Top 10 things to see and do in Hong Kong…
1. See the view from The Peak across Victoria Harbour
Hong Kong is home to one of the world’s most famous skylines and beyond that, one of the world’s most famous harbours, Victoria Harbour. Named after HM Queen Victoria, Victoria Peak is the highest point on Hong Kong Island, offering those who make the trip a truly stunning vantage over the skyscrapers of the city, over the harbour to Kowloon and to the mainland beyond. Having taken the Peak Tram up the 373m ride, the Peak Tower, an inverted wok-shaped building, housing restaurants, shops and Madame Tussauds. If that doesn’t appeal, there’s always that view…
2. Visit the Big Buddha on Lantau Island
Po Lin (precious lotus) is the large Buddhist monastery on the island of Lantau that is home to famous Tian Tan Buddha, a seated statue of Lord Guatama 34 metres in height. The world’s largest outdoor seated bronze Buddha, the bell inside the figure rings 108 times a day to signify the ‘108 troubles of mankind.’
The Ngong Ping 360 is a is a visually spectacular 5.7km cable car journey, travelling between Tung Chung Town Centre and Ngong Ping on Lantau Island from here it is a short walk to the Tian Tan Buddha. Why not join a day tour.
3. Eat Dim sum
Dim sum (literally ‘to touch the heart’) is one of the staples of Hong Kong culinary life. Eaten along with large quantities of tea, the little parcels are steamed in bamboo baskets and come in over 1,000 different varieties and the Hong Kong locals tend to eat their dim sum as a snack, or perhaps lunch or brunch, but not so commonly as an evening meal. There are many eateries to choose from so perhaps the best advice is just to try a small selection of the dim sum from a large selection of restaurants!
4. Hit the shops
Hong Kong is Asia’s shopping capital! The city has it all, from super-de-luxe malls offering top class international designers, to stores selling bargain electronic goods to markets and individual stores offering Hong Kong gifts.
The biggest market in Hong Kong is the Temple Street Night Market, which runs parallel to Nathan Road in Yau Ma Tei. All manner of goods are on offer here, from clothing to electronics and DVDs. Even if you’re not in the mood to shop, Temple Street, along with Ladies’ Market in Mong Kok and Stanley Market on the south of Hong Kong Island, are fascinating places to just walk around. A stroll around these stalls and you quickly find yourself immersed in the hustle and bustle of the atmosphere, and a quick look around can turn into a rather longer diversion.
5. Go Horse racing
Horse racing is one of only a handful of legalised forms of gambling in Hong Kong, so race days at the Happy Valley Racecourse and Sha Tin Racecourse are big business, with Hong Kong having the highest per capita betting on horses of anywhere in the world. With regular race days, a visit to either of the courses makes for an exhilarating experience! Horse racing takes place all year long the first race begins at 12.45 until 13.30 and the evening races begin at 19.00 until 19.30 (Wednesdays) or at 17.45 until 6.45 (Saturday and Sunday)
6. Experience a Cultural Kaleidoscope
If you're after some spiritual harmony, why not head down to the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront in Kowloon, where the Hong Kong Tourism Board run free Tai Chi classes as part of the Cultural Kaleidoscope programme. Your expert instructor, Mr. Ng, who performed in front of Tony Blair in 2000, will guide you through the moves in an attempt to balance your yin and yang.
7. Explore Hong Kong’s trendy bars
If you’re in need of a night on the town, Lan Kwai Fong and Knutsford Terrace are the places to go! The former, on Hong Kong Island, is ideal for a bar crawl, with its many smart drinking holes. Knutsford Terrace, over the water in Kowloon, has recently emerged as a serious competitor for the beautiful people to spend their evenings. To ensure you don’t miss out, an evening in each is definitely the way to go!
8. See A Symphony of Lights
This spectacular multimedia display, already named the 'World's Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show' by Guinness World Records, has been further expanded to include more than 40 buildings on both sides of Victoria Harbour.
The show creates an all-round vision of coloured lights, laser beams and searchlights performing a stunning, unforgettable spectacle synchronised to music and narration that celebrates the energy, spirit and diversity of Hong Kong.
9. Take a Tram ride across town
Along with the Star Ferry, the tram is one of Hong Kong’s most loved institutions. Having celebrated their centenary last year, these narrow double decker trams wind their way along a 16km track on the northern coast of Hong Kong Island. They also share the very low prices enjoyed by the Star Ferry, charging a flat rate of HK$2 for any journey. Although not the ultimate in luxury, they should be made a definite on any trip to Hong Kong.
10. Buy a made-to-measure suit
Hong Kong is famous for offering tailored hand-made suits at comparatively bargain prices. Expect to pay roughly HK$2000 (around £160) for a well cut suit but make sure you allow two to three days to ensure the best possible fit.