More than most cities, Hong Kong is a city of contrasts. Its bustling streets reveal layers of history, with a lot of traditional Chinese values still visible alongside Western culture and cuisines from all over the world. Though the city is packed with over 7 million people, it comes as a surprise to find that it is set amongst lush green hills that offer many superb viewpoints over the city and the rocky coastline.
The official languages are Chinese and English. You could say that Hong Kong is a tribute to immigration, a process that has been continuing for thousands of years, with people arriving from different regions of China, as well as Japan and the United Kingdom. The result is a glittering cultural environment, as sparkling as the amazing views over Victoria Harbour at sunset. Ancient temples stand alongside futuristic skyscrapers. There are many ways of touring the city, but you can enjoy a 15-minute introduction by taking the legendary Star Ferry which crosses the harbour and provides views of the skyscrapers and the verdant green mountains above. It is probably one of the world’s best-value cruises.
From the climatic point of view, the best time to visit Hong Kong is from October to early December. It is particularly hot and rainy from June to August.
As regards transport, the Mass Transit Railway connects most parts of the city quickly and efficiently.
Boggi Milano in Hong Kong
Boggi Milano has 3 stores in Hong Kong:
Tel. +852 318 843 85
Open every day 10am-10pm
8 Finance Street, Central, 1099 Podium Level
Tel. +852 3106 4566
Open every day 10am-8.30pm
Shop 15B, 5/F,SOGO Causeway Bay, 555 Hennessy Road
Tel. +852 2831 8996
Open Sunday-Thursday 10am-10pm, Friday and Saturday 10am-10.30pm
On public holidays and the day before public holidays, open 10am-10.30pm
Experiences in Hong Kong
Dragon’s Back Trail
This path runs down the island’s eastern side through the Shek O district, and in total it takes about 4 hours. But in less than half an hour from the starting point there is a good view point. The route ends at Big Wave Bay, a location good for swimming and surfing.
Take water and your camera. You can reach the start point by MTR (Shau Kei Wan) and bus 9.
Lantau Island is the largest island of Hong Kong and it was originally famous for its fishing villages. There have been several infrastructure projects recently, including Hong Kong International Airport and Hong Kong Disneyland, but it still has a fairly low population density and provides an interesting contrast to the city.
We recommend starting with the 25-minute cable car ride from Tung Chung, above all with the glass-bottomed “crystal cabin” that provides the best views of the sea and the lush green mountainsides. At the destination you will find the culturally-themed Ngong Ping Village which comprises a selection of shops and restaurants.
From here the famous Big Buddha is just a 5-minute walk away.
Ngong Ping 360
Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, Outlying Islands
Tel. +852 3666 0606
Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark
The geopark is a great surprise. Located in the East and North East New Territories, the park showcases examples of unusual rock formations such as hexagonal rock columns, twisted columns, the remains of an ancient super-volcano, cliffs and sea arches.
The park is in a number of different locations: you could start from the hexagonal columns in the Sai Kung Waterfront Park, Wai Man Road, Sai Kung, New Territories (next to Sai Kung Bus Terminus). The natural environment and rocky coasts provide a marked contrast with the busy city.
Tel. +852 2394 1538
Happy Valley Racecourse
This Racecourse was first built in 1845 to cater for the British and their love of racing, and it became progressively more popular amongst the Chinese residents.
There are races at Happy Valley Racecourse every Wednesday night from September to June, from about 7pm to 11pm. It is a good expression of the passion for sports that is a feature of Hong Kong. There is also a beer garden.
Happy Valley Race Course
2 Sports Road, Happy Valley
Hong Kong Island
Hong Kong is unusual for the fact that verdant green mountains are in close contact with the modern city and its skyscrapers. A good viewpoint is Victoria Peak. There are several ways of getting to the top.
If you walk it takes about an hour or an hour and a half. Otherwise the historic funicular Peak Tram, leaving from near St. John’s Cathedral, is an attractive means of ascent, but there are long queues – often from 1 to 3 hours – to get on. If you have an Octopus card, you can use that to pay the fare without having to wait in the queue for tickets. An alternative is tram 15 which leaves from near Pier 5, and takes about half an hour to reach Victoria Peak. There is also a bus that leaves from Star Ferry, or taxis in a ride that costs about HK$40.
Once you are at the top, you will find shops, restaurants, the Madame Tussaud Museum, and the panoramic terrace which gives you the best view, and for which there is a small entrance charge. To avoid crowds, we recommend taking the bus up early in the morning, say from 7.30am to 9am, enjoying the views and then taking the funicular peak tram back down.
The visit is particularly evocative in the evening, when the city is glittering with lights.
Tai Hang is a district that provides a glimpse of Hong Kong’s origins. Just behind the hustle and bustle of Causeway Bay, it is a maze of streets, packed with trendy restaurants bars, shops and nightlife.
Tai Hang was for years a working-class district and today there are many car repair shops still operating. In addition, you can see some pre-war Chinese-style villas and the stone houses built by fishermen that were once on the waterfront before land reclamation pushed the district inland.
Things are changing and so we recommend going to see this charming area before it’s too late. It’s just a short walk from the Tin Hau MTR station.