Hong Kong, Kowloon, Lantau Island and the New Territories are exquisite pearls in the South China Sea. Hong Kong District is Asia’s most densely populated area with approximately 6.8 million people in just 1102 kilometers, including 230 islands!
Renowned as one of the world’s most sophisticated cities, Hong Kong is made up of mountain peaks, wooded valleys and farmlands. Kowloon Peninsula possesses some of the most interesting cityscapes in Asia. In the New Territories, rural areas and country parks are spread across massive mountain ranges, lush valleys and grassy hills. Lantau Island is the home of the world’s largest statue of Buddha.
A ‘must do’ for all first time visitors to Hong Kong is a sea and land tour. Start with a full day tour that begins with a two hour cruise aboard a Chinese junk in Aberdeen Harbour, exploring the local boat community. Sail past the famous Jumbo Kingdom Floating Restaurant and make a dinner reservation. While waiting for the Noon Day Gun in the Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter, partake in a sumptuous Dim Sum lunch. Enjoy the scenic coastal beauty of Deep Water and Repulse Bays. Drive past award-winning architecture along Victoria Harbour on the way to Stanley Market, which is great for bargain-hunting. Take a tram ride to the top of the fabled Victoria Peak which overlooks the city’s famous skyline. A visit to the popular WongTai Sin Temple is a must because worshipers believe the god gives them what they ask for.
From Hong Kong Island, the famous Star Ferry takes you to Kowloon where you will be in shopper’s paradise. Tsim Sha Tsui area is widely known for its shopping, eating and cultural activities. The Harbour City shopping mall has 700 shops, and many garment outlets and cosmetic shops are found along Granville Road. The famed Peninsula Hotel is in Kowloon as well as the Cultural Centre, the History, Science and Space Museums.
Get up early for the Jade Market and stay up late for the Midnight Market. Don’t forget to look in the alleyways where you will find recognizable labeled goods that ‘fell off the back of the truck’.
A New Territories Tour takes in the rich countryside and traditional farms. Visit Chuk Lam Sim Yuen, a country park where you will find an astonishing number of butterflies. Shop at the Hmong Villiage where the women still wear traditional costumes with large brimmed hats and veils (if you want to take pictures you must pay them for the privilege). Stop at Sha Tin station in one of the ‘New Towns’ and take a short 15 minute stroll to the temple of 10,000 Buddhas. The New Territories has become one of the fastest growing areas with huge concrete apartments built to house the many mainland Chinese who now work there.
Lantau Island is the largest of all of the islands, even bigger than Hong Kong Island itself. Hikers will love the very attractive mountain scenery and an impressive rocky coastline with pretty white beaches. The highest mountain is Lantau Mountain at 934 metres. Most people come to the island to visit the Po Lin Monastery which was built in 1970. It houses three golden Buddhas but the largest built Buddha in the world, at 250 tons, is the main attraction.
Hong Kong is vibrant, exciting and never boring. There is so much to do you’ll have to book another trip as soon as you get home!