- Discover Hong Kong
Hong Kong was handed back to the Chinese in 1997, yet is still very much a western like city, a picture of capitalism. Hong Kong is divided into four areas, Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the New Territories, and the outlying island.
Victoria Peak is the highlight of any visit to Hong Kong. By day you can see the tall skyscrapers of Hong Kong Island and Victoria Harbour as well as the hills in the distance. Make sure you are here for sunset when the city below slowly begins to light up into a spectacular display of lights.
You simply must take a trip on the famous Star Ferry when you visit Hong Kong. The ferry travels between Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon and Central on Hong Kong Island. You will get to see some amazing views of Hong Kong Harbour. The Ferry has been running since 1888 and remains incredibly popular. Try to get a seat on the upper decks. You will pay a bit more but it’s worth it. You can also buy a ticket to watch the multimedia laser show; A Symphony of Lights, where over 40 buildings on both sides of the harbor light up with sky with lasers.
Ocean Park is an amusement park, an animal theme park and an aquarium. It is massive and there are lots of things to do here. You can have close encounters with dolphins, seals, penguins and pandas as well as the chance to scuba dive with sharks. There are exhibitions such as Polar Adventure where you can explore the North and South Poles, or the Rainforest exhibition, where you will encounter the exotic animals of the rainforest. Ocean Park also has all the usual amusement park rides such as rollercoasters. Take the cable car between the Waterfront and the Summit.
The Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery
The Big Buddha on Lantau Island was erected in 1993 and today is world famous and brings pilgrims to Hong Hong from all over the world. It stands 34 meters high and the views from its base of mountains and the sea is spectacular. There are 268 steps to the top, but it’s worth it. The Po Lin Monastery, of which the Big Buddha is a part, was founded in 1906 and is considered one of Hong Kong’s most important Buddhist sanctums. There are lovely gardens here and a vegetarian restaurant.
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
Although not as big as other Disneyland resorts it still offers some great attractions and is very good value. There are seven lands. These are Adventureland, Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point, Toy Story Land, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Main Street, U.S.A.
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The Old Clock Tower on the Star Ferry Pier stands 44 metres tall. It was built in 1915 as part of the Kowloon – Canton Railway terminus. The station is gone but the tower was preserved.
Horse racing is very popular in Hong Kong. Head to Happy Valley Racecourse on Hong Kong Island on Wednesday nights for some fun. It’s not just about the gambling. There are food stalls, beer stands and live shows.
Tsim Sha Tsui
Tsim Sha Tsui is full of shops and restaurants and has a mixture of cheap and cheerful hostels as well as expensive hotels. Nathan Road is the main street in Tsim Sha Tsui. It’s good to come here at night to see all the neon signs lit up. From here you are near the Avenue of the Stars and Victoria Bay.
Avenue of Stars
The Avenue of the Stars is closed for renovation until the end of 2018. Some of the exhibits including statues of stars such as Bruce Lee, murals and exhibitions can still be seen at Garden of Stars and Starry Gallery.
Graffiti Wall of Fame
To some, graffiti is vandalism and an eyesore. This is not the case Argyle Street in Hong Kong. There is an alleyway two blocks long with an incredible array of graffiti art. The alley runs between Argyle Street and Bute Street.
Turtle Beach is on the southern end of Lamma Island. The beach is closed from June to October as endangered green sea turtles are laying their eggs at this time. There are no roads and with that, no cars. The locals get around on bicycles and carts. There are some very good seafood restaurants on the island.
When in Hong Kong you must eat at one of the many Dai Pai Dongs, or street food stalls. You can get anything from seafood and dim sum to noodles and stir fries as well as desserts. Some of them are just take away stalls but some will have tables to eat at. Make sure to go to stalls that are busy with plenty of the locals. This is the best indication that the food is good and won’t make you ill. Make sure the food you are served is piping hot.
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Hong Kong International Airport is located west of Hong Kong Island. There are flights between Hong Kong and most major cities in Europe, North America and Asia. All flights depart from Terminal 1. It’s a fantastic airport that was only built in 1998 and is considered to be one of the best in the world.
Flight times to Hong Kong
Dublin 12 hours | London 11.5 hours | New York 16 hours | San Diego 14.5 hours | Sydney 9 hours
There is an airport express train that runs to the city every 10 minutes. There are buses also and they are quite cheap. Citybus and Long Win are the two companies. It should cost around $30 (Hong Kong).
Taxis cost around $300. Red taxis will take you to Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.
There is an underground railway that covers much of the city and is a fast way of getting around. All signs are in Chinese and English as well as all announcements.
If you want to get around Hong Kong and get some sightseeing in too then take the tram. They can be hot and uncomfortable at times but they are efficient and cheap.
You must take a trip on the famous Star Ferry when you visit Hong Kong. The ferry travels between Tsim Sha Tsui and Central. You will get to see some amazing views of Hong Kong harbour. Try to get a seat on the upper decks. You will pay a bit more but it’s worth it.
The Peak Tram will take you up to Victoria Peak from Central. It’s $40 for a return but it’s a fast and interesting way to get up there.
Taxis are cheap and efficient. Make sure to have the name of your hotel in Chinese characters with you. Take a business card from reception. Also print out or get someone to write out the name of your destinations in Chinese as well. Many taxi drivers won’t be able to speak English.
Hong Kong is very safe but take precautions, especially with your possessions.
The Emergency number is 999.
Health standards in Hong Kong are on a par with anywhere in the west.
Just to be extra safe, drink bottled water, through the drinking water is generally safe.
Hong Kong suffers from pollution at times, so keep an eye on the Air Quality Index.
Hong Kong to Dublin - 12 hours
Hong Kong to London - 11.5 hours
Hong Kong to New York - 16 hours
Hong Kong to San Diego - 14.5 hours
Hong Kong to Sydney - 9 hours