Hong Kong city sights

The sparkling new airport at Chek Lap Kok on Lantau Island stretches out on reclaimed land — all the better to serve the proposed Hong Kong Disneyland set to rise at nearby Penny’s Bay by 2005. But Hong Kong has more to offer than any adventure park. A mixture of old and new, science and superstition, east and west — the city boasts both an endlessly interesting and unique culture.

With comprehensive and inexpensive public transportation that extends into the New Territories, it’s remarkably easy to get around. Tourists can feel safe heading off to sightsee or to shop at the many inexpensive markets or relatively reasonable upscale shops. Ride a double-decker bus to check out the bargains at Stanley Market and along the way you’ll see everyday life on Hong Kong Island – uniformed school children playing soccer, bamboo-scaffolded apartment buildings growing towards the sky. The scenery can be breathtaking as the bus winds through the island’s hills – and you’ll be grateful for the bus driver’s skill.

^Spend a morning at the Yuen Po St. bird market in Kowloon, where men congregate to compare their feathered friends. If it sings well, a bird may be offered a gsshopper or grub bought at one of the stalls. Not far away, you can admire beautiful fish at the goldfish market and walk to the flower market for a look at a dazzling array of blooms.

On the way to Victoria Peak for a look at the city’s most famous view, stop at the police museum, which spotlights the history of the Royal Hong Kong Police Force. For those with a crime bent, the Triad Societies and the Narcotics galleries are particularly arresting.

For dinner, take the world’s longest escalator (800 metres) up to the Soho district where there’s a restaurant for almost any national cuisine you crave. Gamblers, though, may prefer a night of horse racing at the historic Happy Valley racetrack, where it’s possible to both dine and play the ponies.