Best of Hong Kong: There’s Something for Everyone in Asia’s World City
Eurasian author Han Suyin once described Hong Kong as a “beautiful island of many worlds in the arms of the sea.” It was, she said, part “squatter’s colony, fun fair, bazaar and boom town.”
That was back in 1949. And yet the exotic city in the South China Sea retains its frenetic allure. Whether you’re a culture vulture, a foodie a style maven, an outdoor enthusiast or a kid, Hong Kong has something for everyone.
For culture vultures. Hong Kong is a study in contrasts, with vestiges of Chinese clan heritage and colonial British history existing side by side.
Visitors shouldn’t miss riding the Star Ferry across bustling Victoria Harbour – a journey passengers have been making since 1888. Ditto for a visit to Victoria Peak by tram; its lofty mansions have made this the city’s most exclusive neighbourhood since colonial times.
But neither should you fail to take in one the city’s colourful festivals or fascinating temples, filled with fortune-seekers and wreathed with smoke from incense coils that hang from the ceiling.
For nature lovers. With a skyline to rival New York’s you can be forgiven for believing Hong Kong isn’t exactly a nature lover’s paradise. But you’d be wrong. A good 40 percent of the region’s undeveloped land is protected for conservation and recreation, and you’ll find 300 kms of hiking trails that offer spectacular views of the bustling harbour, lush green hillsides, hidden sandy coves and the towering metropolis.
For foodies. Gourmand and TV star Anthony Bourdain once described Hong Kong as “a great place to experience China in a relatively accessible way.” While it draws much of its culinary heritage from China, you’ll find an obvious influence from the British as well – after all, they controlled the region until 1997.
Pass a snaking lineup on the street and it’s likely to be a gaggle of eager diners vying for a seat in one of the city’s astounding number of eateries. The 2017 Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau featured 80 starred local establishments. And you don’t have to break the bank. You’ll also get great eats for a few dollars at modest little restaurants where you’re likely to find yourself crammed around a table with a few equally food-obsessed strangers.
For style mavens. From gleaming malls and designer shops to quirky boutiques and bustling markets, Hong Kong provides a vibrant shopping experience for every taste. And don’t just expect to bag deals on designer labels, the new and hip is much in evidence. So much so that American actress Camilla Belle once commented “Hong Kong girls have a genius sense of style. I came back to the States thinking no one here has any individuality. Or cute enough socks.”
For kids. Apart from exploring the sights and sounds of the city, Hong Kong is jammed with things to do with children. A voyage on a traditional Chinese junk offers a unique view of the harbour and the city’s many parks offer a leafy respite from the city.
If that’s not enough, Hong Kong‘s Ocean Park theme park was named one of the 50 the most visited tourist attraction in the world by Forbes, with 80 rides and attractions including a giant panda exhibit and the largest aquarium dome in the world.
And Hong Kong Disneyland offers attractions you won’t find anywhere else, including a new themed area based on Marvel comic character Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) that allows kids (both large and small) to fight off alien invaders in Hong Kong‘s streets and skies.