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Hong Kong

Hong Kong may be a tiny territory, but it's also an unmissable economic giant! Again a subsidiary of China since July 1st, 1997, this urban hive, which is in constant vertical and horizontal growth,has a magnetism all its own. Moulded by many skyscapers, Asia's New York is swarming with visitors. With a high density of business affairs, shops, lights, tourists, and traffic, Hong Kong is an international crossroads for shopping and business which exerts its influence far beyond its own boundaries. If you get the opportunity, you should travel to Hong Kong!
  • Hong Kong
    © Sean Pavone / 123RF
  • Hong Kong
    © Maridav / 123RF
Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Expert destination Hong Kong

Hong Kong Disneyland

Having been built in 2005 Disneyland Hong Kong is the franchises latest addition. It has a total of seven different areas to explore including Main Street USA, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Toy Story land, Mystic Point and last but not least Grizzly Gulch. Even though seven areas may seem like a lot the park bears no comparison to the grand scale of the Disneyland in America. The majority of the rides and the formatting of the theme park is very similar to the park in the US but there are some elements that incorporate Chinese culture for example the Plaza Inn, the first ever Chinese restaurant, is located in the Main Street. There's fun for all the family but especially the children and if you're really keen on getting into the Disney spirit there's the option to stay in a Disney themed hotel. You'll never be short of food either with the opportunity to buy snacks or sit down meals all the way around the park for example Eastern food (dried squid, fish balls on a stick, dim sum) or more American style food for example burgers, cotton candy or muffins.

Temple Street Night market

Even if you don't intend to buy anything head to the Temple Street Night market purely to soak up the atmosphere and take in the aromas that the food market has to offer. The market not only sells food but also clothes, watches, printed CDs, fake labels, footwear, cookware and everyday bits and bobs. It's advised to barter with the street vendors for any of the items for sale at the markets as the prices they have written down are nowhere near what they expect tourists and locals to pay. The markets are open from around 6pm and close at about 11 pm but the best times to visit are between 7 to 10 pm when the stalls are brimming with people. If you are feeling particularly hungry after having a browse around the various stalls take a trip to Woo Sung St which runs parallel to the east, here you can get anything from a bowl of noodles right through to a full meal. Rumour has it that the Beef or Fish Balls with Wonton Noodles is the winning combination. Additional entertainment is also provided in the form of fortune tellers and Cantonese opera singers.

Avenue of stars

In a similar way to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Avenue of Stars is a dedication to all the people that have contributed to the recent success of Hong Kong as a city. There are various commemorative plaques, celebrity handprints, descriptive milestones, movie memorabilia, life size statues dotted around at various points. It can be found on the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade and was officially opened in 2004. There are roughly 30 events each month on the stage near the Museum of art that include various musical, drama or dance performances. The most famous attraction along the promenade is probably the two-meter-high bronze statue of the world's most famous martial arts actor, Bruce Lee, a Hong Kong native. Admission is completely free and is open any time day or night. The recommended time to go is during the evening when there's an incredible display of lights.

Hong Kong: the key figures

Surface area : 426.0 km2

Population : 7055071 inhabitants

  • Hong Kong is an international shopping paradise.
  • The easy access to China, which is very close, especially Guangzhou (Canton) Guangdong Province.
  • The incessant high rate of humidity.
  • Constant traffic jams.

Hong Kong: what to visit?


The fauna and flora

Hong Kong: what to buy?

You really have a very wide choice! Hong Kong has many big and luxurious commercial centres such as Pacific Place (Admiralty neighbourhood) or Time Square (Causeway Bay neighbourhood), with a ton of different kinds of shops. For a few decades, watchmaking has been one of the main local productions, found in overabundance in the neighbourhoods of Kowloon Peninsula, such as Mongkok. The Tsimshatsui area nearby has many shops that sell electronic products. For antiquities, see the interesting area of Hollywood Road on Honk Kong Island. For cosmetics at low prices, see Sa Sa department stores. Shops are open every day, morning until night, except during Chinese New Year.

Hong Kong: what to eat?

With 40,000 restaurants, Hong Kong prides itself, and rightly so, on its reputation as a gastronomic paradise. Every cuisine in the world is represented (Italian, French, Japanese, Tex-mex, etc), but the city excels most for its Chinese food (Canton, Shangai, Bejing, Sichuan.)

Don't miss out on dim sum, delicious steamed dumplings, stuffed with meat or vegetables and served in bamboo dishes. A lot of restaurants offer dim sum (in the morning and at noon only). Sea food and fish (brought back every day by fishermen and kept alive until they are prepared, in order to keep their coolness) come thoroughly recommended. One of our favourites: thousand year eggs (cooked in lime); steamed fish; Szechuan style crispy duck and beggar's chicken, which is cooked for many hours in a clay shell.

Hong Kong: what are the cultural particularities?

Lots of Chinese people are very superstitious, so don't be surprised by the success of the many fortune tellers' shops and even more by the respect given to Fengshui masters in the very Chinese neighbourhoods, such as Mongkok. The expression "fengshui" litterally means "wind and water" and more globally indicates the control of elementary forces in nature.

Pretty much everything is decided in Hong Kong with the help of geomancians, including in business affairs. Do not make fun of those practices, the Chinese value them highly. If someone invites you round to their house it's customary to bring a small gift.

During dinner, never touch your food with your fingers, use the chopsticks and avoid putting your hands in your bowl of rice, this is normally done when one makes an offering to the dead.

Don't be surprised by the high volume of conversation in restaurants, its custom in China to show how much you're enjoying your meal by making all sorts of sounds. Do not practice any sort of nudity on the beaches, Hong Kong people would be very shocked. In case of a discord with a local person, avoid getting mad, raising your voice or making him lose face. Do not touch a child's head (the noblest party of the body). Except from in the markets, it's not normal to barter in shops.

Hong Kong: travel tips

In order to familiarise yourself with some of Hong Kong's surroundings when you first arrive or if you fancy putting your feet up after a few days of sightseeing, take the alterative lines on the tramways and sit up on the second floor. These seats offer an amazing panoramic view of the city. These specific lines have been running since 1904 in Hong Kong and operate both by day and night.

To really get a sense of the Chinese identity in Hong Kong, get lost in the crowded and very colourful streets of the Kowloon Peninsula, between Mongkok and Jordan metro stations. For a bit of a thrill, go and spend an evening (and bet!) at the races at Happy Valley hippodrome - guaranteed entertainment!

They are two very nice neighbourhoods, Wanchai and Lan Kwai Fong, that are located on Hong Kong Island and definitely worth visiting if you want to go out during the evening.

For a beautiful view of Hong Kong, one place outdoes all others: Victoria Peak. It's the biggest attraction but so worth the visit. As for the tramway trips, the best thing to do is get on them at the end of the day in order to make the most of the view at Victoria Peak during the day and at night.

f you can't make it to Sichuan province, consider visiting the Ocean Park in Hong Kong which happens to be home to both Red and Giant Pandas in large purpose-built enclosures. The park offers a unique way of learning more about the mammals by allowing a limited number of people each day to become stand-in panda keepers for a few hours. This way you can get as close as possible to the pandas, as well as learning about the care and conservation of these creatures.

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