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Kowloon peninsula
© Leung Cho Pan / age fotostock
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Kowloon peninsula

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor

Our Editorial team's advice

The Kowloon peninsula is a highly popular tourist destination that offers visitors a thousand different fascinating and unforgettable faces. The view it affords over Port Victoria and the island of Hong Kong is simply stunning; it is a spiritual retreat at Tin Hau temple; it is home to the legendary Peninsula hotel; it is a haven of culture at the Art and History museums; it is authentic and traditional at the bird market; it is aerial at the Space Museum; it is green and romantic at Kowloon Park; it is hypnotic with its thousands of neon lights; it is unusual at the goldfish market; it is never-ending, like Nathan road that separates it in two; it is bustling and bubbling at the impressive Mongkok district; it is a glimmering symphony of lights every evening at 8:00 pm; it is popular and mysterious at Temple Street night market with its fortune tellers... In short, it is enthralling, cosmopolitan, magical, dense, bustling and electric, just about everywhere! Such is Kowloon Peninsula.

To see

Every district has its own magical feel, which you can discover at night, during the day, or both. The hustle-and-bustle of Hong Kong will mean that your eyes are everywhere, not wanting to miss a thing.
Every evening the light symphony begins at 8:00 pm on one of the famous towers of the bay of Honk Kong. The avenue of stars is the perfect place to enjoy the show. The rest of the time, you can come here on Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, to admire the unbelievable view of the bay of Hong Kong, the internationally famous postcard scene.
The legendary hotel Peninsula shows off the importance of the British colonial past and the level of luxury is simply astounding.
Far from the images conjured up by the island of Hong Kong or the tourist seafront of Tsim Sha Tsui, the popular Mongkok district is impressive for the density of its population ( the biggest in the world), its decrepit buildings, its network of electric wires and its crowded markets in the day and at night.

To do

Take the Star Ferry from the island of Hong Kong to the Kowloon peninsula: you will never tire of this mythical service which you share with the cosmopolitan population, allowing you to admire the towering architectural compositions.
Try to take part in a karaoke session, which is a 'must' when you're here! Don't miss the afternoon tea either, which is a huge institution in this former British colony! The tea on offer in some of the prestigious hotels is impossible to resist. The one offered at the Peninsula hotel is very popular.
Tourists have many walks that they can go on. Follow the long "Nathan" street with its numerous neon lights and incessant traffic; relax in Kowloon park (with its English design); enter into the maze of shopping galleries in "Langham Place Mall", "Harbour City" (the biggest in town), etc; don't miss the fantastic Art and of Space Museums; visit the splendid Tin Hau temple, dedicated to the goddess of the sea; and finally, put your hand in the prints left by stars on the aptly named Avenue of Stars, etc.!
In the evening, enjoy a stroll around Temple Street Market to find the most unusual Asian objects!
In Mongkok, be sure to visit the bird, flower and goldfish markets! They're just next to famous shops that sell everything on the latest technologies. There is also a road entirely devoted to shops selling trainers. The Lady's market here is the kingdom of second-hand clothes.

pros

cons

To think about

Keep your eyes peeled at all times to take as much in about the place as possible!

Learn a few words of Chinese, your efforts will be much appreciated, and revise your English too!

As you go where the wind takes you, with your head in the clouds, you will be an easily recognisable tourist in this bustling city. However, be careful of trams and taxis that zoom around in every direction. You must constantly be on the ball to avoid all to frequent accidents!

You don't need a visa to get to Macau, half an hour away by boat, but you will need one to get into China.

Be careful to respect local ways and customs! For example: In the event of an invitation to someone's house (which is rare as the locals prefer eating out), it is customary to bring a small gift. Do not be surprised by the high volume of the noise and conversations in the restaurants, as it is customary in China to show the pleasure that you take from eating by making all sorts of sounds. Check what the weather is like in Hong Kong before packing; the temperatures in the winter are sometimes below 10°C and can reach 35°C in the summer. Spring and autumn are the best periods to visit this city.

To avoid

Note to smokers: smoking has been forbidden in public areas since the 1st of July, 2009. In addition to the restaurants, bars and other entertainment facilities, smoking is also forbidden on public beaches, around swimming-pools, at bus stops and on escalators, etc. Don't ever throw you cigarette stub in the street, the fine is heavy!

When you eat at the table, never touch your food with your fingers, use the chopsticks.In the event of a disagreement with a local, don't get angry, don't raise your voice and don't make him lose face.Except at the markets, it is not customary to haggle over prices.Do not let yourself be tempted by counterfeit goods!

To try

All different types of Chinese cuisine can to be found here, from Canton and Shanghai to Beijing or Sichuan. There is also Japanese, Mexican, Italian, French, Indian and Thai cuisine: in othe words, dishes from all over the world! On pavements, in huge shopping malls, at the top of gigantic skyscrapers or underground, on water, etc. The cheapest food is to be found in small Chinese stalls on street corners, and the most expensive in gourmet restaurants of global renown that are part of legendary hotels or independent restaurants. Exceptional specialities are on every menu and we recommend the Kobe beef, the truffle, the foie gras, the fugu (moon-fish), etc. With settings ranging from traditional to ultra-trendy, the different worlds are very contrasting and very pleasing both to the eyes and the taste buds. As is often the case in these regions, the biggest priority is given to the freshness of the products: The fish and seafood are excellent, for example. You need proof? The first Michelin guide written for Hong Kong and Macau, published in 2008, awarded no fewer than 22 restaurants.

To bring back

In Hong Kong you can shop around the clock, depending, of course, on your budget. In the shopping malls, the most luxurious in the world, such as "Elements" you can find all the most famous brands. However, some shopping malls are more affordable and you can buy tons of clothes, jewellery, bags and some amazing gadgets. Alternatively, go to numerous markets such as the Temple Street Market. There is also a jade market that will delight enthusiasts of the precious stone.
Art is also found everywhere here in numerous art galleries displaying paintings, sculptures, etc. Twice a year, Hong Kong becomes the destination to be if you're looking for bargain sales.
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