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HONG KONG

 

Hong Kong. In our opinion, Asia’s most dynamic city. A place where ‘East meets West’ is more perfect a description than any other place on Earth, where the old sits comfortably alongside the new, encompassed within the most vibrant harbour the world has to offer. Hong Kong is a sophisticated metropolis of more than six million people sharing an area of about 1,100 square kilometres, more mobile phones and pagers than you can imagine, and soaring skyscrapers that draw your eyes ever upwards.

 

Savour a thousand contrasting tastes, with dining experiences world renowned, or satisfy your hunger for style in the shopping capital of the world. Whether it’s Stanley Markets or the designer boutiques of Nathan Road, on offer is an overwhelming array of goods to suit any budget. With a vibrancy like no other, this is a city driven by the dollar. Hong Kong is the financial centre of Asia and the pursuit of business is central to all facets of life. This business hub has resulted in a distinctive collage of skyscrapers, of daring architecture, that forms a spectacular backdrop for one of the world’s wonders – the cityscape by night, seen from across Victoria Harbour, with Hong Kong’s mountain-perched buildings seemingly forming a curtain of crystal lights.

 

And also a diversity – from the bustling city centre to a peaceful countryside. Walking trails from the summit of the famous Peak offer a green view of Hong Kong that few are aware even exists. Repulse Bay, on the southern side of Hong Kong Island, features picturesque beaches. Aberdeen is a sheltered bay that is home to a fleet of fishing trawlers and to glitzy floating restaurants. Trolley cars, ferries and subway trains are central to an efficient public transport system that assists visitors in discovering the delights of Central, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay or Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon. (And we still believe you just can’t beat the Star Ferry for one of the most spectacular ‘tours’ in the world!) Portuguese-settled Macau is just a short boat trip away, offering yet another diverse experience.

 

And of course, Hong Kong continues to grow... yet more investment sees new restaurants, venues, and products released every month as expansion pushes into the outlying islands. Hong Kong is an ever-evolving world class destination, and one that certainly warrants more than one visit. Once, in Hong Kong, is never enough…

 

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DESTINATIONS IN HONG KONG

 

Hong Kong offers a host of memorable tourist attractions with popular attractions and sightseeing opportunities throughout the territory within its compact area. The Peak, Victoria Harbour and the Giant Buddha… You’ll find endless things to see and do on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon and the New Territories. Or take a ferry and explore the Outlying Islands. You’ll be amazed by the diverse contrasts and close proximity of stunning cityscapes and soaring mountains, heritage sites and extensive green countryside. Whether you are a vacationer, nature lover or cultural explorer, Hong Kong can cater for your every desire. Discover the myriad things to see and do in one of the most diverse and exciting destinations in the world.

 

Culture and heritage are what sets Hong Kong apart from the rest of Asia – indeed the world. With 150 years of colonial history and a largely Chinese population, Hong Kong is a unique fusion of Western and Eastern cultures where the old and the new live side by side. Its incense-filled temples, colonial buildings and glass-and-steel skyscrapers, along with its ancient traditions and lively festivals, have made Hong Kong a living culture experience. Hong Kong has a stunning array of glass, steel and marble-clad edifices that are monuments to modern architecture and some of the world’s top architects. But in this city of contrasts you’ll also find gems of colonial era architecture, some dating back more than 150 years.

 

Hong Kong’s diverse range of museums provides fascinating insights into the territory’s colourful history and development, and includes one dedicated to one-time resident and China revolutionary Dr Sun Yat-sen. Others cover art, history, heritage, antiquities, film, medical sciences, housing, police and much more. There are also museums of science, space, and such special interest subjects as tea ware.

 

For its size and population, Hong Kong is remarkably green. More than 70 per cent of its land mass is rural mountains, forests and outlying islands – all within easy reach of urban areas. You can enjoy city gardens and parks, or head out to a beach, hiking trail or one of the many outlying islands and protected country parks.

 

Nature lovers will be amazed at Hong Kong’s diverse flora and fauna, including wetlands and bird sanctuary, marine parks and dolphins, along with several conservation projects. You can join the guided outdoor activities of Nature Kaleidoscope or make use of the detailed guide to discover the nature of Hong Kong.

 

You’ll also find a wide selection of sports activities, ranging from mountaineering and paragliding, to golfing and fishing.

 

Hong Kong Island 

Hong Kong Island is essentially the CBD of the territory. From skyscrapers soaring hundreds of metres in to the sky, to the beautiful seaside area of Repulse Bay, this small piece of land has everything that one could need on a postage stamp sized piece of land.

 

Kowloon

Filled with markets, temples and crumbling buildings, Kowloon is a heaving, breathing beast in its own right. Full of culture and colour, Kowloon is also more of a softer side of Hong Kong and gives a wonderful view of Hong Kong Island, especially at night time.

 

New Territories and Outlying Islands 

The weekend getaways for the rich, famous and the not so famous people of this hardworking metropolis. Featuring some of Hong Kong’s most beautiful scenery, life in these areas is slower and friendlier than the busier centres of the territory. This tiny territory has all the attributes of a whole country packed into one tiny postage stamp sized area. With culture, shopping, sightseeing and spectacular entertainment, Hong Kong is an unforgettable city that will have your head spinning, yet you will be begging for more.

 

Macau

Macau is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China since 20 December 1999, and like Hong Kong, benefits from the principle of "one country, two systems". The tiny SAR is growing in size – with more buildings on reclaimed land – and in the number and diversity of its attractions. The greatest of these continues to be Macau’s unique society, with communities from the East and West complementing each other, and the many people who come to visit.

 

Sixty kilometres west across the Pearl River estuary from Hong Kong lies the former Portuguese enclave of Macau. Occupying a peninsula and a couple of islands of just twenty-six square kilometres in extent, Macau’s unique atmosphere has been unmistakably shaped by a colonial past – predating Hong Kong’s by nearly three hundred years – which has left old fortresses, Baroque churches, faded mansions, public squares, unusual food and Portuguese place names in its wake. As a place to play rather than do business, Macau is also decidedly laid-back compared with Hong Kong, but what really defines the territory are Macau’s abundant casinos, the only place in China where they have been legalized. The colossal gambling income generated is currently funding a local economic boom, with the ongoing construction of high-rise hotels, flyovers, bridges and large-scale land reclamation, all forever changing Macau’s appearance.

 

Considering that costs are a good deal, and the ease of travel between Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Macau, it’s a great pity not to drop in on the territory if you are in the region. A day-trip from Hong Kong is possible, though you really need a couple of nights to do the place justice.

 

The Macau currency is the pataca (abbreviated to “MOP$” in this book; also written as “M$” and “ptca”). HK dollars are freely accepted as currency in Macau, and a lot of visitors from Hong Kong don’t bother changing money at all.

 

Shenzhen

Shenzhen, the busiest port city in China, is located in the southernmost part of Guangdong Province. The city overlooks Hong Kong to the south and borders Kowloon. Because Shenzhen is one of the youngest cities in China, it does not have many historical attractions. So in order to develop the city’s tourism industry, a number of large theme parks have been created there in order to attract visitors from China and around the world. The theme parks, with names like Splendid China and China Folk Culture Village, introduce people to China’s centuries-old culture.

 

Shenzhen is unique from most other cities in China, with its wide selection of brand name merchandise, both domestic and imported. The International Trade Tower and the Friendship City form a major shopping center where many well-known merchants operate carry relative expensive premium goods. In the smaller shops in the Old Downtown area, bargaining is more accepted and the area near the Shanghai Hotel on Shennan Middle Road in Futian District is a must-stop for shoppers. Women’s World draws many female shoppers, and on Zhongying Street, separating Hong Kong and Shenzhen, visitors can experience the pleasure of finding duty free bargains.

 

Most people who visit Shenzhen are there on business, so there is an abundance of hotels and other facilities catering to the business traveler which help to make a stay in Shenzhen more enjoyable. In addition, since the city is located next to Hong Kong, making a quick day trips an enjoyable experience.

 

 

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