It is densely populated, full of hustle and bustle, but Hong Kong remains a unique cosmopolitan city that should not be missed.
Its biggest pride is arguably the Victoria harbour and its breath-taking skyline, which has been ranked as one of the world’s best (see right). Because of the compact nature of Hong Kong, the cityscape is picture-worthy from many different locations.
The best place to view this is from Victoria Peak. There is the Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum there as well although some people would find it a little touristy. What most people prefer to do instead is to head to the observation decks by dusk and watch the city lights flicker just as the skies darken, or walk along the pathways amidst the romantic atmosphere at the summits.
Without a doubt, the beauty of Hong Kong’s panoramic scenery is most evident during the night. The Symphony of Lights brings the skyscrapers to life at 8pm each night with laser displays and colourful illuminations. Most people tend to view this spectacle at the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront as this is where the synchronised music and narration will play.
It would also be worth heading to the waterfront prior to the light show to see the Avenue of Stars. This is the eastern version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which honours the celebrities of Hong Kong’s film industry including the likes of Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee and Michelle Yeoh.
The flea markets are another of its notable feature, if not for the cheap merchandise then for their liveliness and local colours. The Temple Street Night Market (also known as Men’s Street) and Ladies’ Market are both equally popular shopping destinations. Apart from the usual souvenirs and trinkets, you could also find clothes, accessories and electronic goods. You could also spot busking Chinese opera troupes or fortune tellers. It is common practice to haggle over the price, so you shouldn’t be afraid to negotiate for better bargains.
Even if you aren’t too keen on shopping, you should give the street food a go as that way you get a truly local experience. There are many stalls in the night markets and around the city selling delicacies such as claypot rice, fish balls, roasted pigeon and milk tea. For the more adventurous, try “stinky tofu”, which is deep fried fermented tofu with a very pungent odour (it actually tastes a lot better than it sounds or smells). Hong Kong is also famous for its dim sum, bite-sized snacks commonly eaten for brunch, which can be found in many restaurants.
For families, Disney fans or those determined to complete their Disneyland checklist, Hong Kong Disneyland is an obvious option. Compared to its equivalent theme parks from other countries, it is relatively small but it does make a distinction by incorporating Chinese culture into the park.
To escape the concrete world there is the Nan Lian Garden, a public park built in the middle of a residential area in Kowloon. It has tranquil features and landscapes, including a fountain and tea house, the style reminiscent of the Tang dynasty. Located next to it is the Chi Lin Nunnery, which houses gorgeous Oriental architecture and gardens.
If anything, Hong Kong is a lovely place to visit if you want to enjoy the nightlife and stimulate your senses in a different way.