Things to Do in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is certainly worthy of inclusion in your China vacation. It's best to spend at least a few days in Hong Kong, and with plenty of Hong Kong attractions to keep you busy, you could easily spend a week or more here. A collision of past and present, Hong Kong is a most interesting world destination, exuding both eastern and western tendencies. Hong Kong sightseeing is made easier by the city's extensive metro system, and stopping at one of the many lively street markets is always a joy as you tour about. You certainly won't want to miss the Temple Street Night Market come sundown. The region of Hong Kong is an excellent gateway to mainland China, so you might pair a visit here with trips inland to destinations such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Macau is just an hour's boat ride away from Hong Kong, so a side trip to the one-time Portuguese holding is always an option. Hanging out at the beach in Hong Kong is certainly a Hong Kong sightseeing endeavor that promises relaxation, and there are scores of Hong Kong sightseeing tours that are very well worth the time and money. Highlighted here are just some of the interesting things to do in Hong Kong during your upcoming trip.
Hong Kong Museum of History
There are a handful of great Hong Kong museums, but if you only have time for one, then the Hong Kong Museum of History should be your first choice. As is evident in the name, this museum traces Hong Kong's fascinating history, and if you can, you'll head here early in your trip. Learning about Hong Kong here before you explore further beyond is a great way to increase your understanding of the region as a whole. There are audio tours available in English at the Hong Kong Museum of History, and if you're lucky, you'll be able to catch one or more of the various historical documentary films in English.
The highest point in Hong Kong, Victoria Peak rises almost 1,300 feet into the sky, and it affords some truly stunning views of the sprawling metropolis below. Safe, reliable, and affordable trams take visitors to the summit of Victoria Peak, which is certainly one of the Hong Kong sightseeing hot spots. The 360-degree panoramic views from the rooftop viewing deck not only reveal the extensive skyscrapers, but also vistas of the South China Sea and the Kowloon peninsula. The Peak Tower, which is where the rooftop viewing deck is found, offers up shops, restaurants, and even a children's playground. Victoria Peak is certainly one of the Hong Kong attractions that families will want to include in their itineraries.
Wong Tai Sin Temple
Found in the Kowloon District, the Wong Tai Sin Temple is the most renowned Taoist temple in Hong Kong, and if are up for Hong Kong sightseeing, you won't want to miss this venerable attraction. Though the temple here is fairly young, at under 100 years old, it adheres to traditional Chinese architectural forms and designs, boasting red pillars and a golden roof. Many visitors to the Wong Tai Sin Temple engage in the Kau Cim fortune-telling practice, which involves kneeling before the main alter and shaking a container of sticks until one falls out. The first stick that falls out corresponds to the individual, and it is then interpreted by a temple representative, or soothsayer. It's quite an experience that is undeniably among the more unique things to do in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Museum of Art
Another one of the top Hong Kong museums, the Hong Kong Museum of Art is also worth moving to the top of your list of things to do in Hong Kong, especially if you are short on time. You'll enjoy some of the finest Chinese art in the world here, and some of the pieces date as far back as the 16th century. Also on display are contemporary pieces by local artists, the audio guided tours will certainly help you digest the museum's vast collection. Besides the exhibits on Chinese and Hong Kong art, there are also two revolving exhibits that often highlight European art trends. All in all, you can easily spend a few hours at this entry among the Hong Kong attractions.
The Hong Kong ferries are symbols of sorts for the region, and riding one across the Victoria Harbour is one of the cheapest and most rewarding Hong Kong sightseeing endeavors. With hundreds of crossings each day between Hong Kong and Kowloon, you'll certainly not have a problem securing a spot aboard one of them. The trip is a short one, lasting about 5 minutes, but the memories will last much longer than that. Some visitors book longer ferry trips to outlying islands, as they extend the sightseeing experience.
Hong Kong's Ocean Park
Families will certainly want to consider adding Ocean Park to their lists of things to do in Hong Kong, and it's just as ideal for individuals who like to keep in touch with their inner child.
You can catch live animal shows here, enjoy the rides at the amusement park, or take a trip trough the Dinosaur Discovery Trail. Ocean Park is the first accredited Asian member of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, which means you can expect a top notch experience here.
Hong Kong's Disneyland
The second Asian Disneyland after the one found in Tokyo, the Hong Kong Disneyland opened in 2005, and it's fast become one of the favorite family Hong Kong attractions. More or less, the Hong Kong Disneyland is a smaller version of the one in California, and you'll find signature themed lands here such as Main Street U.S.A., Adventureland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland. Though smaller than other Disneyland parks, expansion plans are in the works, and in 2008, the signature attraction, "It's a Small World," opened to the public. Though not exactly one of the Hong Kong attractions that is unique to the Chinese region, Hong Kong Disneyland is an excellent diversion for those looking to mix a little homespun fun into their trip.
The large Temple Street night market, located in Jordan on the Kowloon peninsula, is one of the most popular markets in Hong Kong, not least because of its proximity to the hotels and ferry terminals of Tsim Sha Tsui. It is recognizable due to the large red Chinese gate that presides over the entrance. The street stalls, which open around nightfall, are filled with curios, knock-off bags and watches, “new” antiques, cheap electronics, and men’s clothing. Temple Street is a bit of a tourist trap so be sure to bargain down any item you intend to buy. Even if you don’t want to buy any souvenirs, strolling down the crowded street and picking up a few Cantonese snacks is a great way to experience the street culture of Hong Kong.
Avenue of Stars
Located in the harbor district of Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon, Hong Kong’s Avenue of Stars is modeled on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. The stars are set into the promenade overlooking Victoria Harbor, and list famous Chinese movie stars such as Jackie Chan, Chow Yun Fat, and Jet Li. The promenade is an excellent place to pass an evening, as it is one of the prime locations for watching the sound and light show every evening across the harbor. Don’t miss the Bruce Lee statue along the Avenue of Stars, a bronze model of Hong Kong’s most famous export.
One of the most popular things to do in Hong Kong is to go shopping, and one of the best places to go to do that is Mong Kok. One of the oldest neighborhoods in Kowloon, Mong Kok boasts multiple street markets that are popular with locals and tourists alike. The flower market is a great place to pick up wholesale bouquets, and the nearby bird market is fun to walk through if only to admire the brightly feathered parrots, intricate round bamboo cages, and live crickets. On Fa Yuen Street, a vibrant clothing market caters to the young and trendy with stalls full of cheap clothing, overstock brand name labels, and accessories. Ladies’ Market is a bit of a tourist trap, but an interesting one nevertheless—it’s the best place to pick up silk brocade cheongsams, cheap ties and hosiery, knick-knacks, watches and souvenirs. Sai Yeung Choi Street has large numbers of electronics shops and bookstores.
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