1. The Skyline
Hong Kong’s signature attraction; the crowd of skyscrapers arched around the waters of Victoria Harbour on Hong Kong Island are a jaw dropping sight. As the most impressive skyline in the world, you should make time to see the skyline both in the day, from Victoria Peak, and at night, when it plays host to the Symphony of Lights laser and light show.
Yes, Hong Kong does have a history. It might seem like the territory’s past only stretches back to the days of opium boxes, warships and treaties, but some of Hong Kong’s villages are over 500 years old and much of their heritage remains intact. Defensive walls, ancestral halls and traditionally dressed villagers can all be found at one of Hong Kong’s walled villages.
3. Lamma Island
A few days on Hong Kong Island can have you feeling like you need to lie down in a dark room. Do the next best thing, go to Lamma Island. This rural retreat offers jungle greenery, deserted beaches and ramshackle villages stuffed with seafood restaurants. There are no cars on the island so be sure to pack a good pair of legs, if you want to go exploring.
4. The Markets
Hong Kong might have major supermarkets in every mall and 7-Elevens on every corner, but this is a city that still thrives on market shopping. From fish freshly hooked out of the deep blue sea to fake, imitation Guccie bags, Hong Kong has a market for everything – even goldfish. Try one of the tourist markets to pick up some local souvenirs for a pocketful of pennies or brave a wet market to see where the locals do their daily shopping.
112ft up and 5.7km long, the Ngong Ping Cable Car offers a bird’s eye tour over the lush peaks of Lantau and the glistening South China Sea. The vistas are nothing short of jaw dropping and even better, if you splash out on one of the glass bottomed gondolas. At the end of the trip, head for the giant, 110ft Tian Tan Buddah, one of the biggest of its kind in the world.
6. The Temples
Temples continue to play an integral part in the life of Hong Kongers and on major festivals you’ll see them overflowing with locals bearing gifts to please the gods. Noisy, colourful and chaotic, the temples are usually cloaked in smoke from the constantly burning incense sticks and boldly and beautifully decorated with traditional Chinese motifs and designs.
As much about the spectacle as the horses; each Wednesday night thousands of Hong Kongers descend on Happy Valley racecourse to enjoy hot dogs, beer and roar at the ponies running around in front of them. The atmosphere is electric and only helped by an unrivalled setting cloaked in the neon lights of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers.
Once the hub of British colonial power in Hong Kong, Statue Square remains home to the beautiful, neo-classical LegCo building, where the Hong Kong legislature meets. Formerly the Supreme Court, this is one of the few remaining examples of colonial architecture in Hong Kong, featuring wide verandas, arched walkways and a domed roof.
9. Nathan Road
Probably Hong Kong’s most photographed street, Nathan Road is the showcase for the city’s iconic, neon advertising signs. Crammed in at every angle and hanging off every building, the signs are a testament to Nathan Road’s role as the commercial heart of Tsim Sha Tsui. If you want to see Hong Kong at its bustling best, head here.
10. Ocean Park
Hong Kong’s home grown theme park continues to triumph over Hollywood import Disneyland with a winning mix of educational and interactive sea creature displays, including the futuristic jellyfish exhibition, and thrill seeking rollercoasters and rides. If you’ve got kids in tow, don’t dare miss Ocean Park.