Top 5 reasons to visit Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of the most peculiar places on Earth. Its natural harbour and position in the globe caused historical disputes for its dominance between the United Kingdom and China, which resulted into an incredible city that works as a bridge between Western Civilization and Asia.
Nowadays a Special Administrative Region of the People´s Republic of China, Hong Kong is formed by three main islands: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories. It has many reasons to visit, but we have struggled to list our 5 top ones!
The view from Victoria Peak.
While Hong Kong´s skyline is possibly one of the most famous in the world, the best view of Hong Kong is from “behind” the skyline. Victoria Peak rises at the western part of Hong Kong Island, and provides an incredible view of Hong Kong´s central area, Kowloon and Victoria Harbour, as well as many other surrounding islands. Best moment to visit is before sunset, so you can have both the day view and the night view (that is indeed spectacular).
Easiest way to go to the top is via the Peak Tram, which departs from Central, right next to St. John´s Cathedral (closest MTR station is Central). Beware that sometimes the line is way too long, and could take over one hour to get onto the tram. See details in the website. Return ticket is 45HKD (5.70 USD – Oct2017) and can be bought at the station. When you get the ticket, they offer as well access to a sky terrace for extra 45HKD. We didn´t purchase it and believe the view from the peak is spectacular enough. It is also possible to reach the peak by bus + walking, but it takes too much time so we recommend the tram option.
The blend between Chinese and British culture.
Hong Kong was occupied by the British since the first opium war (1839-1842), and in 1898 a lease for 99 years was arranged, what mean that for 1997, British had to return the region to China. With a small period of Japanese dominance during WWII, Hong Kong had been a British territory for over 150 years. Upon its return to China, it was turned into a very autonomous region with separate economy and politics, being military defense and foreign affairs Chinese responsibility, and specifically being HK an open market economy–and one of the biggest in the world. They call it “One country, two systems”.
This can now be seen when walking on the streets. With bilingual signs, western brands, cars driven “London style” and English spoken everywhere, it is very easy to feel you are in Europe…until you turn in one corner and see a very Chinese market. The best way to enjoy HK, as with many cities, is just walking around and getting lost to see all this ;).
The amazing financial centre.
Hong Kong is one of the world´s most significant financial centres, and big part of that happens in the area known as Central.
Visit Central to take a look at world famous skyscrapers such as the Bank of China tower, the International Finance Centre and the HSBC Building, and also see St. John´s Cathedral, an Anglican church located in the middle of the huge buildings.
Do not miss to spend a few hours walking and people watching in the Hong Kong Park. This green oasis in the middle of the city is a lovely place.
The Ngong Ping village and the Cable Car ride.
Ngong Ping village is the western part of Lantau Island, and the best place to see Buddhism in Hong Kong. It holds the Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha Statue, one of the nicest and most famous Buddha statues in the world.
The ride to get to the island on a Cable Car (commercially known as Ngong Ping 360) is an experience in itself, with incredible views over the bay and the airport. Details can be seen in their website – price starts at 210HK return trip (26.5USD – Oct2017) – discounts online.
The view of Victoria Harbour.
This harbour formed between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon has been possibly the most important reason for the establishment of the British Colony in the region. The skyline of Hong Kong from Kowloon awesome, with the special charm of the typical Hong Kong sail boats around. You can even take a cruise tour on one of these!
By day, take a stroll by the riverside paths on the Kowloon side, enjoying the view of the skyscrapers shaped against the hillside of Victoria Peak.
By night, enjoy the “Symphony of Lights”: watch all the buildings light up in different colours, a show not to be missed.
While there are tons of other reasons to visit Hong Kong, these are our main 5. Have you visited Hong Kong? Are you planning to go? Tell us all about it!
Also, if you have more time, do not miss to spend one day in Macao! See our guide about this former Portuguese Colony.