Why you should visit Hong Kong?
Hong Kong is a vibrant city filled with culture and hidden beaches to explore. Traverse the concrete forest of tall buildings in the centre of the island via the Hong Kong tram, sail across Victoria Harbour on the ferry or take a thrilling glass floor cable car ride to the famous Big Buddha statues. Hong Kong has it all for a perfect city break, be it for culture, nature, food, or shopping!
1. It’s one of the world's food heavens
Hong Kong attracts chefs and restaurateurs from all over the world. From delicious street food, cheap local food at open-air dai pai dong, mouthwatering dim sum at hipster gastropubs, to some the world’s most renowned Michelin-starred restaurants.
2. The stunning view of the city’s skyscrapers along Victoria Harbour, day or night
The picturesque sharp angled cityscape, filled with skyscrapers, is stunning whether you view it from the Peak on Hong Kong Island, the waterfront promenade in Tsim Sha Tsui, or take the ferry ride across Victoria Harbour between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Sipping cocktails with this view from the highest bar in the world up on the 118th floor at Ozone Bar is a wonderful experience that you will never forget.
3. Gorgeous hiking trails
You may not know this, but the skyscrapers that Hong Kong is famous for only take up one third of the territory. The other two thirds are made up of beautiful mountains, streams, waterfalls, beaches and forests, with established hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulty. Be it a stunningly beautiful walk to quiet beaches with turquoise water at Dragon’s Back Trail and Tai Long Wan Trail in Sai Kung, or a walk to see the panoramic view of the city from the Peak and the Lion Rock Trail. Gorgeous mountaintop vistas of Hong Kong’s natural landscape and surrounding islands await.
4. Street markets
Temple Street market is a bustling night market where you can sample fried spicy crabs from Dai Pai Dong (street food stalls), visit unique fortune tellers, or go souvenir shopping for trinkets, from jade & antiques to electronics & watches. Temple street is usually more fun at night and starts to get busy around 10 pm.
There is a long tradition of fortune telling in and around temples. Each fortune teller has a small stall with a table and chair and posters for their speciality, and don’t worry about language barrier as some fortune tellers can speak English! Face and palm reading are common practises. Watch out for the unique bird fortune telling, where a small bird will select a card from a large pack and that card will be your fortune.
There are also performance stalls set up by Cantonese Opera artists where some enthusiastic singers perform as a hobby. It is interesting to meet them and learn about their unique singing style rooted in Cantonese culture.
Bargaining your way through the Ladies Market that stretches on for one kilometre is definitely a fun shopping and cultural experience. It is a very busy and popular market, and is a good place for you to find some souvenirs. Despite its name, it doesn’t only sell goods for ladies, the market is also full of stalls selling all kinds of watches, tech gadgets, cosmetics, bags, home furnishings and trinkets. This market is definitely one stop for you to hunt for souvenirs for your friends and immerse yourself in the local market culture.
5. Grand temples
The Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery
The Big Buddha sits 34 metres high, facing north to look over the Chinese people, and draws pilgrims from all over the world. Po Lin Monastery is one of the most important Buddhist sanctums and is home to many devoted monks. The monastery has three bronze Buddha statues representing his past, present and future lives. The Wisdom Path nearby is a wonderful walk to admire the verses written from the centuries old Heart Sutra on 38 wooden steles.
Getting the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car to get to the Big Buddha is a great way of access. If you are feeling adventurous, definitely take the Crystal Cabin (glass floor) to enjoy the spectacular view of beautiful Lantau Island and South China Sea.
Wong Tai Sin Temple
Wong Tai Sin Temple is one of the most important temples to people from Hong Kong. It is rumoured to be the best fortune telling and praying place for people. Each Chinese New Year, government officials go to the temple and pray for good fortune for this bustling city. The way to get your fortune in the temple is simple. You hold on to a bamboo cylinder of 100 numbered wooden sticks and kneel under the gods in the temple, ask for your wish , then shake the cylinder until one stick drop out. You then take this stick to a fortune teller to explain your answer. English speaking fortune tellers are available.
6. Thriving nightlife
Lan Kwai Fong and Soho are the places to experience Hong Kong’s buzzing nightlife. This neighbourhood is packed with upscale clubs and restaurants, and boasts some of the best bars and parties in Asia. Revellers wander from bar to bar and every place is filled with people partying the night away. Whereas, Wan Chai region has an altogether different atmosphere, as it is known as more of a red light district filled with gentlemen’s clubs, sports bars and some famous rooftop bars. The area has a more relaxed feeling compared to neighbouring Soho. On the other side of the Victoria Harbour, Tsim Sha Tsui is also full of life at night and has the one of the oldest live jazz bars in Hong Kong – Ned Kelly’s Last Stand.
If you really fancy a quieter place for a drink with a view, rooftop bars are a definite recommendation. Hong Kong has the highest rooftop bar, Ozone at 118/F, in the world after all.