Where to go in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong S.A.R., or Special Administrative Region, as it became known after the handover in July of 1997, is comprised of the New Territories, Kowloon Peninsula, and 235 outlying islands of which Hong Kong Island is but one. The whole territory is only 413 sq. miles (1,070 sq. kilometers) -- with Hong Kong Island itself only 24 square miles -- and sits at a latitude just south of the Tropic of Cancer or about the same as Hawaii. Don't be deceived, though. It gets cooler in the winter here than in Hawaii (see Hong Kong weather). 

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The territory lies on a peninsula at the South eastern tip of China which juts out into the South China Sea. The Chinese province directly to the north of Hong Kong is Guangdong (formerly Canton), with its capital at Guangzhou (also formerly Canton and pronounced 'gwang 'joe). Guangzhou is about 80 miles away with Beijing another 1,200 miles north. Hong Kong S.A.R.

One of the most important geographical features of Hong Kong is the deep water in the harbour and close to the shore which has allowed Hong Kong to be a major shipping point and trade center. For an example, you can see that Ocean Terminal, which is right in Tsim Sha Tsui at the harbour’s edge is home not only to a shopping center, but is also an actual ocean terminal. Additionally the mountains of Hong Kong Island, Lantau, and the eastern part of the New Territories have helped protect against the rare typhoon that comes in off the South China Sea.

Finally, the map of the region changes continuously due to the numerous, huge reclamation projects undertaken here. Large swaths of harbor have been filled in at many places including the whole area in front of the Peninsula where the Cultural Complex now sits, Hung Hom, Causeway Bay, parts of Central and Wanchai, and the whole western portion of Kowloon (for the airport highway and rail links), just to name a few. Projects already under construction will add fill to the area directly in front of the whole northern shore of Hong Kong Island for new parkland.

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  • Things to do in Hong Kong

    Things to do on Hong Kong Island

    Aberdeen

    Aberdeen, on the southwest side of Hong Kong Island, is famous for the thousands of boat people living on the thousands of dilapidated boats in the harbor; its two very large, very good floating restaurants which serve magnificent seafood; and its small harbor. At night, the myriad of neon lights up the area. Near here are the Ocean Park and Waterworld complexes (see below) so it's not a bad idea to combine the two into one trip.


     

    Causeway Bay Shopping

    Designer clothes, trend-setting fashion houses, exclusive outlets line Hennessy and Yee Woo streets, while more traditional Chinese wares are available on the side-streets housing Jardine's Bazaar. If you prefer department stores, the Japanese have a number of large stores here including the centerpiece, 10-story Sogo in the middle of it all just above the MTR Station. Finally, the modern (and big, of course) Times Square shopping/office complex dominates the southern part of the area. If you want to shop or just want to see why Hong Kong is often referred to as a shopper's paradise, come to Causeway Bay.

    Ferry to Lamma Island

    Lamma is just off the southwest coast of Hong Kong Island just across from Aberdeen. It's a picturesque, sleepy island with a nice hiking trail across it. Do the round-trip and then have a delicious seafood dinner at the port. Ferries to Lamma are run by the Hong Kong and Kowloon Ferry Company (2815-6063) and leave from the series of seven piers just west of Central's Star Ferry pier, in back of the Airport Express Line's Hong Kong station. You want pier Number 5. The cost is about HK$20.00 (less than three US dollars) for the 45 minute ride.

    Hollywood Road and Ladder Street

    Located in Central, just a bit west of the area covered by our Central map, is Hollywood Road. Your hotel's Guest Relations Officer can give you a map and show you how to get there. This is a terrific area for antiques, Chinese porcelain, paintings, etc. Ladder street is called that because it's almost straight up! The little shops here sell everything Chinese. Worth a visit.

    Ocean Park/Waterworld

    Ocean Park, Southeast Asia's largest leisure complex, lies between Aberdeen and Repulse Bay and provides a great day out for all the family. Attractions include a cable car and the world's second-longest outdoor escalator, marineland shows and exhibitions, a shark tunnel, an aviary, a butterfly house, the 72-meter Sky Tower, the Dinosaur Discovery Trail, a huge roller coaster and other thrilling rides. Adjacent to Ocean Park is Middle Kingdom, which presents a "living" history of China through replicas of ancient palaces and pagodas, temples and street scenes. The park is open daily from 10.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m. and admission is HK$165 for adults and HK$85 children ages 3-11. To get there, take the Ocean Park Citybus from the Admiralty MTR station, which runs every 10 to 20 minutes. 

    Located next to Ocean Park's lowland entrance and under the same management, Waterworld is a good place to cool off on a hot summer's day. It contains several pools with various slides and diving platforms, a winding "river" you can float down, a rapids ride, and even a pool with a sandy beach and waves. Don't forget your bathing suit. The park is open daily from 9.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m. in July and August, from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. June and September. The park is CLOSED from October through May. The admission is HK$65 for adults and HK$33 for children. This drops to HK$44 and HK$22 respectively after 5:00 p.m. Free admission is granted to children under 3-year-old and senior local residents aged 65 or above with Hong Kong Identity Card. These prices may, of course, change any time without notice. For more information, please call 2552 0291. Tickets are also available at all 7-eleven outlets.

    Peak Tram

    Another obligatory attraction, the Peak Tram is a cable-pulled railway (funicular) running 1.4 kilometers from Central near Hong Kong Park up to the top of the high hills above the city, called The Peak or Victoria Peak. At The Peak is a huge, wok-shaped shopping and eating complex, not to mention a sprawling, gorgeous, panorama of Hong Kong, Kowloon and beyond. The fare is advertised at HK$20 but that's if you plan to stay up there! A round-trip ticket will cost HK$30. The Peak Tram runs every ten minutes from 7:00 a.m. to midnight. Sit on the right side on the way up for the best views.

    Stanley

    The Stanley Market is a deservedly popular outdoor market in this attractive fishing town on the southeast of the island. Shop for leather, blue jeans, porcelain, linen, fashions, you-name-it along with flock of locals and foreigners alike. Nearby are plenty of good places for food and drink, or take a stroll down a short path to one of the surrounding beaches.

    Things to do in Kowloon

    Harbour City

    Harbour City is Hong Kong's largest and most popular shopping center with 700 shops and boutiques, 50 restaurants, two cinemas, three top hotels, a 500-room serviced apartment, a private club, 2,000 car parking spaces, 4.4 million square foot office towers, etc., etc., etc. It's big, and takes up much of the western part of Tsim Sha Tsui's harbour front.

    Hong Kong Museum of Art

    Located in the Cultural Centre complex on the waterfront, the Hong Kong Museum of Art is filled with a huge collection of Chinese artefacts of bronze, jade, bamboo, ceramics as well as a wide variety of paintings many depicting a history of the last two-hundred years of the region from Canton to Macau, including Hong Kong. Admission is FREE on Wednesday. Otherwise, it is HK$10.00 for adults, HK$5.00 for students, children, and senior citizens.

    Jade Market

    Located on the junction of Kansu and Battery streets, this casual, open-air market boasts more than 400 stall owners. To Chinese, jade has great spiritual value. When carved into certain shapes, it can represent wealth (deer), good fortune (tiger) or power (dragon). Don't buy expensive jade unless you are an expert. Starting at 10 a.m. it runs till about 3:30 p.m. daily. The best time to go is in the morning.

    Planetarium Sky Show

    Next to the Cultural Centre complex at the waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui, the Space Theatre is one of the largest planetariums in the world. Boasting a 75-foot domed roof, the theater presents both Omnimax screenings and star shows. Forty-minute to hour-long programs are presented Tuesday through Friday from 2:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Fridays from 1:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Sundays and holidays from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Get your ticket a day in advance, either at the museum or any URBTIX outlet. Call 2734-2722 for show schedules. Admission is HK$32.00 for adults, HK$16.00 for students, children, and senior citizens. Hong Kong Space Theatre

    Star Ferry

    The ferry service between Tsim Sha Tsui and Hong Kong Island began in 1898 and took 40 minutes to one hour. Now, the journey takes less than seven minutes with ferries running every ten minutes or less (during peak hours). A ticket is inexpensive at HK$1.70 for an adult and HK$1.20 for a child (3 to 12 years old). Add 10 cents for kids and 50 cents for adults if you want to ride in the air-conditioned upper deck. If you are over 65 (or under 3) and have a Hong Kong ID or a senior citizen card, you can ride for free. Hours of operation are 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. The cigar-shaped boats look a bit different, but they're extremely safe and handle the often choppy harbor quite well. If it's going to be your first time on the ferry, stay out of the air-conditioning and take in the fresh breeze and magnificent views. A must-do in Hong Kong.

    Temple Street Night Market

    The Temple Street Night Market comes alive after 6:00 p.m. and offers a wide range of inexpensive items mostly for men, from jeans and t-shirts to lighters and shoes. There are also dozens of fortune tellers, Chinese opera performers, and scores of food sellers offering traditional Chinese cooked snacks.

    Waterfront Promenade

    Take a stroll along the Waterfront Promenade which extends from the Star Ferry Pier down in front of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and Space Theatre around the Regent and the New World Complex and then all the way into Hung Hom. For most, a walk from the Star Ferry down to the Regent or New World is far enough. Unobstructed, harbor level views of the Hong Kong skyline grace the entire journey. Along the way are the Clock Tower, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, and the Space Museum.

     

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