A unique mix of world influences has made Hong Kong the very definition of cosmopolitan, a city full of energy and sophistication with a penchant for luxury. A diverse range of sights will have you shopping in the morning and walking along surf-battered beaches in the afternoon, whilst the cuisine is second to none. Don't forget to take the Star Ferry, the quintessential way to get between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island and get a great view of the famous skyline.
Rising 552 metres, the Peak is Hong Kong Island’s highest point and the thing to do. Jumping on board the Peak Tram, a 125 year old funicular railway, at Central you can be high above the city in just 8 minutes, admiring the fantastic views over the Hong Kong Island skyscrapers and Victoria Harbour to Kowloon beyond. The Peak has always been the home of the Hong Kong elite, even as far back as the 1870s, so if you decide to take on one of the excellent, easy walks while you are up here, keep an eye out for some of the mega mansions that are up here. Alternatively, just grab a drink or a bite to eat whilst taking in the amazing views.
This maze of commerce and a consumerist heaven, Causeway Bay is Hong Kong Island’s place to hit the shops. Boasting everything from highend department stores to quirky boutiques and markets that sell everything under the sun, it’s hard to not be dragged into this frenzy of an area and partaking in a bit of retail therapy. Causeway Bay has one of the most expensive rents in the world and boasts some big names. If you are in the area, head down to the waterfront for the Noonday Gun, fired daily at midday. Close by, Happy Valley is home to the Happy Valley Racecourse – having a flutter on the horses is one of the quinessential Hong Kong Island activities. The atmosphere for the weekly Wednesday evening races is fantastic.
Named for George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen, Aberdeen is one of Hong Kong’s nine harbours and is on the southern coast of Hong Kong Island. It is particularly well known for its floating village, where about 600 junk boats house about 6,000 fishermen and their families, particularly the Tanka people. There is also nowhere better to get just-off-the-boat-fresh seafood – try it cooked to perfection in one of Aberdeen harbours floating restaurants. The quaint town of Stanely on Hong Kong Island’s south coast is best known for its excellent market. Spread through a maze of picturesque alleyways, stalls sell well-priced clothes, souvenirs, art and all manner of bits and bobs – it’s a good place to try a little haggling. The town itself is a nice place to spend some time and is made even better by its two pleasant, sandy beaches. Stanley Main Beach is also good for water sports, especially windsurfing, and both beaches are suitable for swimming. If you are in Hong Kong in late June, head to Stanley for the annual colourful and fun Dragon Boat races.
Shek O has been called the ‘last real village on Hong Kong Island’ and is also home to one of its best beaches. A big expanse of sand on the South China Sea, the beach is good for swimming and can remain quite quiet compared to some of Hong Kong’s other beaches. Behind the village is the Dragon’s Back ridge, which offers paragliding and abseiling as well as a good hiking trail. Two kilometres away is Big Wave Bay a beach that is particularly popular with surfers. In the headland above the beach is one of the eight prehistoric rock carvings that have been found in Hong Kong.
The tip of the Kowloon peninsula is occupied by a shoppers paradise – Tsim Sha Tsui district is packed with malls (including Hong Kong’s largest, Harbour City), high end shops, places to find a bargain and plenty of restaurants and hotels. Nathan Road and Canton Road are both particularly well known as shopping meccas. As well as several museums, including the Hong Kong Space Museum, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong Museum of History and Hong Kong Science Museum, the must do thing in Tsim Sha Tsui is a walk along the promenade. Starting at the New World Centre, this walk takes you along the waterfront with fantastic views over Hong Kong Island’s highrise skyline. Don’t miss the Symphony of Lights is a daily sound and light show using the buildings of Hong Kong Island’s skyline which is viewable from the promenade.
Two more traditional neighbourhoods of Kowloon, Ya Ma Tei and Mong Kok are no lesser consumer driven than the rest of the peninsular! Ya Ma Tei was a village before the British expanded into the Kowloon area – today it is a quirky area, where you’ll find the Temple Street night market and a few atmospheric lanes to explore. Mong Kok is a blend of old and new architecture and is said to be the world’s busiest district. Amongst its historic streets you’ll find the Ladies’ Market and a series of shopping streets that are each dedicate to a single product – in the traditional style. This is the place to come for street food, with many pavement food booths selling traditional snacks.
The most vibrant of Hong Kong’s night markets, Temple Street Night Market is an excellent way to pass an evening. Come here for cheap clothes, shoes, household goods and designer knock-offs galore, and bargain for them to your hearts content. You’ll also come across fortune tellers, herbalists and even performers, to add a more Chinese experience. On a street running parallel to Temple Street, Woo Sung Street, you’ll find the food stalls, serving everything from delicious bowls of noodles to full meals.
Lantau is the largest of Hong Kong’s 260 outlying islands. Although its northern tip is home to Hong Kong Disneyland, the rest of the island is a rural idyll, dotted with grazing cows and fishing villages, whilst its mountainous interior provides hiking opportunities and its surf-battered beaches are empty. A huge, bronze representation of a Sakyamuni Buddha, the Tian Tan Buddha, at 23 metres high, looms over Lantau Island and Po Lin Monastery below. There are 260 steps up from Po Lin Monastery and the climb is well worth it, for the spectacular views of the surrounding area. Po Lin Monastery runs a popular vegetarian restaurant. Close by is the terminus of Ngong Ping 360 cable car which connects Tung Chung on the north of Lantau with Ngong Ping village on a 25 minute ride over Lantau’s beautiful scenery. A picturesque fishing town just 15 minutes drive from Tian Tan Buddha, Tai O is on the western coast. The biggest attraction of the town is the stilt house village built by the Tanka people who’s main occupation is fishing. You can take a boat ride through the village ‘lanes’ to get a closer look at the community.
Opened in December 2017, The Murray has brought new life to the iconic Murray Building, the famous 1969 structure re-envisioned by Foster+Partners. A contemporary urban sanctuary, perfectly located on Cotton Tree Drive, The Murray offers spacious, sophisticated accommodation and a swathe of glamorous dining and drinking locations for its patrons.
The very first Mandarin Oriental, and still the flagship property, Hong Kong’s Mandarin Oriental sits in the vibrant Central Business District, close to the waterfront. Sleek, comfortable and timelessly luxurious, the hotel offers a world class experience with plenty of five-star facilities, indulgent restaurants (one with a Michelin Star) and incredible city and harbour views.
Opened in early 2017, the Kerry Hotel sits in a prime position on Kowloon waterfront. An urban lifestyle resort that features a world-class art collection, plenty of green outdoor spaces and a range of dining options, this hotel places a greater emphasis on experience. Many rooms boast spectacular harbour views, but for those who don't have them, the public areas have magnificent views too! Excellently connected to the rest of Hong Kong, this hotel is a fantastic choice for solo travellers, couples and families alike.
In the heart of Kowloon, close to Temple Street and the Jade Market the Eaton’s rooms are coolly contemporary with dark woods and great views. Drinks by the rooftop pool or a free Tai Chi class are perfect to unwind whilst there are seven bars and restaurants to choose from.
For those who like comfort and functionality with their luxury, the Harbour Grand’s spacious rooms with floor to ceiling windows, some with harbour views, are perfect. The glass-walled rooftop pool, range of international restaurants and half hourly shuttles to Tsim Sha Tsui add to the appeal.
A small, chic boutique hotel located in Causeway Bay, the Mira Moon effortlessly blends fantastical and traditional Chinese style with contemporary, technological touches. Make use of the fitness centre and relax in the Champagne Bar or the delightful Secret Garden.
Well-located on Hong Kong Island, just across from the Happy Valley Racecourse, the Cosmopolitan provides contemporary, comfortable accommodation close to Hong Kong Island's vibrant Causeway Bay. Elegant rooms are bright and airy with all the modern conveniences whilst facilities include a fitness centre and a range of cuisines to choose from.
InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong is centrally located in the vibrant district of Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon. It offers travellers to Hong Kong the highest levels of service in a friendly, yet elegant five-star hotel environment. Hotel facilities include a roof-top pool, spa treatments and a fitness room.
The Harbour Grand Hong Kong is located in the Causeway Bay area of Hong Kong Island with all of the luxury rooms enjoying unobstructed views of Victoria Harbour. The hotel’s facilities include an outdoor heated pool with views across to Kowloon, a fitness centre and an indulgent spa and massage centre.
Known as the ‘Grande Dame of the Far East’ and regarded as one of the world's finest hotels, the Peninsula offers five star service mixed with old world charms. Located on Victoria Harbour in the buzzing Tsim Sha Tsui, oriental elegance meets modern comfort with nine award-winning bars and restaurants, spa and indoor pool.
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The world’s largest and most populous continent, Asia is a vibrant and rambunctious fusion of ethnicities, cultures and customs; an incomparably rich and turbulent history showcased by mindboggling feats of architecture and engineering; a geography that encompasses towering peaks, unfathomable gorges and paradisiacal beaches; and a biodiversity that is so abundant that you’ll be reaching for your wildlife guide.