Hong Kong is an autonomous territory, and former British colony, in southeastern China. With around 7.3 million Hong Kongers of various nationalities in a territory of 1,104 km2, Hong Kong is the fourth-most densely populated region in the world. Over 70% of Hong Kong is mountains and sprawling country parks, some also home to geological and historical gems. Escape the city limits on one of the world’s smoothest transport systems and spend your day wandering in a Song-dynasty village, hiking on a deserted island or kayaking among volcanic sea arches. Its vibrant, densely populated urban center is a major port and global financial hub with a skyscraper-studded skyline. Hong Kong features the most skyscrapers in the world, surrounding Victoria Harbour, which lies in the center of the city. Central (the business district) features architectural landmarks like I.M. Pei’s Bank of China Tower.
One of the world's top culinary capitals, the city that worships the God of Cookery has many a demon in the kitchen, whether the deliciousness in the pot is Cantonese, Sichuanese, Japanese or French. So deep is the city's love of food and so broad its culinary repertoire that whatever your gastronomic desires, Hong Kong will find a way to meet them. The answer could be a bowl of wonton noodles, freshly steamed dim sum, a warm pineapple bun wedged with butter, a pair of the sweetest prawns, your first-ever stinky tofu, or the creations of the latest celebrity chef.
Hong Kong is also a major shopping destination, famed for bespoke tailors and Temple Street Night Market. From off-the-rack Chinese gowns to bespoke specialty knives (and vice versa), the sheer variety of products in Hong Kong’s shops is dizzying. Every budget, need and whim is catered for a 'can do' spirit by a similarly impressive assortment of venues – glitzy malls where the moneyed shop, chic side-street boutiques and vintage dens where fashionistas find their gems, nerdy gadget bazaars, and a mix of markets where you can haggle to your heart’s content. The city has no sales tax so prices are generally attractive to visitors.
Places of Interest
Victoria Peak, or simply “The Peak,” is a must-visit attraction simply for its incredible views. Situated atop the highest point on Hong Kong Island, The Peak is as scenic as lookouts come. Visitors are not only treated to a sea of skyscrapers and the city’s beautiful blue waterways, but during the day, can make out the green hills of the distant New Territories. There are multiple vantage points atop the mountain, including the Peak Tower and the Peak Galleria, with the latter offering access to its observation deck free of charge. There is also the 2-mile-long Peak Circle Walk, which takes you along cliffside paths to the scenic Lugard Road lookout point. There are also dining and shopping options at the Peak Tower and Peak Galleria, as well as the Lions View Point Pavillion. You can take the Peak Tram up to the top or make the hike for some vacation exercise!
Chances are you’ll accidentally stumble upon one of these shopping frenzies on a tour of the city. But don’t just stop at one. Hong Kong’s street markets are diverse, catering to various clienteles with different merchandise. For instance, the Ladies’ Market on Tung Choi Street in the Mong Kok neighborhood specializes in (you guessed it) women’s clothing and accessories. Plus, each bazaar also has its own ambiance. The best example is the Temple Street Night Market – a traveler favorite. This nocturnal marketplace bursts with activity as vendors hawk clothing, electronics and local food, and culinary accessories from brightly lit stalls. There are even fortune tellers and opera singers. Another bazaar of note is the Stanley Market. Occupying an old fishing village on the southern coast of Hong Kong Island, this marketplace boasts home decor, jewelry and colorful souvenirs. Don’t shy away from bargaining, as many are surprised at how low vendors are willing to drop their prices when they feel like you’re going to walk away
Tian Tan Buddha
The remote Po Lin Monastery, hidden away by lush mountains, became a popular attraction when the extraordinary Tian Tan Buddha statue (informally known as the Big Buddha) was erected in 1993. Sitting 34 meters high and facing north to look over the Chinese people, this majestic bronze Buddha draws people from all over Asia. You can take the Ngong Ping 360 cable car, which offers spectacular 360 degree views of Hong Kong, up to the Big Buddha.
Avenue of Stars
Situated on the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade right on the waterfront of Victoria Harbour, Avenue of Stars is a walking road dedicated to the stars Hong Kong’s film industry. It’s a very popular place among tourists. Here you can see handprints of celebrities, stalls with souvenirs, sculptures and the full-sized statue of Bruce Lee. Also, Avenue of Stars offers the stunning views of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island with its numerous skyscrapers. Every evening on the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade, tourists and residents come here to watch a show named “A Symphony of Lights” that is held every night at 8:00pm.
Sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck is located on the 100th floor of International Commerce Centre (ICC), the tallest building in Hong Kong. At 393 m above sea level, it is the only indoor observation deck in Hong Kong offering 360-degree views of the territory and its famous Victoria Harbour. It has been acclaimed as the must-visit first stop for tourists to Hong Kong. It also features exceptional swift double-deck high-speed elevators, which reach the 100th floor in just 60 seconds.
With over 50 restaurants earning Michelin stars in 2017, Hong Kong is sure to please any pallet!
8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA
In January 2010 Bombana opened 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA to delight the gourmet palate again with his unique, sophisticated yet and contemporary culinary creations. Strategically located in the heart of Central in the elegant Alexandra House, the new project of the Italian maestro has already become the hottest high-end fine dining spot in town. The great chef ’s commitment to delight his guests delivering only the best Italian cuisine using the freshest ingredients is even more enhanced at 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA, for which he has taken care of every detail from kitchen to interior design to ambiance and menus. BOMBANA received a Michelin three star for 2017.
Dress code: Smart casual
Address: Shop 202, Landmark Alexandra, 18 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong
Hours: Lunch 12:00-2:30, Dinner 6:30-10:30 Closed on Sundays
The premium Ginza sushi experience is the only opportunity in the world where the master chef prepares dishes for each customer standing just a meter away.
Sushi Shikon offers a single course menu. The course starts with appetizers to whet the taste, and then passes into sushi, seafood on vinegared rice, starting with delicate dishes and gradually moving into more powerful ingredients. To sustain the rhythm of the meal from the cut, to the placement of the fish on the rice, to placement on the counter, the sushi must be consumed within thirty seconds of it appearing in front of the customer. The meal is planned daily around the best ingredients in season, and composed like a symphony. The menu is set, but flexible enough to match individual tastes, so please let the restaurant know beforehand if you have any dislikes or allergies. If there are any dishes you particularly enjoy, feel free to order an “encore” at the end of the meal. Sushi Shikon earned a Michelin three star for 2017.
Dress code: Smart
Address: No. 29 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
Hours: Lunch 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm, Dinner 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm Closed on Sunday
Lung King Heen
Silver and glass accents enhance your dining experience, while an undulating silver-leaf ceiling reflects Hong Kong’s glittering skyline and harbor lights. A private dining room for 14 offers the perfect setting for business entertainment or special family celebrations.
This Forbes five-star and Michelin three-star Chinese restaurant is led by Executive Chef Chan Yan Tak. As the first Chinese chef to receive three Michelin stars, Chef Chan is the master behind the intricately designed menu at Lung King Heen. Chef Chan combines textures and flavors with inventive presentations to excite your taste buds and satisfy even the most demanding epicure. With a name that translates to “View of the Dragon,” Lung King Heen combines the freshest local ingredients, a team of regionally renowned chefs and spectacular harbor views.
Dress code: Smart casual
Address: Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, 8 Finance Street, Central Hong Kong China
Hours: Lunch Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays 11:30 am – 3:00 pm, Monday to Friday 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm, Dinner every day 6:00 pm – 10:30 pm
Amber at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental
Amber at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, recently awarded two Michelin stars for the six years running. This restaurant has a lot of European influence but also keeps the flavors of Asia and Hong Kong. Pair Amber classic dishes like Mieral Bresse pigeon breast with wild cep mushrooms with Sommelier’s selection of 980 different references, all artisanal, top quality wines culled from old world vintages in France and Italy as well as exciting bottles sourced from Chile, Argentina and Portugal. The emphasis on seafood, such as scallop ceviche with avocado cream, kyuri cucumber and smoky bay oysters, satisfies current preferences for healthy cuisine and comes from the chef’s upbringing by the seaside. Every ingredient is purposeful and recipes are minimalist yet indulgent, like duck foie gras ravioli simmered with black truffles over a creamy violet artichoke in poultry velouté and of course the Valrhona Albinao 85% chocolate soufflé.
Beyond the kitchen, the Sommelier sips his way around the world, culling superlative wines from Old and New World vintages to lure forth the fullness of each ingredient. These essential links to Ekkebus’ culinary masters can be relied upon to match make between Amber diners and the kitchen’s delectable offerings.
Dress code: Smart casual
Address: The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong 15 Queen’s Road, Seventh Floor Central, Hong Kong
Hours: Breakfast: 7:00 am – 10:30 am, Lunch: 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm, Dinner: 6:30 pm – 10:30 pm
Spring, the first season in China is from March to May and the days are getting warm with the average temperature of 13°C (55°F) in daytime and 2°C (37°F) at night. In different regions of China, the spring scene is different. June is the beginning of real summer weather in China. Most regions suffer temperature of over 30°C (86°F) in July and harmful sun’s rays in the sunny weather. Influenced by summer wind from the tropical oceans, it is the season with the most precipitation of 40 – 70% of whole year from north to south. During the time, in the northern China, the rainy days may last over one month and along with rainstorm and thunderstorm, called Meiyu period. And in southern China, the typhoon often visits during July to August. From September to November, autumn in China is something worth expecting. With the pale clouds and clear sky, the temperatures throughout the country are milder and warm. Featuring the warmish weather, it is a season filled with change with strong winds and a lot of rain occasionally. Days become shorter and, although it is often warm and sunny during the daytime, it can be cold at night. The ginko trees and maple are especially beautiful in autumn. The leaves are changing into red, bright gold or more and falling down the sidewalk to add some color. Winter is the coldest season in China across from December to February, featuring cold, dry weather and short daytime. January is the coldest month with average temperatures lower than 32°F throughout two thirds of China. The temperature is getting lower from south to north China, caused by the winter monsoon.
There are some cultural dos and don’ts that are important to know as a foreigner when traveling to China or any Asian country. It’s best to know ahead of time what is expected of you before someone accuses you of being rude! Here are a few rules of etiquette that could help you when you are traveling to China.
Public displays of affection are frowned upon. Do not back slap, hug or put your arm around someone’s shoulder, which will make a Chinese feel uncomfortable, since they do not like to be touched by strangers.
Present and receive things with both hands.
Chopstick etiquette is very important in Chinese culture. Under no circumstances should chopsticks be placed upright in your bowl. This symbolizes death. Nor should you tap your bowl with chopsticks.
When greeting others, the oldest person is always greeted first as a sign of respect.
Never write things in red ink. It symbolizes protest or severe criticism.
The Hong Kong visa system is almost exactly the same as it was under British rule, and therefore wholly separate to the Chinese visa system. Most Western visitors to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the People’s Republic of China do not require a tourist visa issued in advance of travel. Currently, nationals of Australia, Canada, Ireland, most other EU countries, New Zealand and the US do not require a visa for a stay not exceeding 90 days. UK nationals do not require a visa for a stay not exceeding 180 days, whilst holders of RSA passports do not require a visa for a stay not exceeding 30 days.
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