Hong Kong really does have something for everyone. And because it is only just over 1,000 sq. metres (424 sq. miles) it’s easy to see most of the attractions and sights or get involved in the many activities the country has to offer. Hong Kong is made up of islands surrounded by the South China Sea and connected in the North to China and so its landscape changes from mountains and green areas to skyscrapers to sandy beaches. For the expat in Hong Kong it’s an exciting place to live with its deep history, culture and places to visit.
Here we outline five must-do things in Hong Kong and the Islands to help expats get the most out of what the country has to offer.
The Peak is the highest point on Hong Kong Island and also the most exclusive neighbourhood. The view across the island takes in the skyscrapers, Victoria harbour and beyond to the green landscape and hills of the New Territories. The scene from The Peak at night time shows the island lit up in every colour.
For even more spectacular views, the anvil shaped Peak Towers has a large viewing platform called Sky Terrace 428 that includes a dining and shopping nearby. The Peak Galleria also has an observation deck which is free to enter and also retail and dining outlets. Lugard Road Lookout, Lions View Point Pavilion offers another alternative view. If you enjoy walking there is also a 3.5 kilometre panoramic Peak Circle Walk.
There is no better way to get to The Peak than on the Peak Tram, the city’s historic funicular railway where you slide past skyscrapers at an impossible angle – not for the fainthearted!
Victoria Harbour and sky100
Hong Kong’s harbour is a hive of activity. With a choice of hop-on-hop-off boat tours, night daytime and sunset cruises a boat trip is must do to see stunning scenery alongside this natural harbour. There are many events throughout the year on the river and lots of places to shop, eat and drink. For views of the harbour there is the Hong Kong Observation Wheel. Or, for a nightly light show, stick around for the Symphony of Lights, a permanent show that lights up the harbour in spectacular fashion!
For great views there is the sky100 Hong Kong observation deck that provides a 360 degree view of the harbour and beyond. At 393m above sea level the International Commerce Centre (ICC) is the tallest building in Hong Kong with the observation deck located on the 100th floor. Here expats will also find an interactive multi-media exhibit giving an insight into local history and culture.
If you like to shop then Hong Kong has it all from shopping streets to malls and shopping centres or markets. The city of Hong Kong has a choice of shopping areas Admiralty, Central and SoHo or Pacific Place and Queensway. The LANDMARK has a choice of up market malls and the IFC mall is located on the Harbour Front.
There is no end to the products you can buy, from designer branded goods to haute couture fashion and art. Or make a visit to one of the country’s many tailors if you are looking for a bespoke suit. For something a little more unusual take a look in the stores that specialise in products made from the local bamboo. This natural plant grows in Hong Kong and is used to make scaffolds in the construction of buildings and a plethora of goods including fabrics. You can find bamboo furniture, bed-sheets and even baby clothes!
If strolling through markets is your idea of heaven then Hong Kong has street markets galore where you can buy food, electronic goods and fashions. Cat Street is a bustling area with an antique market where you can find many unusual items, including silk and wooden crafts. Dried Seafood Street is the place to go for local foods. Dried sea food is popular in Chinese cooking and this is the place to find great ingredients along with dried herbs and spices, dried sausage, and for the more adventurous, dried snake!
Hong Kong has many beaches where you can relax and sunbathe or wind surfing, which is popular with locals. The beaches can be reached by road or boat. For example, catch a ferry from the harbour to the village of Pui O and Cheung Sha Beach. There are places to eat close to all of Hong Kong’s beaches as well as arrange of other activities. From Mui WO and Silver Mine Beach on Lantau Island you can take a trip to Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery and the stilt houses of Tai O Village home of the Tanka people.
Cycling and Walking
Cycling and walking is popular in Hong Kong with many places catering for outdoor activities. Four cycling routes take in different scenery from Shing Mun River to Tai Po. The route starts alongside the river, takes in the Science Park and Pak Shek Kok promenade looking out to the South China Sea. Alternatively, try the Tai Lam Mountain Bike Trail.
If you prefer to leave your wheels at home, there are many walking opportunities in Hong Kong. City walking tours can either be guided or self-guided and allow you to take in the sights, streets and heritage of the area. If you prefer hiking in the great outdoors then there are established routes from the 8.5km Dragon’s Back hike taking in coastal paths and through mountains and villages to a walk from The Peak to the Pok Fu Lam Reservoir a 7km hike.