Hong Kong’s Chinese name translates as “fragrant harbour” and the waterfront is as important today as it was in the past. Years of British rule and its Chinese heritage have created a cultural mash up which provides a compelling reason to visit the territory. Chuck in some extraordinary landscapes, fabulous food and plenty of warm weather and it’s not hard to see why it has an enduring popularity with international tourists. Here are Mundana’s Hong Kong highlights. Where will you begin?
Riding the historic tram to the top of Victoria Peak is the quintessential Hong Kong tourist experience. Ascend to the summit, 552 metres above the harbour, for a breathtaking panoramic view across to Kowloon and beyond. Dine – or at least have a drink – at the spectacular Sky Terrace 428, or take a sunset stroll to one of the many lookouts.
Red-sailed sampans would once have been a common sight in Hong Kong waters. Today, only a handful remains. Tours of the harbour in these traditional junks remain popular. Choose from sunset cruises, dinner on board or a simple sightseeing circuit. For the most authentic experience, opt for the Duk Ling, an original vessel that has been lovingly restored.
Hong Kong Disneyland Resort
If you’re travelling with kids in tow then you’re going to need to allocate at least a day to this popular theme park. You’ll find all the rides and characters that you’ve come to expect, with that all-important Disney magic. Board Hyperspace Mountain for a thrilling foray into a Star Wars battle or take a sedate spin on the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups.
Man Mo Temple
Man was the God of Literature and Mo was the God of War. This historic place is the largest Man Mo temple in Hong Kong and also one of the oldest – it dates from 1847. It was once the place to come to settle a dispute, although these days you’re more likely to encounter students keen to ensure success in their exams. Regardless, the sight and smell of incense smoke lingering in the air of this opulent red and gold interior makes this an unmissable part of any Hong Kong itinerary.
Happy Valley Racecourse
This iconic racecourse opened in 1841. Some of its most famous races, such as the Hong Kong Derby, have transferred to the larger Sha Tin racecourse. However, its Wednesday evening programme remains one of the best nights out in the territory. Time your visit between September and July. Who knows, have a flutter and you might just get lucky.
Stanley is best known for its famous market. It’s a hive of activity, especially at weekends. But the retail opportunities in this part of Hong Kong Island extend beyond the market. Make your way over to Murray House, once a colonial-era barracks for the British military. It has been repurposed as a boutique shopping outlets mall with plenty of restaurants to enjoy when you’re all shopped out.
This floating village on Lantau Island contrasts with the glittering glass and steel skyscrapers of the financial district. Fishermen making a living in these tidal flats built their homes on stilts. They give this part of the territory a unique appeal to visitors. If you really can’t drag yourself away, the former police station is now a cute boutique hotel.