My friend Juergen who live in Ireland is planning a trip to a few Asian cities, and he asked me to do a post on his site about my favorite spots in Hong Kong.
View From Victoria Peak
Tourists atop the Peak Tower
View of the South China Sea from Victoria Peak
1. Victoria Peak and the Peak Tram. Victoria Peak, or The Peak as it is know to locals is the tallest mountain in Hong Kong at 552m. The highest part of The Peak is used for telecommunications and is closed to the public. The peak is best accessed via the Peak Tram which runs from the Central District to the Peak Galleria via the mid-levels. The peak tram is the second best bargain you will get in Hong Kong after the Star Ferry. The peak Galleria is a garish wok-shaped building atop the peak that offers great views of the city from the roof, but my advice is to grab a refreshing ice-cream and leave the building for a soothing along the Peak Circuit which offers amazing views of the city on the northern side, and of the South China Sea on the southern side. Hong Kong is a noisy, dirty, bustling city home to 7 million people covering every inch, except for the top of Victoria Peak. I found this to be a deserted, relaxing area, with milder temperatures than the rest of the city. I recommend spending half a day here towards the end of your Hong Kong stay, try and pick a clear day too get the most of the views.
Nathan Road, Kowloon
Kowloon at dusk
2. Kowloon. In modern day Hong Kong Kowloon refers to the area made up by the Kowloon Peninsula. The name Kowloon means nine dragons represented by the eight peaks in the district. The district is famous for it’s markets and eateries. Nathan Road is the main road that runs north toward the New Territories, off Nathan road is the very popular Temple St Night Markets and Ladies Markets. At these markets you can test your bargaining skills and taste some amazing food from the street stalls. Nathan road is littered with bright glitzy electronics shops, and if you do buy any electronics, make sure it is covered by an international warranty. In most cases bargaining is not done at department stores, but at smaller markets this is expected. When I was in Kong Kong I stayed at a cute boutique hotel called Mingle Place in Kowloon.
Tea Shop, Luoho Commercial City
Tourist Souvenirs, Luoho Commercial City
3. Luoho Commercial City in Shenzhen. This shopping centre is not in Hong Kong, but just over the border in Mainland China. The shopping centre right on the border, and is easily accessed by train. You will need to obtain a visa at the border. Luohu Commercial city is six levels of shopping heaven, with tiny shops selling shoes, clothes, souvenirs, and electronics. Most of these are rip-off’s which can’t be sold in Hong Kong. Keep your wits about you, and do not buy anything off anyone who is not in a shop. I had a funny experience buying a pair of shoes that I liked, after we had agreed on the price, the seller asked me if I wanted them in Lois Vuitton, so I asked to have a look. This kid then scrambled up the shelving like a monkey, removed a few roof tiles, and starting throwing down pairs of fake shoes. I really enjoyed this, but found the haggling and people pushing their product on you very exhausting. One peaceful haven I did find was a quite tea shop (pictured above). I really recommend a trip to a peaceful temple after experiencing the madness of Luohu Commercial City.
Star Ferry, with Hong Kong island in the background
4. Star Ferry. The ferries run back and forth across the harbour between Kowloon and Hong Kong every 10 minutes. The star ferry network carries 26 million passengers a year, and is also the most cost effective way to cross the harbour at only HK$2.20 each way. The Star Ferry is the cheapest tourist attraction in Hong Kong. My favorite trip was at sunset watching the city light up.
Local chili snails. Yum
Food Market, Nathan Road
5. Food. I am an adventurous eater, which made Hong Kong the perfect travel destination. Kowloon offers street stalls selling Dim Sum which is a staple of Hong Kong culinary culture. I also enjoyed the many Chinese bakeries selling traditional pastries, great if you are on the run. Hong Kong also offers many fine dinging options, with both traditional and western foods available. Tsing Tao, a Chinese beer made to a German recipe is best enjoyed in the Felix Bar which is at the top of the Peninsula Hotel with glittering city views. The men’s restroom is also not-to-miss experience. On my first night in Hong Kong, i was really daring and ordered a plate of local chili snails with a cold beer. They were delicious, but I am glad that I did not get sick because the rest of the trip would have been terrible.