From modern skyscrapers to the Hollywood walk of fame at Avenue of Stars, from magical journey at Disneyland to endless variety for shopping and gastronomic delights; Hong Kong’s diversity makes it a fascinating place to explore. Here are the five attractions which one should not miss when visit this glittering jewel of the Orient.
1. Avenue of Stars
Thanks to the efforts of Hong Kong’s movie industry over the past century, many in Asia and farther afield are familiar with the city’s sights before they’ve even set foot here. The Avenue of Stars pays tribute to the names that helped make Hong Kong the ‘Hollywood of the East’, while giving visitors a panoramic view of the city’s most iconic sight: its glorious skyline, dramatically set against The Peak. With commemorative plaques, celebrity handprints, descriptive milestones, movie memorabilia, a life-size statue of Kung Fu action hero Bruce Lee and a bronze rendering of popular cartoon character McDull, the Avenue of Stars fittingly sets the glamour of Hong Kong’s film industry against the captivating dazzle of Victoria Harbour. The atmosphere here is always lively, with around 30 performances, including music, drama and dance, organised each month. This is also the perfect vantage point to catch the “A Symphony of Lights” multimedia show.
If you t hought V ictoria H arbour was a dazzling cityscape on its own, hang around for A Symphony of Lights, which involves more than 40 buildings on both sides of the harbour.
Named as the ‘ world’s l argest permanent light and sound show’ by Guinness World Records, coloured lights, laser beams and searchlights perform in an unforgettable allround spectacle synchronised to music and narration that celebrates the energy, spirit and diversity of Hong Kong. There are five main themes in the show: Awakening, Energy, Heritage, Partnership and the final celebration.
2. The Peak
If there is only one thing you can do in Hong Kong, go to The Peak. If you have many things to do here, still go to The Peak. The highest point on Hong Kong Island, this has been the city’s most exclusive neighbourhood since colonial times – back then it was the cooler air that attracted the rich and famous; in the post air-conditioning era, the views of one of the world’s most spectacular cityscapes keep them coming. That view is also what makes
The Peak one of the most popular attractions in Hong Kong. By day your eyes stretch across sparkling skyscrapers and Victoria Harbour. The Peak Tower has a large viewing platform called Sky Terrace 428, in addition to dining and retail outlets. Nearby, The Peak Galleria has a free-entry observation deck, as well as shopping and dining options. In addition, riding the Peak Tram is a visual experience in its own right. Located also at the Garden Road Peak Tram Lower Terminus is The Peak Tram Historical G a l l e r y . Open in September 2007, the Gallery is like a time tunnel with more than 200 memorabilia exhibited. Divided into 15 theme sections, it will take you back to Hong Kong in the 19th and 21st century.
3. Theme parks
Hong Kong has many theme parks but the biggest two are Ocean Park Hong Kong and Hong Kong Disneyland. Opened in 1977, Ocean Park Hong Kong is a marine-life theme park featuring animal exhibits, thrill rides and shows. In 2012, its impressive ability to offer guests a world-class experience that blends entertainment with education and conservation was confirmed when it became the first Asian winner of the biannual Applause Award, the most prestigious award in the amusement and theme park industry. Here, the Waterfront and the Summit areas are connected by the Cable Car and Ocean Express funicular train.
Another one is the Hong Kong Disneyland. You can never be sure what mysteries will be unlocked during your visit to Mystic Point Hong Kong Disneyland’s latest and exclusive attraction. This summer, Lord Henry Mystic, an eccentric explorer has graciously opened his home to everyone. Here, visitors can ride in his latest invention, the ‘Mystic Magneto-Electric Carriage’, to view his acquisitions from around the world. At Mystic Point, you can’t always trust your senses. Discover for yourself what is real and what is not!
There are a lot more magical memories awaiting families in Hong Kong Disneyland, where you will embark on a magical journey through four themed lands: Main Street USA, Fantasyland, Adventureland and Tomorrowland. Mustsee attractions include Flights of Fantasy Parade, which will take you up, up and away on a sky-high celebration with your favourite Disney characters singing and dancing along Main Street USA; Mickey’s PhilharMagic in which Donald Duck relives the most memorable moments of Disney’s animated films in 3D; The Golden Mickeys, a Broadwaystyle musical show featuring Mickey and his friends; and also Fantasy Gardens where Mickey, Minnie and Goofy make surprise appearances to meet and greet with guests – so don’t forget your camera and autograph book.
4. Sensational shopping
Whether you are haggling for souvenirs at the Temple Street night market, checking out the footwear in Asia’s largest shoe department or wandering down streets lined with goldfish sellers, you can’t visit Hong Kong without shopping. When the sun goes down, the traders have already laid out their wares and the opera singers and fortune tellers begin to emerge. Welcome to the Temple Street Night Market, a popular street market, named after a Tin Hau temple located in the centre of its main drag. Trinkets, tea ware, electronics, watches, menswear, jade and antiques are scrutinised and haggled over, while claypot rice, seafood, noodles and other treats are consumed with gusto. The market is an enduring example of the theatre and festivity of a Chinese market. And it’s on show nightly.
Another one with over 100 stalls of bargain clothing, accessories and souvenirs is the Ladies’ Market on Tung Choi Street, which provides a onekilometre stretch on which to practise your haggling skills. It gets its name from the huge amount of clothing and accessories on sale for women of all ages; however, with watches, cosmetics, bags, home furnishings, CDs and trinkets also up for grabs, you don’t need to be just in the market for a pair of nylon stockings to find something within its crowded aisles.
5. Food & nightlife
With 11,000 restaurants, you could eat out three times a day for 10 years in Hong Kong and never eat at the same restaurant twice. Eat in a floating restaurant for a true Hong Kong experience or visit Tim Ho Wan in Mongkok for world-beating dim sum – with steamed pork buns. It is the cheapest Michelin-starred food in the world.
The phrase ‘living the high life’ takes on new meaning when you are 118 floors up at the Ritz-Carlton hotel’s Ozone bar. It’s the highest bar in the world, positioned at the top of the tallest hotel in the world and the views across Victoria harbour are stunning. Seen from the bar, over cocktails and Asian tapas, the city’s trademark skyscrapers look like a toy town. Hong Kong has plenty of places to party, but Lan Kwai Fong on Hong Kong Island, with its buzzing nightclubs and restaurants, is where most people head.