It’s ever more impressive skyline! In 2010, the CNN declared the Hong Kong skyline as the most beautiful on the planet, better slightly than even New York’s Mahattan skyline. This is because Hong Kong’s skyline is layered; the beautiful buildings when viewed from the river, are framed by an equally enchanting mountain range.
It’s deep natural harbour! Victoria Harbour is a famous natural landform harbour between HK island and the Kowloon Peninsula. It lies directly in the middle of two densely urban areas continues its important and historical role as a port for thousands of sea vessels. Major public shows occur throughout the year here, the most famous of which is the daily government sponsored Symphony Of Lights.
It’s lively, uncountable markets! Colourful and bustling with activity, there are no limits to what Hong Kong markets will cater to. Antiques, birds, jade, garments, art and counterfeits of all of these and more are offered here. Bargaining is a must; you’ll easily get most goods upto 33% cheaper than the quoted price.
Hong Kong’s weather is distinctly divided into seasons. Spring is pleasant and foggy, summer is hot and rainy, autumn is cool and windy and the winter is cold but sunny. Temperatures range from a low of 10C to 30 C, averaging 20 C annually. Days with higher than 30 C temperatures number 100+; less than 10 C number about 30. Average humidity is 81.5%.
Spring (March – May) is nicely mild and temperate at first, but ends with the wettest weather of the year. This temperamental time can deliver clear skies and black thunderstorms within hours. Bring those umbrellas everywhere.
Summers (June – August) are hot, wet and humid. Visitors beware: this is typhoon season! There are bound to be some truly impressive storms. Shirts and shorts are sensible, but you might want to consider long sleeves if you sunburn easily. Swimming is everyone’s favorite activity during this time.
Autumn (September – November) travel offers the best experience in Hong Kong. The season has the best balance in daily temperatures. T-shirts and shorts will suit the days you stroll around, but pack light sweaters for the evenings.
Winters (December – February) are mild, but can be frosty on rare occasions. Crisp air and clear skies make for a pleasant contrast to summer. Coats, sweaters and light jackets are recommended.
Hong Kong is accessible by air, water and road. The Hong Kong International Airport is widely acknowledged as the world’s best airport and is catered to by flight from all continents. From the airport you can get to the island by train or taxi. While departing, it’s actually better to get to the neighbouring city of Macau and use the international airport there, which is far cheaper. Hong Kong is connected to the mainland and Macau by ship and ferry. It’s possible to get to Hong Kong from the mainland, but there are multiple checkpoints to cross on the way.
In the city itself, if you’re going to be there for a while, it’s best to get yourself an Octopus Card, which will provide you with complete access to Hong Kong’s transport system, not to mention some worthwhile discounts. A card requires a 50 HKD deposit and may be topped up from 150 HKD to 1000 HKD. Add Value Machines and Customer Service at MTR stations can top up the card. The MTR is underground, so while convenient, it will prevent you from enjoying the city views. The double decker city Trams, a.k.a “ding-ding’s”, are the cheapest, if bumpiest, transports the city has to offer, and cater to all tourist hotspots. You better carry the exact change though. Double decker buses, and red and green minibuses ply through most roads. The routes and rates for the former are available online. Red minibuses might not accept the Octopus Card, but will give you change, whereas the Green buses accept the card but wont give change. Taxis are pretty expensive, though the fastest way to your destination. Hong Kong is too dense to rent a car, and it’s too traffic heavy for bicycles. Downtown Hong Kong can be covered on foot.
Victoria Harbour! Whether it’s from the Peak, or the Star Ferry or the Sky 100, or from one of the many promenades along its side, the views of Victoria harbour are incomparable. The harbour shines bright at dusk, when the buildings light up, the mountains are silhouetted and the vibrant Symphony of Lights splashes its colours across the high rises.
Peak Tram! For almost one and a half centuries, this iconic tram has carried people to the Peak from the Central district and back. Steep and quick, it offers giddy views of Hong Kong’s natural wonders
Mongkok! This shopper’s paradise holds the distinction of being the world’s busiest district, at least according to the Guinness World Records. Its streets are some of the most colourful on the planet, and some, like the Ladies Street, and the Flower Market, have become tourist destinations of their own.
Kowloon Walled City! For over a hundred years, a slum had occupied this site of a Japanese fort. A long and arduous eviction effort by the government finally allowed a beautiful park to be laid in its place.
Repulse Bay! Once the refuge of pirates, the Bay gets its unusual name from the expulsion of the criminals of the bay by the British fleet. Today this artificially extended beach is highly popular among lovers and those seeking peace from the City's hustle-bustle.
Hong Kong offers places to stay across a wide range of prices, from 70 HKD for absolute budget travellers to HKD 800 for moderates. Backpackers may like to stay in Causeway Bay. For affluent travellers, there is no shortage of unique world class hotels, for which the rooms generally start at HKD 3000. The Youth Hostel Association here has seven guesthouses, most of which have a strict curfew; moreover, you’re expected to vacate the premises and not return till after 3 or 4 p.m..
A huge variety of Dim Sums, roasted Sui Mei pork and Conjee rice porridge are just a few of the eclectic culinary mixes to be found all over Hong Kong. The street food is safe and the seafood is very expensive. It’s important to remember that the Cantonese pay a lot more attention to the food than the décor, so the best food may be found in the most unassuming places.
Hong Kong has festivals for every season. The Chinese New Year, The Buddha’s Birthday, The Moon Festival, the Hungry Ghost Festival, Halloween and Christmas all reveal the different personalities of the city. You only have to choose your seasonal flavour, and go.
Chung Yeung Festival: Held in October.
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