For a relatively compact city, Hong Kong has an incredible variety of attractions to tempt you into lingering in the area longer than you may have anticipated. The Central district is the bustling, business heart of the city with neon lights blazing from every brick. Colonial buildings nestle between the soaring glass and metal towers and this skyline is exceptionally beautiful when seen from the harbour. To the east lie the districts of Wan Chai and Causeway Bay with their excellent restaurants and intoxicating nightlife and to the south lie Hong Kong’s most picturesque beaches where you can splash away the humidity or roast under the sun.
The best museums can be found on the Kowloon peninsula around Tsim Sha Tsui and Tsim Tsui East while the outer islands can be accessed by ferry and offer a pleasant respite from the people-choked streets while offering glimpse of traditional Chinese life.
Hong Kong Sightseeing Travel Guide
The shopping in this area is legendary with the long Nathan Road providing the shopper with a plethora of consumer delights. You can find just about anything in the streets around here, from ‘gold’ watches and ipods to creatures in gilded cages and delicious fish caught fresh at dawn.
Listed below are some of the favourite attractions of Hong Kong, but it’s impossible to describe everything that can be done so take some time to explore and see what you stumble upon.
1. Tram Ride to Victoria Park
Lower Tram Terminal, Garden Road, Central
One of the most picturesque and famous public transport routes in the world. The trams, dating from 1888, drag themselves up to Victoria Peak daily from 7am-midnight every 10-15mins. Once there, relish the cool, shady paths and marvel at the stunning houses occupying some of the world’s most valuable real-estate.
2. Shopping along Nathan Road
Known affectionately as ‘the Golden Mile’ thanks to the sheer variety and number of goods that can be purchased, take a deep breath and step into the swirling stream of humanity that jostles for pavement and window-gazing space.
3. Seeing the city skyline from a Star Ferry
Up to 100,000 passengers a day board the ferries that have been transporting visitors across the harbour since 1898. This experience is a definite contender for the cheapest and most awe-inspiring journey in the world, particularly at night when the city glows neon.
4. Temple Street night market
One of the well-loved street markets in Asia, the action begins from 6pm-11pm when hoards of people wonder about the stalls eating the fresh fish and eyeing up bargains galore. You may even catch an impromptu Cantonese Opera performance if you’re lucky.
5. Ruins of the Church of St Paul (Ruinas de Sao Paulo), Macau
The façade, beautiful stairway and mosaic floor of this seventeenth century church remain preserved as a memento for what some call the greatest monument to Christianity in Asia. After visiting the site, make sure you spend some time wondering around Macau’s Portuguese and Asian influenced streets.
6. The Cantonese Opera
Magnificent costumes, lashings of vivid make up, dramatic dancing and piercing singing all combine to create a wonderful spectacle. See the opera performed at a music festival, theatre or the Temple Street night market and join in the fun.
7. Tin Hau Temple
101 Tin Hau Temple Road, Joss House Bay
With incredible carvings and gorgeous decorations, this temple was constructed and 1266 and has the oldest known dated inscription in the city, written in 1274.
8. Shek-O Beach
Sunbathe, swim or just gulp down the bracing sea air at one of the best beaches around the city. On Sundays and public holidays the number 390 bus runs directly from the Exchange Square Terminus to the seashore.
9. Horse Racing
This sport is steeped in gold, with the racing season pulling in HK$80billion annually and as the only legal form of gambling in Hong Kong, the locals can’t get enough of it. Happy Valley is the most impressive stadium with races held from September to mid June. If you really want to get involved then join one of the Hong Kong Tourist Board’s ‘Come Horseracing Tours’ where you have a guided tour around the venue, dinner and entry into the member’s enclosure. You must be over 18-years-old and have spent less than three weeks in the city to book.
10. Dim Sum
A uniquely Cantonese meal which is served for breakfast or lunch. Vast dining rooms hold the hoards that descend on the restaurants, particularly on Sundays, and you choose various edible tit bits from the myriad of dishes in mini bamboo baskets. Dim Sum restaurants can be found throughout the city and don’t be put off by the queues of people waiting to get in – they move quickly!
Hong Kong is also beautiful in a manic, packed and frenetic kind of way, particularly at night when the famous skyline is picked out by the twinkling and flashing neon lights that wink and blink at their reflections in the water. An absolute must-do is to take the Star Ferry from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central and gawp at the dark mountains rising up from behind the glowing metropolis as people have done since the nineteenth century.