Take a Stroll Along the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
Overlooking Victoria Harbour from the Kowloon Peninsula, the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade should be the first stop for visitors to Hong Kong. It runs from the former Clock Tower of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Station in the west to the residential district of Hung Hom in the east. The promenade is home to many shops and restaurants as well as some of the city’s top tourist attractions including the Avenue of Stars, the Hong Kong Space Museum and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. A great time to visit is in the evening when a spectacular light show illuminates the whole harbour.
Hop on the Star Ferry to Hong Kong Island
Departing from the Star Ferry Pier at Kowloon Point on the western edge of the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, this is one of the ‘must-do’ attractions of Hong Kong. This passenger ferry has been in operation since 1888 transporting people between the Kowloon Peninsula and Hong Kong Island. Whilst there are road and train tunnels under Victoria Harbour there are still more than 70,000 passengers who cross the waterway by ferry every day. The most popular route is from Kowloon Point to Wan Chai and Central.
Take a Ride on the Peak Tram Funicular Railway
From Central on Hong Kong Island you can walk to the terminus of the Peak Tram which transports passengers to the highest point on the island at 552m. The service began operations back in 1888 running almost 1.4 km through the Mid-Levels. With around 7,000 passengers per day using the train it still serves as an essential mode of transport for many residents as well as being a major tourist attraction. The station at the top is located inside a shopping and leisure complex called Peak Tower which is home to a number of attractions including Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and Madame Tussauds Hong Kong. One sight not to be missed is the Sky Terrace 428 observation deck from where views over Victoria Harbour and the city’s skyscrapers are simply sensational.
Take a Stroll Along the Victoria Peak Hiking Trail
Once you arrive at The Peak you can escape the urban sprawl by taking a circular walk around the headland. This 4km hike is very easy and well marked offering great views over the harbour and island from its many viewpoints. If you want to do some more exercise you can extend the hike to go as far as the Lung Fu Shan Country Park.
Explore the Mid-Levels by Escalator
Yet another mode of transport that you must experience whilst in Hong Kong is the Central-Mid-Levels Escalator which runs for 800m from Central to Conduit Road. This is the world’s longest escalator which serves as a commuter service for residents and is a major attraction for visitors. The full journey only takes about twenty minutes but it’s possible to get on and off the different escalators to discover this part of the city where there are plenty cafės, shops and restaurants.
Take the Ngong Ping 360 Gondola Ride
The largest of more than 200 islands in the seas around Hong Kong is Lantau Island which lies to the west of the Kowloon Peninsula. In an attempt to promote tourism in the west of Lantau a 5.7km gondola ride was constructed which transports visitors from Tung Chung on the island’s north coast to Ngong Ping in the nearby hills. The Tung Chung line of the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) provides an efficient way to get there from Central Hong Kong. The gondola journey takes around 25 minutes giving passengers terrific sea and mountain views, the main attractions at the top are the Tian Tan Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery.
Visit Hong Kong Disneyland
The other major attraction on Lantau Island is Disneyland which is one of the world’s most visited theme parks with around 7 million annual visitors. The park is easily reached from downtown Hong Kong by means of the Tung Chung Line of the MTR travelling as far as Sunny Bay station. From here there’s a short, Disney-themed shuttle which runs to Disneyland Resort station. The park is made up of seven themed areas such as Fantasyland, Tomorrowland and Toy Story Land with more in the offing. It goes without saying that this is the top attraction for many families with young children.
Take in Panoramic Views from the Sky 100 Observation Deck
Many great cities around the world have iconic observation decks such as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai and the Empire State Building in New York. Hong Kong has not one but two spectacular platforms from which to get views across the city. The first is the Sky Terrace 428 Observation Deck at top of the Peak Tower which we’ve already mentioned and the other is the Sky 100 which is located on the 100th floor of the International Commerce Centre in Kowloon. There are high-speed elevators to the deck from where visitors are treated to 360-degree views over Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island in one direction and over the Kowloon Peninsula towards the peak of Tai Mo Shan in the distance.
Go Shopping at Some Traditional Street Markets
Hong Kong is a land of commerce awash with street vendors and historic markets. One of the most famous venues for tourists is Temple Street Night Market in Kowloon which sells a vast array of clothes including many fake knock-offs and electronic items. This is a good place to sample some typical Hong Kong street food. A less touristy venue is the Ladies’ Market on Tung Choi Street which is best known for selling good value clothes and accessories for females. Other sections are devoted to weird and wonderful specialities such as the Goldfish Market. This is another area where you can enjoy some excellent street food.
Enjoy the Best of Hong Kong Chinese Cuisine
Whether you’re eating at street stalls, in budget diners or upmarket restaurants there are two types of food that you simply must try:
Dim Sum: This is a general term referring to hundreds (if not thousands) of different types of bite-sized portions which are shared at a meal. Typical examples include ‘Siu mai’ which is a Cantonese pancake filled with ground pork and ‘Cheung fan’ which is a steamed rice noodle roll stuffed with shrimp or minced beef.
Char Siu: This is barbecued pork which is marinaded in a red, sweet and sour sauce before it is cooked over open fires or in ovens. Alternative roast meats including duck or goose are often available and can be seen hanging inside traditional restaurants all over Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Airport Transfers
Hong Kong’s International Airport is located to the west of the Kowloon Peninsula on the island of Chek Lap Kok. The fastest way into the city is on the Airport Express train which runs from the airport to Kowloon and Hong Kong Station. There are also many bus services which operate between the airport and the city via the North Lantau Highway. Taxis are widely available or you can pre-book a private transfer from Hong Kong Airport into the city and have a driver waiting for you on arrival.
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