Hong Kong, a city of charm and natural beauty, is a top tourist destination in Asia for a number of reasons. Hong Kong is an autonomous area on the southern coast of China, with over 7.2 million residents of different nationalities. It’s truly a global territory, and perhaps one of the most densely populated areas in the world. As with many international cities, cultural diversity, sophistication and spectacular attractions are a given. Pair that with the city’s natural parklands and traditional architecture, and you have a city that’s just waiting to be explored.
Hong Kong literally means “Fragrant Harbour” or “Incense Harbour,” in reference to its location along the South China Sea. As such, one of the most famous attractions of Hong Kong is The Peak, where you can soak in the views of the metropolitan skyline or the infamous Victoria Harbour. The Peak will not only give you the highest vantage point in Hong Kong, but will also give you the chance to explore one of the most exclusive neighborhoods since colonial times. There’s the Po Lin Monastery, home of the world’s largest Giant Buddha. The Stanley Market and Murray House, which offers fresh seafood and bargain buys, is where you might get a literal taste of the city. For more delicious eats, try Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter, where visitors can take sampan rides and dine on one of the floating restaurants. After dinner, don’t forget to check out “A Symphony of Lights,” a light and sound show that was recognized as the largest show of its kind by Guinness World Records. It’s held every evening at 8 by Victoria Harbour.
If you have an entire day at your disposal, why not visit the first Disney-themed resort in China? Hong Kong’s Disneyland Resort is located at Penny’s Bay, Lantau Island and incorporates a bit of local flair with classic Disney. You can also take a 40-minute ferry ride to Cheung Chau, to get a brief respite from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong. Cheung Chau is known for it’s open-air seafood restaurants, ancient temples and colorful harbor. Here, you’ll find the Mini Great Wall, Cheung Po Tsai Cave and Kwun Yam Wan Beach. There’s also the “back garden of Hong Kong,” a place called Sai Kung that’s just a stone’s throw from the city. It’s a lush oasis with four pristine beaches and rugged mountain peaks. If you can make the trek, you’ll hardly ever find Sai Kung overrun with beachgoers.
Another kind of getaway is to Tai Mei Tuk, a picturesque village with all sorts of old-school ways to appreciate the scenery. Its name means, “the very end,” which you might find fitting for a place nestled between Tolo Harbour and a vast ridge of mountains.
Five star accommodations in Hong Kong are incredibly pricey, ranging hundreds of dollars per night. But there is an amazing variety of alternative places to stay, such as guesthouses, hostels and boutique hotels. If you’re looking for luxury atop luxury, Hong Kong’s hotels offer historic and world-famous venues that you’ll find mostly on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon. Guesthouses also provide safe and comfortable accommodations for those on a budget. Make sure to look into licensed guesthouses, which are registered under the Home Affairs Department. Hostels are another option for travellers, who can find a room through the Hong Kong Youth Hostels Association. Most of these accommodations are located in the New Territories, near the scenic areas and hiking trails.
The airport express is the fastest way to get from the airport into the city. Once you’re in the city, you might look to the MTR, buses, ferries, trams and taxis for transportation. The MTR is Hong Kong’s subway system, which has routes to all the major districts in the territory, as well as stops at the border to Mainland China. Adult Tourist Day Passes are $65. Buses will also get you around town, to the airport, into Kowloon and the New Territories. Final destinations are displayed in both English and Chinese on the front of each bus, and fares are based on distance travelled. Standard ferries and fast ferries connect Hong Kong with Kowloon and the Outlying Islands. Find out how to get to specific destinations such as Cheung Chau or Lantau Island by visiting the ferry companies’ websites. If you plan on getting somewhere by taxi, know that there are differences between the reds, greens and blues. Red taxis usually run through most of Hong Kong, except for Tung Chung Road and the south side of Lantau Island. Green taxis only operate throughout the New Territories. Blue Taxis service Lantau Island. Fares are constant for the first 2 kilometers and increase every subsequent 200 meters.
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