One of the world’s most densely populated metropolises with a little over 7 million residents, Hong Kong is a bustling city worth adding to your southeast Asia travel list. In fact, Hong Kong’s influence and number of tourists per annum rivals that of mega cities like New York and London. Colonized by the British, visitors to Hong Kong will sense its fascinating East-meets-West feel. Due to its limited area of development, the city has become an example of the modern day mega city with several high-rises across the city (the most high-rises in the world) and a highly developed public transportation network. Visit Hong Kong expecting a fun, fast-paced environment and first class amenities. Here's what to include in your Hong Kong itinerary.
Things to Do in Hong Kong
Hong Kong offers a ton of exciting activities to its visitors. Here are a few of the best places to visit:
• Man Mo Temple: This is one of Hong Kong’s oldest temples and is dedicated to the gods of literature.
• Victoria Peak: Not only is this the most exclusive neighborhood in Hong Kong but it also provides the best views of the city as well. Marvel at the city’s iconic colorful skyscrapers from this popular tourist destination.
• Tian Tan Buddha (aka Big Buddha): Located on Lantau Island, this impressive Buddha monument sits on a hill and you have to climb 260 steps for a closer look at it. A good time to visit the Tian Tan Buddha is during April/May when thousands make the pilgrimage for the Buddha’s birthday.
• Hong Kong Museum of History: The Hong Kong museum takes you through the history of this iconic city and its artwork and artifacts.
Where to Stay in Hong Kong
Like any metropolis, Hong Kong has various interesting neighborhoods that you should be sure to visit.
• Central District: this is the most historical part of the city as this is where the port is located. Today, it is the home of the city’s banking and business operations. Here you will find some of the city’s most innovative architecture because of its steel high-rises.
• Lan Kwai Fong: this is the city’s premier nightlife and entertainment district. This is where the city’s 20 and 30 year olds hang out and party.
• Victoria Peak: this part of town has long been the city’s most exclusive neighborhood and used to be the domain of the British and Europeans. On the Peak you can visit shops, restaurants, and take a glimpse at the multimillion-dollar mansions.
• SoHo: this is the fine dining hub of the city, which is where most folks go to enjoy intimate dinners.
• Western District: this is the traditional commercial center for Chinese businesses. Spreading over a large area, you can find shops selling traditional herbs and medicines here.
• Sheung Wan: this neighborhood is famous for Hollywood Road and its many antique shops.
• Wan Chai: this neighborhood is famous for the Hong Kong Arts Center, the Academy for Performing Arts, and the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.
• Causeway Bay: this is a busy neighborhood for locals as it has a plethora of department stores, street markets, restaurants, and Victoria Park.
• Happy Valley: this neighborhood is famous for its racetrack which was built in 1846 – the oldest racetrack in Asia outside of China.
• Aberdeen: located on the south of Hong Kong Island, Aberdeen is known for its boat people and fishermen as well as the city’s maritime museum and trendy seafood restaurants.
• Stanley: once a fishing village, this neighborhood is now a lively center for its market selling.
Where to stay in the Kowloon Peninsula
• Tsim Sha Tsui: this neighborhood is one of Hong Kong’s most important areas for tourism since it has the greatest concentration of hotels, restaurants, and shops.
• Tsim Sha Tsui East: this neighborhood is home to luxury hotels and shopping and eating complexes.
• Mong Kok: this extremely busy neighborhood is both residential and industrial. Famously crowded, it's worth a visit!
Hong Kong Transit
Hong Kong’s public transportation is highly developed and over 90% of its daily travels are on public transport (the MTR). This is actually the highest percentage in the world. The MTR consists of ten rail lines that go really anywhere you need to be in the city. The city also has a phenomenal network of taxis, buses, ferries, and is also very walkable making having a car unnecessary.
This article was written by Walter Godinez. Image credit: Chan Young Lee.