Hong Kong – Where East Meets West

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1 Hong Kong

Hong Kong, enclosed by South China Sea and Pearl River Delta, is known for its deep natural harbor and expansive skyline. Hong Kong consists of Kowloon Peninsula, Hong Kong Island, New Territories and an archipelago of more than 200 islands. Lantau is the largest of the group of islands.

Hong Kong boasts a beautiful skyline, regarded as the best in the world, and Victoria Harbor with surrounding mountains complementing the city. Hong Kong is often referred to as the Oriental Pearl as it is famous for transporting significant volume of exports to the rest of the world. However, Hong Kong is much more than a harbor city.

The city is home to around 1,220 skyscrapers, and more people work or live above the fourteenth floor here than anywhere else in the world. The International Commerce Center stands 484 meters tall and is also the third tallest building in the world. Central Plaza, a 78-storey skyscraper, is a well-known landmark with its pyramid-shaped tower and anemometer on the top floor.

For the best views of the harbor, you can get on the famous outdoor escalator through Soho District to Mid-Levels and visit The Peak, which is the highest point on the island. The Peak is a short walk from the Peak Tram. Not only will you enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the harbor from here, but also view some of the most expensive houses where business tycoons and foreign diplomats compete.

Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International Airport

The extremely busy Hong Kong International Airport is situated on the island of Chek Lap Kok and is home to one of the largest passenger terminal buildings in the world. The airport with its 65,000 employees is an important gateway for China and for the rest of Asia. HKIA handles around 60 million passengers each year and operate flights from more than 180 cities worldwide.

Street markets in Hong Kong are an experience not to be missed. One of the popular street markets is the Temple Street Night Market located in the areas of Jordan and Yau Ma Tei. There are lots of restaurants selling local cuisine and seafood. At the market, you will find Chinese opera singers, fortune tellers, tea ware, food vendors, cheap toys, watches, clothes, bags, jade, antiques and many more.  Temple Street Night Market is also known for its old Chinese clinics and traditional Chinese medicine. The market offers mostly items for men, such as shoes, jeans and T-shirts.

Mong Kok is situated in the Yau Tsim Mong District in Kowloon West and is known as the busiest district in the world. The northern part of Mong Kok is Prince Edward, an area well-known for its array of shops, florists, restaurants and entertainment.  You can buy delicious fish balls and fried bean curb from the food booths on the pavements. Other great markets worth visiting include the Stanley Market, Apliu Street Market for cheap computer goods and Goldfish Market on Tung Choi Street. Bird Market is located down Prince Edward Road on Yuen Po Street.

Flower Market, Prince Edward, Mong Kok, Hong Kong

Flower Market, Prince Edward, Mong Kok, Hong Kong

Although the city is densely populated, the downtown area is not so big and a walk from Tsim Sha Tsui’s ferry pier to Mong Kok will take less than an hour. You can visit Kowloon Park and Temple Street at the same time. For the best view of the Hong Kong Island, you could visit the Victoria Peak Tower with its museums, restaurants and shops. There are also several walks around the tower offering spectacular views of the island.

Ocean Park is located in Wong Chuk Hang and Nam Long Shan on the southern side of the island and offers a lot of fun and excitement.  The park consists of an Oceanarium, marine mammal park and an animal theme park. The amusement park is one the world’s most visited park and has around 7.5 million visitors each year. The theme park boasts four roller coasters, a world-class aquarium and a giant panda habitat.

Hong Kong Disneyland, situated in Penny’s Bay, Lantau Island, consists of seven themed areas, including Mains Street, Adventure Land, Fantasyland and Tomorrow Land. The latter displays and optimistic vision of the future and Adventure Land feature jungle adventures.

Toy Story Land, Hong Kong Disneyland, Lantau

Toy Story Land, Hong Kong Disneyland, Lantau

Toy Story Land is based on the amazing film series Toy Story. Bamboo is used to act as green grass that surrounds the giant Woody and between the other characters such as Rex. A large ball and an oversized plane are some of the characters from the movie. Ensure to visit the new shop next to RC Racer called Andy’s Toy Box.

Grizzly Gulch features the Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars with a high speed launch section and backwards portions. Mystic Point is new in the park and opened in 2013. The Haunted Mansion is one of the popular tourist attractions and is exclusive to Hong Kong Disneyland.

Fantasyland features the charming Sleeping Beauty Castle and Gardens where you can meet most of the Disney characters. Adventure Land offers the Tarzan’s Treehouse and Festival of the Lion King. Tomorrow Land boasts the new Autopia and Stitch Encounter. At nighttime, you can experience the Disney in the Stars firework show.

Every night at eight o’ clock, you can see the spectacular Symphony of Lights on Avenue of the Stars. The stunning light and laser show is synchronized to music and is the world’s largest light show.

Hong Kong is home to some great beaches such as Repulse Bay, Middle Bay, Shek O, Big Wave Bay and Hung Shing Yeh Beach. Swimming pools in the city are of a high standard and children friendly. The Kowloon Park swimming pool center offers an Olympic-sized pool and a diving pool. During winter, the water of the pool is heated.

Hong Kong Cuisine

5 hk-street-food-in-bangkok-07

Dim Sum is a popular dish in Hong Kong and served at breakfast and lunch in many variations such as steamed shrimp dumplings and pork dumplings. Congee is also eaten at breakfast, lunch or supper and consists of a thin porridge made with rice. Rice and noodles are popular dishes and are typically served in soup with fish or beef balls. Seafood is widely available, but not very cheap. Snake meat served in sticky soup is also commonly served in restaurants.

Pork and beef are usually freshly butchered and sold on the markets. You will also find live shellfish and frogs at the market. Local people will typically visit the market every day to buy fresh vegetables and meat.

Shopping Malls and Centers in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is home to numerous shopping malls and centers. At Laforet, Causeway Place and Island Beverly near exit E, Causeway Bay station, you can find cheap but stylish clothes. New Town Plaza in Shatin, New Territories, offers a diverse variety of shops, including luxury brand and sports brand shops.

Times Square is a trendy shopping mall and can be very crowded over the weekends. IFC Mall is in close proximity to the Star Ferry in Central with luxury brand stores. Dragon Center on Yen Chow Street caters for the less-affluent locals and offers a great supermarket and several places to eat. For mid-priced brands such as Nike, Levi’s, Timberland and Quicksilver, you should visit City Gate Outlet next to Tung Chung Station. Langham Place next to the Langham Place Hotel in Mong Kok contains mostly trendy shops for youngsters.

Visa Requirements for Hong Kong

Hong Kong is very open to foreigners who simply want to visit as a tourist. You should have a minimum validity on your passport of one month beyond the intended stay. You should have a visa if your nationality is required to have one, have onward or return travel arrangements, have sufficient funds for your stay without working and not have a serious criminal record nor be considered a security risk.

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