Where Chinese traditions and colonial charms live among soaring glass and steel.
Steep, historic stone staircases run alongside the world’s longest outdoor escalator system. Incense-filled shrines and family-owned spice shops are nestled among chic boutiques and cafés. Old men play mahjong on square tables in lush rest areas that dot the city. Red-sailed teak boats tour the colorfully lit harbor.
In this modern old city, there is something for everyone. For the gourmands, award-winning chefs hail from all over the world making Hong Kong one of the cities most decorated with culinary awards. Palatial banquet halls specialize in tender, steamed dim sum or rich roast goose in its crackling skin. In the outdoor markets locals prize fishballs in curry and warm pineapple buns. For a culinary experience unique to the city, order a beef brisket noodle at a dai pai dong.
Those looking for cultural immersion can roam a Song-dynasty village, catch a Chinese opera, or ride a bike around the quaint fishing village Tai O. Take the Peak Tram for both a glimpse into the city’s colonial past and an iconic view of Victoria Harbor. A ferry ride across the harbor will take you to Hong Kong’s oldest hotel with its famous afternoon tea, while a glass-floored cable car ride will take you to the Tian Tan or Big Buddha. Have your wishes come true at the famous Wong Tai Sin temple or admire the Tang dynasty architecture of the Chi Lin nunnery.
For nature enthusiasts, the majority of Hong Kong’s lands are protected parks offering scenic, lush hikes that often end on pristine beaches. These beaches are also reachable by car or boat for non-active company to join the barbecue or seafood feasts that ensue. Spend a day kayaking among volcanic arches, rock climbing, or hiring a junk and dropping anchor to swim ashore onto isolated islands.
Night owls can wager bets and sip Pimm’s at the popular horse races on Wednesday and Saturday nights. Karaoke bars are plentiful as are evening venues from sleek hotel lounges to bass-filled clubs that feature world-touring DJs. The neon-lit streets of Mongkok where the night market stalls stretch for blocks offer visitors late night snacks and affordable mementos to take home.