What to see in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Some of the beauty is natural with much of the city composed of a series of mountainous islands dropped into the sparkling reflection of the South China Sea.

Getting there
Cathay Pacific offers 14 flights weekly non-stop from Vancouver and daily direct from Toronto to Hong Kong. One of the best deals in the air these days is Cathay Pacific’s All-Asia Pass for travel from Toronto or Vancouver to Hong Kong and 21 consecutive days to any or all of 17 qualifying cities in Asia for one low price of $1,499. Optional add-ons are available for business-class upgrades as well as connecting flights to other cities not included in the pass. This special price is offered until Dec. 1, 2004.

Worth knowing

· For a Canadian dollar, you get about 5.9 Hong Kong dollars.
· The official languages are English and Chinese, Cantonese being the most common dialect.
· Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world with more than seven million people living in an area of aut 990 square kilometres.
· Until 1997, it was a British colony so traffic drives on the left.

Where to stay
The Marco Polo Gateway is one of many hotels in Kowloon right by the waterfront overlooking Victoria Harbour. A short walk to the bus terminal, Star Ferry and the MTR subway station and five kilometres to the airport express station make it a convenient location for visitors.

A Winter Saver Package includes a deluxe room, breakfast, private check-in/checkout and internet access for $1,150 HK a night, $1,350 HK for a double. For other special prices, visit www.marcopolohotels.com/gateway/location.html

Where and what to eat

· Hong Kong’s restaurants specialize in Cantonese, Szechuan, Chiu Chow, Pekingese and Shanghainese foods. Try them all if possible.
· An interesting delicacy: shark’s fin soup.
· Yung Kee at 32-40 Wellington St. — famous for its roast goose and  culinary awards for pork and prawns in 2001 and 2002.
· Dim sum at Golden Bauhinia Restaurant.
· Crab at Tsui Hang Village Restaurant in the Miramar Shopping Centre.


· Take a tour: There’s too much to see and do on your own, so it helps to take a general tour and then decide what to revisit.
· Victoria Peak presents a spectacular view on a clear day but it’s a must-see at night especially because it’s considered one of the most spectacular night scenes in the world.
· High tea and people-watching in the lobby of the legendary Peninsula Hotel on Salisbury Road.
· A tai chi class with Pandora Wu on the Waterfront Promenade behind the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.
· A boat cruise on the famous Victoria Harbour at sunset.
· Hong Kong Museum of Art.
· Hong Kong Museum of History.
· Cocktails at one of the trendy bars in Soho.

Worth the splurge

· Breakfast at the Intercontinental Hotel on Salisbury Road in Kowloon. The view in the morning across Victoria Harbour is spectacular.
· Lunch, especially from the dim sum menu at the Spring Moon restaurant in the Peninsula Hotel, Salisbury Road.

Where to browse for bargains and fun

· Ladies Market.
· Bird Garden.
· Stanley Market.
· Temple Street Market at night for colour and lively activity.
· Antiques along Hollywood Road, in particular Dragon Culture at 231.

What to buy
Don’t leave Hong Kong without a tailor-made suit. Make sure it’s a reputable shop such as Sam’s Tailor Shop in the Burlington Arcade, 92-94 Nathan Rd. Tailor to well-known personalities such as Richard Gere, Michael Jackson and Bill Clinton, Sam’s prices are reasonable — he’ll even send a tailor to your hotel for a second or third fitting, then deliver the suit ready for the trip home. Check out www.samstailor.com.

Give it a pass
Avoid purchasing electronic items, even if you can’t get them in Canada. They may require warranty service back in Hong Kong.