets of Wyndham Street, or Hollywood Road’s Chinese and Asian handicrafts and antiques – the choice is endless. Hong Kong may be modern and sophisticated, but its heart is Chinese. For silks, embroidered table linens, ornaments, trinkets, calligraphy, paintings, jewellery boxes, vases, beautiful carvings, Chinese Arts & Crafts (HK) and the Yue Hwa Chinese Products Emporium are department stores dedicated to handicrafts.

 Temples, Festivals and Museums

Hong Kong is a city filled with temples. At seaside dwellings you’ll find Tin Hau temples dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea, protectress of fishermen. Two of the city’s most famous are the Man Mo Temple in Western, and the Wong Tai Sin Temple with a large arcade of fortune-tellers (some of whom speak English).

Experience the excitement and wonder of a traditional Chinese festival. Combining ancient religious and festive customs, these colourful, energetic events are celebrated most months in various locations throughout the territory.

Nearly two dozen museums act as chroniclers of Hong Kong’s history, culture and lifestyle. Among the most interesting is the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware. Most museums are free on Wednesdays and several offer 50 per cent discounts on admission fees for seniors aged 60 years and over.

Country Parks

While most people envision Hong Kong as a compact cosmopolitan city of skyscrapers, few realise that the city has a green side. Surprisingly, 40 per cent of its 1,100 square kilometres is protected in country parks. Green oases, Victoria Park in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Park and the Hong Kong Zoological & Botanical Gardens in Central, and Kowloon Park in Tsim Sha Tsui, act as Hong Kong’s ‘green lungs’ and provide a peaceful respite to the bustling, community beyond.

Recommended ‘green’ walks on Hong Kong Island, include Bowen Road – a flat, 2.5-kilometre paved road that is perfect for a relaxing urban walk or convenient jog. On The Peak, There is a leisurely 3.5-kilometre stroll with fantastic views. The walk takes about an hour to complete. Other suggested walks include Cheung Chau Island, Lantau Island and the beautiful Sai Kung peninsula. You can take as much or as little time as you like and buses are always available if you become tired.

Hospital and Hygiene

Most hotels have a medical clinic, with registered nurses. Qualified doctors are on duty at specified hours, and on call 24-hours-a-day for emergency treatment. There are also many government and private hospitals with 24-hour emergency and out-patient departments. Hong Kong’s medical facilities are among the finest in the world, and many of the territory’s registered doctors and dentists were trained or have undergone postgraduate training overseas. Pharmacists, too, are registered; their dispensing hours are usually 9am to 6pm or 8pm. All hotels have lists of recommended medical services; or alternatively, contact your consulate for assistance.

The government-run water supply more than satisfies United Nations World Health Organization standards. Care is necessary only in some rural and island areas where water is still drawn from wells. Bottled water is widely available in hotels, restaurants and convenience stores.


Hong Kong is generally considered a very safe city both at night and during the day. As everywhere, however, protect yourself from pickpockets and carry as little cash and as few valuables as possible; travellers’ cheques and credit cards are widely accepted. The Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) has stations and reporting centres throughout the territory. The staff at the HKPF reporting centre in Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon and in Central on Hong Kong Island – at the Star Ferry Concourse, for example – are accustomed to helping visitors.

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