A true oddity, Hong Kong represents a fusion of East and West. An important long-time colony of the British Empire, its colonial influence is still evident in the city’s architecture and culture alongside its Chinese influences. A major economic centre, the densely-packed territory is a melting pot of various cultures and one of the most picturesque cities in the world.
One of Hong Kong’s major tourist attractions, ‘The Peak’ receives 7 million visitors a year. Accessible through the Peak Tram, Victoria Peak provides unparalleled views of the city’s picturesque harbour and skyline. The views have seen The Peak become increasingly developed, with shopping centres and luxury residences being built there in recent years. Indeed, Victoria Peak is home to the city’s most expensive homes. Despite this development, it remains a rightfully sight to soak in the city’s views.
Man Mo Temple
Hong Kong’s oldest temple is located mid-way through Victoria Peak. Built in 1847, the Taoist temple is one of the city’s most significant historical buildings. The temple was devoted to literature and civilisation. Hong Kong isn’t a city typically known for its traditional or ancient buildings, but Man Mo Temple provides a unique window into the city’s religious culture and history.
Luk Yu Tea House
One of Hong Kong’s major colonial relics, the Luk You Tea House has grown in popularity in the decades since its opening in 1933. Internationally known, it is popular amongst tourists despite its exclusivity. Loyal regulars have unofficially reserved tables throughout the Tea House. For its top-notch food, authentic decor and throwback vibe, the Luk Yu Tea House is absolutely worth seeking out, even if you find trouble getting in.
A multicultural epicentre of the city, Chungking Mansions is known for being amongst the cheapest places to live in Hong Kong. Initially a residential building, Chungking Mansions has assumed a number of alternate functions since its construction in the 1960’s. There are a variety of guesthouses, making it one of the most cost-effective places to stay for travellers on a budget wanting an authentic experience. In addition, the building has a number of different retail stores and traditional restaurants featuring an array of different cuisines, including Nepalese and Bangladeshi. Not an experience for everybody, but for those looking for an authentic slice of the city’s culture, there are few better places to visit.
Kowloon Walled City
Little remains of Hong Kong’s most infamous site, but its gates are still intact and well worth a visit. The Kowloon Walled City was a repurposed Chinese military fort, which became increasingly densely populated following the Second World War. By the time of its demolition in the early 1990’s, it was estimated that over 50,000 people lived within its confines, often in abject poverty. The city was effectively controlled by the Triads, with prostitution and drug abuse running rampant. While it may not exist anymore, a visit to its gate can conjure vivid images of the former slum.
Cheung Po Tsai Pirate Cave
One of Hong Kong’s major tourist attractions, the cave is best known for its purported association with the notorious pirate Cheung Po Tsai. It is the most famous of a nearby network of caves where he was alleged to have stashed much of his treasure. Cheung Po Tsai was one of the most famous pirates in Chinese history, known particularly for his conflicts with the Portuguese Navy. As a result, the cave has become an important site in Chinese naval history.
Hong Kong’s most famous floating restaurant is one of the most visually striking eateries in the world. Having been visited by a plethora of famous and illustrious customers over the years including Queen Elizabeth II, Tom Cruise and David Bowie, the restaurant complex is one of Hong Kong’s major cultural institutions. Now featuring a vast number of different bars and restaurants, there are few better eating experiences in the city.
Hong Kong’s largest island, Lantau Island, despite recent developments, is known for being one of the quieter parts of the city. A long-time home to fishing villages, the island is an escape from the frantic pace of life in Hong Kong and home to a number of historical sites and natural attractions, with a number of hiking trails along the picturesque island.
One of the best ways to explore Hong Kong’s vaunted, picturesque harbour is by Junk Boat. There are a variety of options, ranging from classical Chinese wooden sailboats to modern-day superyachts. Some of these have accommodation and food/drink packages. Catering to all kinds of tastes, Junk Boats are definitely worth taking around the beautiful harbour city.
Arguably the city’s finest hiking trail, the Dragon’s Back is a ridge located on the southeast of Hong Kong Island. The trail is considered to be the world’s best urban walk, and for good reason. The views of the harbour and the skyline are jaw-dropping and it is very easily accessible from the city’s centre.