Hong Kong (HK) is a special administrative region of China and is Asia’s busiest trade, industrial, and tourism center. It also holds the world record for the most people per square meter of any other city. With skyscrapers nestled between the ocean and hills, Hong Kong is known as the world’s “Most Vertical City”.
Hong Kong Airport is located on the island of Chek Lap Kok, approximately 40km from downtown Hong Kong. You can reach downtown by Taxi, CityFlyer autobuses or Airport Express service. Taxis are colored according to service areas: red taxis go to Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, green ones to New Territories, blues taxis for transportation to Landau Island. Airport Express is the most comfortable and quickest (24 minutes to Hong Kong Station). Free shuttles depart from Hong Kong Station for Kowloon and Hong Kong Island hotels. Airport Express ticket prices are set according to distance (one-way $60-100 HK, return $110-180 HK. 3-11 year olds pay half price). There are several choices to decrease the cost of getting around town, The Airport Express Travel Pass ($220 HK - $300 HK, one way or return airport transfer, and an unlimited three-day pass for metro and bus service), Tourist Day Pass ($55 HK, valid for metro and light rail travel only; airport service is not included) or Octopus Card, which can be added to as needed and is preferred by most tourists. Inside Hong Kong you can use the metro (MTR) to reach most touristic locations. In addition to the metro, a variety of public transportation is available including buses, ground and aerial trams, as well as ferry boat service.
There are accomodations to satisfy every budget in Hong Kong. Luxury hotels are generally found in Kowloon in the Tsim Sha Tsui district or concentrated around Victoria Harbor. For budget hotels go to the area around Nathan Road. A few of the city’s best hotels include The Upper House, Four Seasons Hotel, The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, The Peninsula, Mandarin Oriental, The Ritz-Carlton, Island Shangri-La Hotel, Conrad Hotel, W Hong Kong, InterContinental, Grand Hyatt, Disneyland Hotel and The Landgam Hotel. For mid-level lodging try Stanford Hillview, Prudential Hotel, Auberge Discovery Bay or Silka Seaview Hotel. If you are on a tight budget you can try Just Inn, Maryland Guest House or Apple Hostel. The Chungking Mansions is the city’s cheapest building to stay at and inside you will find guest rooms, restaurants, and artisan shops.
Take a Victoria Bay boat tour and see the Hong Kong silhouette, especially about 8pm for the sound and light show “Symphony of Lights”. Kowloon Peninsula; Victoria Harbor, Clock Tower, Avenue of the Stars, Kowloon Park, Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) and East TST, Nathan Road, Mong Kok and street markets (Ladies Market, Temple Street Night Market, etc.), Hong Kong History Museum and Science Museum, Chi Lin Convent, Nan Liam Garden, Tin Hau Temple and Sik Sik Wong Tai Sin Temple all come to mind as must-see. Hong Kong Island; Victoria Hill (The Peak) and Peak Tower, Downtown and the surrounding area (e.g. Central and Central Mid-Levels Escalators, Lan Kwai Fong, SoHo, Hollywood Street), Hong Kong Park, Zoological and Botanical Gardens, Sheung Wan district and Man Mo Temple, the city’s luxury shopping center Causeway Bay, Happy Valley for horse racing, Golden Bauhinia Square for the morning flag-raising ceremony, Museum of Coastal Defense, Ocean Park, Repulse Bay Beach, Aberdeen’s floating restaurants and the quiet Stanley neighborhood also stand out. In the New Territories; Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery (Man Fat Tsz), Hong Kong Heritage Museum, Wetland Park and Tsing Ma Bridge, the world’s longest suspension bridge, all warrant being seen. Hong Kong’s Outlying Islands are made up of 234 islands. The most important of these is Lantau; Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery, Ngong Ping 360, Disneyland and the Tai O fishing village are sights that shouldn’t be skipped here. Lamma, Cheung Chau and Poi Tio islands are also popular among tourists. While in Hong Kong, Asia’s Las Vegas on Macau (China’s second special administrative zone) is only one hour away by fast ferry boat, and if there is no visa problem you can visit Shenzhen, China’s first special economic zone.
No one will be surprised if Hong Kong is called “Shopper’s Island“. The most chic shopping centers as well as local markets can both be enjoyed here. On Hong Kong Island; Causeway Bay, Whan Chai, Admiralty, Central, SoHo, Sheung Wan are all the right places to go. For electronic products go to Fuk Golden Computer Shopping Arcade above Fuk Wa Street, drop by Cat Street (Upper Lascar Row) for antique shopping. On the Kowloon Peninsula, Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok, West and East Kowloon districts are the important shopping addresses. If you are interested in traditional Chinese medicine Ko Shing Street is for you. Street markets aren’t just for shopping; you must go to see the local city life. Ladies' Market (12.30-23.30), Temple Street Night Market (16.00- 00.30), Stanley Market (10.30-18.30), Jardine's Crescent (11.00-21.30), Apliu Street Flea Market (new and second hand electronic products). Some of the most popular Shopping Centers include City Plaza, DFS Galleria, IFC (International Finance Centre) Mall, The Peak Galleria, Langham Place and Elements. And don’t forget that outside of brand name stores, you have a chance to bargain while shopping in Hong Kong!
It is said that Hong Kong is Asia’s activity capital and is preferred by travellers because of its exciting city life. If you visit during one of the many activities that occur throughout the year, such as the Chinese New Year (January/Beginning of February), Hong Kong Marathon (February or March), Hong Kong Sevens Rugby Tournament (last weekend of March), Sea Goddess Tin Hau Birthday Festival (end of April/beginning of March), Dragon Boat Festival (June), Mid-Autumn Festival (September or beginning of October), this dynamic city will be even a little more colorful. In front of the temples you can have fun listening to the prophecies of the soothsayers or take part in a Tai Chi class in the park. Watch the horse races with thousands of passionate local fans at Happy Valley Race Course. Escape the hustle and crowds at the beaches (Repulse Bay, Big Wave Bay, Cheung Chau Tung Wan and/or Kwun Yam) or parks (Hong Kong Park, Kowloon Park, and/or Victoria Park), or hike the well-known urban trails of Dragon’s Back or Peak Circle. Appreciate the quant island fishing villages (Lamma, Cheung Chau) and their theme parks (Ocean Park, Disneyland). See international stars in concert, go to the HK Repertory Theatre, HK Philharmonic Orchestra and/or HK Dance Company and take in a show. Hong Kong is a city that never sleeps and night life is very lively, especially in districts like Lan Kwai Fong, Tsim Sha Tsui, and Wan Chai where you will find many karaoke bars, lounges, discos and night clubs.