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Hong Kong Guide
Need to know
Hong Kong is a lively metropolis where time waits for no man. Impressive skyscrapers rise high into the sky against a stunning backdrop of mountainous scenery. The people on Hong Kong’s vibrant streets walk fast, speak fast and seemingly live by a ‘time is money’ mantra.
A British colony for more than 150 years, Hong Kong is a fascinating blend of East and West. Take the Wan Chai Heritage Trail, a walking and architectural tour, to get an insight into early Hong Kong culture. While there are many rooftop bars offering spectacular views of the harbour city, the best view of Hong Kong can be found at the top of Victoria Peak. Take in stunning views which stretch from the sparkling harbour and its futuristic skyscrapers to the vast wetlands of the New Territories.
Known for its array of culinary delights, Hong Kong is home to thousands of exciting eateries. From Michelin-starred restaurants in the skyscrapers of Central to the bustling markets filled with local delicacies, there’s so much to try in Hong Kong. Head to the Temple Street Night Market to sample street food under neon lights, or check out the Kowloon City Wet Market for speciality groceries and fresher-than-fresh meat. One of the largest markets in Hong Kong, this wet market has over 581 stalls and is considered one of the best fresh markets in the world.
Hong Kong is filled with shopping areas with bright, neon signs inviting you to spend, spend, spend. For high-end designer stores, check out the maze-like malls of Causeway Bay, where you’ll find the gargantuan, twelve-storey Times Square Mall amongst other clothing, electronics, food and entertainment stores. Sheung Wan offers an eclectic mix of colonial chic markets and stores, including the historic Western Market and Cat Street, which is famous for its antique stalls and stores. Wind through the crowded, colourful streets of Mong Kok where you’ll find the famous Ladies’ Market, home to everything from bargain jewellry to luxury cosmetics.
Although Hong Kong locals are known for their fast-paced way of life, they always find time to unwind. Enjoy a relaxing picnic in one of the city’s many parks, such as Hong Kong Park, Victoria Park and the Tang Dynasty-inspired Nan Lian Garden. Chi Lin Nunnery is just outside of these grounds, showcasing traditional Chinese architecture and spectacular Buddhist statues. To see more fine Buddhist architecture, head to Lantau Island. The largest of Hong Kong’s islands, Lantau Island is filled with beautiful landscapes and beaches. It is also the home of the huge bronze Tian Tan Buddha, Ngong Ping Piazza, and the remote Po Lin Monastery.
Walking around Hong Kong is a great way to explore the city. Hong Kong is divided into four areas: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula, New Territories, and the outlying islands. Hong Kong’s MTR (rail) system is another cheap and efficient way to get around, with pre-paid Octopus Cards making things even easier. Taxis in Hong Kong are fairly affordable and are colour-coded by territory. Most of Hong Kong’s major islands are serviced by frequent and affordable ferries.
Best Time to Visit
The months between October and December are generally the best time to visit Hong Kong, with pleasant temperatures and a number of festivals taking place throughout the city, such as Hong Kong Winterfest. January to March are also popular times to visit Hong Kong as Chinese New Year celebrations kick off and arts and film festivals abound.
The typhoon season between May and September sees the heat and humidity rise substantially. Those who want to avoid the hot, muggy summer may want to visit in April, as the spring weather is more balanced and hotel rates are generally lower.
Hong Kong International Airport
Located on the island of Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong International Airport is the main airport in Hong Kong, as well as the eighth busiest airport in the world. Flights travel to Hong Kong International Airport from a number of destinations, including Paris, Beijing, London and Helsinki. There are direct flights available from Australia with services beginning at the Gold Coast, Perth, Cairns, Sydney and Melbourne.