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Hong Kong
August 20, 2017, 3:56 pm
Hong Kong is well-known as a financial hub and a choice city for luxury shopping. But this city-state is also steeped in culture and history and has a lot more to offer than mouth-watering dim sum and an impressive skyline. Hong Kong has an energy about it that is hard to describe. Millions of people are crammed into a very small space that somehow seems to function flawlessly.
Around every corner is something new and unique, whether it is an ancient temple, a shop selling the latest electronic gadget, or a man taking his bird in a cage for a walk. A visit to Hong Kong can include sweeping views of land, sea, and architecture, wonderful beaches, great hikes, and traditional fishing villages with a slower pace of life. Hong Kong is one of the most impressive cities in the world, certainly, but there is much more to the country than meets the eye.
Victoria Peak: You have not seen Hong Kong until you have taken in the skyline from Victoria Peak. Ride the tram to the top of this scenic viewpoint to see the skyscrapers, bustling city and surrounding islands. Spend an hour or two wandering around the park area, taking in the lush greenery contrasted with the thriving urban center below.
Tsim Sha Tsui: A shopping and entertainment hub at the southern point of Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui district is a melting pot of culture and commerce that speaks to the heart of Hong Kong. Nathan Road is the main artery running through the area, where you will find lots of great restaurants, boutiques, and other unique vendors. If you are looking for the world-class luxury Hong Kong promises, you can find high-end retailers on nearby Canton Road. At the southern end of the neighborhood, you will find the former Kowloon-Canton Railway Clock Tower, a Hong Kong landmark. The Tsim Sha Tsui Cultural Complex is the premier cultural center in the country and includes tourist attractions such as the Hong Kong Space Museum and the Hong Kong Museum of Art.
Avenue of Stars: While in Tsim Sha Tsui, be sure to visit the Avenue of Stars, a promenade where the city pays homage to some of Hong Kong's best known film stars, including the martial arts legend Bruce Lee. The promenade opened in 2004 and runs along the waterfront of Tsim Sha Tsui. It features stars dedicated to Chinese performers, similar to the Walk of Fame in Hollywood.
Temple Street Night Market: Another must-visit in Kowloon, the Temple Street Night Market is the last night market in Hong Kong. This is the place to go for eclectic foods, goods, and characters. Vendors sell everything from electronics and clothes to jade jewelry and traditional Chinese crafts. When you need a break from shopping, you can sit with a fortune teller or hear traditional Cantonese opera sung outside the Tin Hua Temple, where performers range from amateur to professional level and treat guests to the country's musical culture.
Tai O Fishing Village: A visit to Tai O village offers an experience you will not find anywhere else in Hong Kong. A far cry from the shining city, crowded markets, and theme parks, Tai O is home to people who live a quieter, more traditional way of life. The Tanka people who live in Tai O, found on Lantau Island, build their homes on stilts over tidal flats and are a community of fisher folk. Villagers offer boat rides around the village, after which you can visit the local markets and sample some of the fresh seafood. Occasional sightings of the endangered pink dolphin occur in the nearby waters.
Dragon's Back Hike: If you have had enough of the tight confines of Hong Kong and are ready for a little exercise, try escaping to the Dragon's Back Hike. This popular trail offers spectacular views out over the ocean, Big Wave Bay, Mount Collinson, Stanley, and Shek O. It is a pleasant change from the buzz of the big city to hear birdsong, the sound of small waterfalls, and the leaves rattling in the ocean breeze.
Repulse Bay and the Beaches: Hong Kong is not exactly synonymous with beach vacations, but who does not like a little sun and sand between bouts of sightseeing? The beach at Repulse Bay is the most popular in the country, and a day spent here is complemented with the luxury and style typical of Hong Kong itself. Visitors are treated to a look at traditional Chinese architecture at the Hong Kong Life Saving Society clubhouse, while The Repulse Bay shows off its colonial influences. The latter reflects its past as a high-end hotel, but today offers great dining and shopping selections.
Ocean Park: As theme parks go, this one covers all the thrills you can handle in a day — a walk through old Hong Kong, roller coasters, a Grand Aquarium, and a look at rare and exotic wildlife. Ocean Park boasts the largest aquarium dome in the world, spanning 5.5 meters in diameter. The aquarium experience includes a look at thousands of fish from 400 species, a Reef Tunnel, and a chance to get hands-on with sea stars and sea cucumbers. Above the sea, guests can partake in a Giant Panda Adventure, where they will see giant pandas, red pandas, and the endangered Chinese Giant Salamander.
Big Buddha: This 34-meter-high ‘Big Buddha’ sits atop Lantau Island's Po Lin monastery, which was a fairly secluded place until the statue was built in 1993. This Buddha is believed to be the largest free-standing statue of its kind in the world and took 12 years to complete. Early risers can climb Lantau Peak first thing in the morning, under the guidance of a monk, and watch the sun rise over the monastery and surrounding sea and islands.


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