Vibrant, manic, exciting, crazy… These are all great words to describe Hong Kong. For those living in the west, it’s a glimmering jewel of a city on the other side of the planet.
And for those in the east, it’s a cultural melting pot that attracts visitors in the hundreds of thousands every single year.
So, let’s take a look at the 13 reasons you need to visit Hong Kong…
1. It’s a shopper’s nirvana
Let’s get one of the most obvious out of the way first – and that’s that this is THE place to go if shopping is your weakness. The city isn’t famed for its retail outlets for nothing.
After all, where else can you buy the latest designer gear in one store and traditional Chinese products in the next!
There are various shopping districts in Hong Kong, each offering different shopping experiences. Causeway Bay, Mong Kok, and Tsim Sha Tsui are but three of them, and each offers different and unique retail experiences.
2. The city is a mélange of past and present
This is a place where skyscrapers rub shoulders with the most ancient of history. Enjoying influences from many different cultures, the city boasts the newest of the new combined with the traditional and the mysterious.
Find out more about the history at the Hong Kong Museum of History.
3. It has amazing theme parks
4. The skyline is amazing
When it comes to city skylines, Hong Kong has to boast one of the best in the world. Viewing it by daylight is awesome – but when it comes to night time – the addition of a brain numbing amount of colourful twinkling lights make this a modern wonder of the world…
Be sure to check out the Symphony of Light in Victoria Harbor that takes place daily at 20:00.
5. Eat “real” Chinese food
Yes, we know. You can get good (if not excellent) Chinese food anywhere in the world, but in Hong Kong, the amazing array of excellent restaurants takes eating Chinese food to a whole new level.
For Dim Sum to die for, check out Fook Lam Moon, or Mott 32 for something special.
6. There are awesome hiking opportunities
Just because it’s a city doesn’t mean that there aren’t some wonderful walks. At a place where the mountains meet the sea, you can hike to Lion Rock or along the Dragon’s Back for a wonderful vista of the surrounding countryside.
7. Getting around is easy
Traveling around Hong Kong is easy thanks to the excellent public transport system. All the buses and trams boast two decks, and every attraction you’d care to visit is easily accessible via the metro.
And it all runs pretty much on time too…!
8. They do Sunday brunch like kings!
Sunday is not just a day of rest here, but it’s a day to kick back and enjoy the delights of feasting! Sunday brunch in Hong Kong is somewhat of an institution.
Check out The Lobby at the Peninsula or 208 Duecento Otto for the ultimate in brunch decadence…
9. Take a bird’s eye view of the city
The 3600 Ngong Ping cable car is a fantastic experience to view the city from above. This 5.7km cable car ride offers a 360-degree vista as you glide silently over the azure blue waters of the ocean.
And it’s not just the cable car, because the whole NP360 experience will keep the whole family amused for ages, with various attractions such as the Buddhist walk, food lovers, nature lovers, and cultural heritage days too.
10. Take a trip on the Star Ferry
A commuter service for some, a tourist attraction for others – whatever your reason for taking the Star Ferry, you’ll be one of the staggering 26 million people who do so every year.
The Star Ferry harbor tour takes an hour, and you’ll enjoy a circular tour that shows you all of the Hong Kong’s harbor side attractions.
11. There are amazing historical festivals
Hong Kong is an eclectic mix of ultra modern and ancient tradition, and nowhere is this more evident than in one of the many ancient festivals that take place every year.
The Moon Festival (in the autumn) is one such event that has to be seen to be believed. Celebrating the Moon goddess of Immortality, the spectacle of millions of Chinese lanterns being released into the sky is one that will remain with you for eternity.
12. The street markets
Street markets are taken to another strata in Hong Kong. In a city so famous for its shops and malls, you’d expect the humble street market to have gone the way of the dodo… But this is certainly not the case.
Cat Street is one such place (around Upper Lascar Row). Sure there are lots of touristy items here, but this is also the place to find stalls selling amazing vintage treasures.
For fashion bargains, check out the Ladies Market for a fun shopping experience (but remember, if that Prada top seems too cheap to be genuine, then it probably is).
13. Learn the fun of haggling
Many of Hong Kong’s shopping experiences – especially on the markets – provide you with the opportunity to haggle. It’s simply the way things are done here, although for those from the west, it can seem a strange thing to get your head around.
Haggling is meant to be fun – and if you approach it in this manner, then it can be an enjoyable experience for all involved.
Of course, no one wants to be ripped off, but the whole idea of haggling is that you pay a fair price that you’re happy with, and the vendor gets a fair price for his item.
Problems only occur if you don’t have any idea of what something is worth. So, the rule of thumb is to look around a little first, comparing prices at various places. Then, when you know the rough selling price, you can haggle down to a price you think is fair for both of you.