About Hong Kong
Hong Kong. In our opinion, Asia’s most dynamic city. A place where ‘East meets West’ is more perfect a description than any other place on Earth, where the old sits comfortably alongside the new, encompassed within the most vibrant harbour the world has to offer.
Hong Kong is a sophisticated metropolis of more than six million people sharing an area of about 1,100 square kilometres, more mobile phones and pagers than you can imagine, and soaring skyscrapers that draw your eyes ever upwards.
Savour a thousand contrasting tastes, with dining experiences world renowned, or satisfy your hunger for style in the shopping capital of the world. Whether it’s Stanley Markets or the designer boutiques of Nathan Road, on offer is an overwhelming array of goods to suit any budget. With a vibrancy like no other, this is a city driven by the dollar. Hong Kong is the financial centre of Asia and the pursuit of business is central to all facets of life. This business hub has resulted in a distinctive collage of skyscrapers, of daring architecture, that forms a spectacular backdrop for one of the world’s wonders – the cityscape by night, seen from across Victoria Harbour, with Hong Kong’s mountain-perched buildings seemingly forming a curtain of crystal lights.
And also a diversity – from the bustling city centre to a peaceful countryside. Walking trails from the summit of the famous Peak offer a green view of Hong Kong that few are aware even exists. Repulse Bay, on the southern side of Hong Kong island, features picturesque beaches. Aberdeen is a sheltered bay that is home to a fleet of fishing trawlers and to glitzy floating restaurants. Trolley cars, ferries and subway trains are central to an efficient public transport system that assists visitors in discovering the delights of Central, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay or Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon. (And we still believe you just can’t beat the Star Ferry for one of the most spectacular ‘tours’ in the world!) Portuguese-settled Macau is just a short boat trip away, offering yet another diverse experience.
And of course, Hong Kong continues to grow… yet more investment sees new restaurants, venues, and products released every month as expansion pushes into the outlying islands. Hong Kong is an ever-evolving world class destination, and one that certainly warrants more than one visit. Once, in Hong Kong, is never enough…
Travelling in Hong Kong
When most people think of Hong Kong, they think of Victoria Harbour, with her red sailed junks gliding past modern high rise buildings, of Kung Fu movies, the Triad Secret Societies, and of crowded and noisy streets with soaring skyscrapers.
In reality, Hong Kong is all of this and much, much more.
With a surprise around every corner and over every hill, this tiny territory can be described as beautiful, chaotic and serene in the one sentence! The Hong Kong of the 21st century is one steeped in Chinese traditions, yet at the same time, one that is leading the world in technology.
Prior to the British occupation, Hong Kong was a sleepy fishing village, home to pirates and sea travelers. After 156 years of English rule, Hong Kong was handed back to China on July 1, 1997, with barely a whimper. The proportion of the population who were originally against the handover found themselves adjusting to their new way of life.
Today, life in Hong Kong is a wonderful mixture of east meets west, where the old and the new live happily side by side, and comprises of the following areas:
Destinations in Hong Kong
Hong Kong offers a host of memorable tourist attractions with popular attractions and sightseeing opportunities throughout the territory within its compact area. The Peak, Victoria Harbour and the Giant Buddha… You’ll find endless things to see and do on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon and the New Territories. Or take a ferry and explore the Outlying Islands. You’ll be amazed by the diverse contrasts and close proximity of stunning cityscapes and soaring mountains, heritage sites and extensive green countryside. Whether you are a vacationer, nature lover or cultural explorer, Hong Kong can cater for your every desire. Discover the myriad things to see and do in one of the most diverse and exciting destinations in the world.
Culture and heritage are what sets Hong Kong apart from the rest of Asia – indeed the world. With 150 years of colonial history and a largely Chinese population, Hong Kong is a unique fusion of Western and Eastern cultures where the old and the new live side by side. Its incense-filled temples, colonial buildings and glass-and-steel skyscrapers, along with its ancient traditions and lively festivals, have made Hong Kong a living culture experience. Hong Kong has a stunning array of glass, steel and marble-clad edifices that are monuments to modern architecture and some of the world’s top architects. But in this city of contrasts you’ll also find gems of colonial era architecture, some dating back more than 150 years.
Hong Kong’s diverse range of museums provides fascinating insights into the territory’s colourful history and development, and includes one dedicated to one-time resident and China revolutionary Dr Sun Yat-sen. Others cover art, history, heritage, antiquities, film, medical sciences, housing, police and much more. There are also museums of science, space, and such special interest subjects as tea ware.
For its size and population, Hong Kong is remarkably green. More than 70 per cent of its land mass is rural mountains, forests and outlying islands – all within easy reach of urban areas. You can enjoy city gardens and parks, or head out to a beach, hiking trail, or one of the many outlying islands and protected country parks.
Nature lovers will be amazed at Hong Kong’s diverse flora and fauna, including wetlands and bird sanctuary, marine parks and dolphins, along with several conservation projects. You can join the guided outdoor activities of Nature Kaleidoscope or make use of the detailed guide to discover the nature of Hong Kong.
You’ll also find a wide selection of sports activities, ranging from mountaineering and paragliding, to golfing and fishing.
Corporate Travel in Hong Kong
Hong Kong strategic location at the heart of the world’s fastest growing economies along with its sophisticated infrastructure, easy accessibility, business-friendly environment, professional expertise and vibrant lifestyle converge to become what is recognised as Asia’s premier destination for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions.
For Meetings & Incentives, Hong Kong is an excellent reward for a job well done. It offers numerous possibilities for venue, itinerary and team activities to maximize team performance. This melting pot of wonders will revitalise and recharge your incentive winners, motivating them for greater achievements when they return.
One of Hong Kong’s advantages for conventions is having such a wide selection of venues and hotels. Professional bodies and international organisations find the dynamic environment and proximity to Mainland China help attract participants of the highest calibre from all over the world, who have unbeatable opportunities to exchange knowledge and establish contacts in Mainland China and regionally.
The city is already home to some of the world’s biggest trade fairs, offering access to suppliers in Mainland China and Asia’s busiest manufacturing hubs, as well as showcasing the latest international technology and know-how to the huge Asian markets.
Such unrivalled attributes make Hong Kong the only place that can claim to be the premier MICE destination able to inspire, create and eventually converge unlimited possibilities to make your event a complete success.
Hong Kong Excursions
Hong Kong Orientation Tour
See all the highlights of Hong Kong Island on this orientation tour. It is a great way to get to know Hong Kong Island and its famous landmarks and history. The tour will start with a ride up Victoria Peak for panoramic views of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the surrounding islands. Then you’ll pass picturesque Repulse Bay on the way to Stanley Market and famous fishing village of Aberdeen.
Kowloon behind the scenes with dim sum lunch and dim sum cooking class
Start to experience Hong Kong’s living culture with a cup of “milk tea” brewed in a local Dai Pai Dong traditional open-air cafe. Jade Market to learn about this much-loved stone and hunt for souvenirs. Tin Hau Temple for a touch of Chinese culture. Shanghai Street is one of the city’s oldest streets where you’ll find shops selling traditional Chinese utensils, ceremonial items and traditional Chinese wedding gowns. The tour ends with a dim sum cooking class.
Old and New Hong Kong Walk
The contrast between the old and the new is one of Hong Kong’s greatest charms and the best way to explore it is on foot. This three-hour walk takes you to the heart of Central business district where historic buildings stand amids ultra modern office buildings, through and into the back streets of the old city of what was known as Victoria where modern Hong Kong began in 1841.
Step back into the mid-1800s. Across the New Territories, much of Hong Kong’s rich heritage has been restored to its former glory. The Heritage Tour gives you an amazing insight into a unique past that is a vivid contrast to the city of today.
Hong Kong Traditional Lifestyles Tour
Discover how traditional Eastern values live in harmony with the fast-paced Western influences in metropolitan Hong Kong. Start the day with a slow motion tai chi class. Then you’ll visit Lantau Link View Point where in addition to wonderful views of the Tsing Ma Bridge, you will learn how feng shui (wind and water) influence Hong Kong’s prosperity and vibrancy. The tour ends at a teahouse for a tea-making demo and etiquette session &8211; before sampling the famous Kung Fu tea.
Historic Hong Kong Tour
Visit to Hong Kong Island’s Nam Pak Hong, which is the heart of the territory’s wholesale dried seafood and medicinal herbs trade established more than a hundred years ago. Visiting the antique and handicrafts shops along at Hollywood Road and Cat Street, as well as Mo Temple. Proceed to central, where used to be called City of Victoria. End of this tour to take a memorable and scenic ferry ride across one of the most photographed harbour in the world on the legendary Star Ferry.
Discover Lantau Island
Go through the famous Tsing Ma Bridge, which is known as the longest road/rail suspension bridge in the world. Lantau Island is known for its unspoilt countryside. Visiting Ngong Ping 360 and Ngong Ping Village. The 20–25-minute journey offers breath-taking panoramic views encompassing the airport, South China Sea, lush mountains and fishing village, and the awe-inspiring Giant Buddha statue. You’ll also visit the famous Po Lin Monastery and enjoy vegetarian lunch similar to what the resident monks eat.
Dragon’s Back Hike (Tai Tam and Shek O Country Parks)
Hong Kong is remarkable because you can step from busy urban areas into peaceful countryside in less than an hour. That’s particularly true for the Dragon’s Back trail which Time Magazine declared as the Best Urban Hike in Asia (22 Nov 2004 Asia Issue). The trail is “the city’s finest and most surprising ramble”, the Time article says. “The glory of it all is that you’re so close to the city, but could hardly feel farther away.”
Horse Racing Tour
Experience one of Hong Kong’s most popular activities in style on the Come Horseracing Tour. This tour gives visitors the chance to spend either a day of racing at Sha Tin or an evening at Happy Valley in the plush comfort of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Members’ Enclosure enjoying all of the heart-stopping action. Nothing sets Hong Kong abuzz with excitement quite like the thrill of horseracing. The atmosphere is exhilarating, betting is feverish and there are potentially huge rewards.
Hong Kong Disneyland Tour
The world-class Hong Kong Disneyland theme park and resort is a must-visit on any trip to Hong Kong. Located on scenic Lantau Island, Disneyland offers magical experiences for the whole family, ranging from Broadway-style shows such as Festival of the Lion King and The Golden Mickeys, to hilarious 3D movie and musical adventures at Mickey’s Philharmagic. There are also the signature Disney attractions, photo-taking with your favourite Disney friends, spectacular fireworks and a parade that is sure to enthral the entire family.
Ocean Park Tour
Ocean Park never fails to impress. The outdoor escalator system is the second largest in the world and the cable-car ride to the headland provides unparalleled panoramic views of the south side of Hong Kong Island’s Riviera-like coastline and some of the 260 outlying islands of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Sailing
Get on the boat from Kowloon sweeps past some of Hong Kong᾿s most famous landmarks in Central. Around Victoria Harbour while enjoying a Hong Kong’s magnificent harbour and city views. This cruise also takes you to Shau Kei Wan typhoon shelter where local fishermen moor their fishing boats and it concludes with the firing of the legendary Noon Day Gun at Causeway Bay. Then go south to Lamma Island following seafood lunch and visiting Fisherfolk’s Village.
Harbour cruise with Symphony of Lights Show
Get on the junk, which offers a unique venue for sea lovers who wants to enjoy the true Hong Kong experience of a old Chinese sailing boat featuring Symphony of Lights Show with canap?s and cocktails.
Rock ‘n’ roll through Hong Kong
Slow down and add a touch of charm to the trip with an antique tram tour. Trundle across Hong Kong Island and through time at a leisurely pace. This unique mode of transportation travels from the old town in Sheung Wan, immersing passengers in the sights and sounds of days gone by.
Open Top Bus Ride
Snap the perfect picture from an open-top bus. Feel the spirit and the rush of energy from the people below as the towering skyscrapers rush by above. From the top of the open-top-bus, the sights, sounds and smells of the city rush to greet you.
Macau, Shenzhen and Nearby Locations
The neighbouring enclave of Macau may now be best known for its multiple casinos, but a tour there is also an excursion to a Mediterranean town with historical and cultural flair. A 55-minute jetfoil boat ride across the South China Sea and the Pearl River estuary whisks visitors into Macau, located on the western side of the Pearl River Delta.
The Shenzhen Special Economic Zone lies just across the Hong Kong boundary with Mainland China. The morning tour includes a stop at Dafen oil painting village. In the afternoon, visitors have the option of touring one of three theme parks in Shenzhen: Splendid China, the China Folk Culture Village and Windows of the World; or shopping at Lo Wu city mall.
Hong Kong History
The bustling city of Hong Kong was just a collection of fishing villages when claimed by Britain in 1842 following the First Opium War with China. This failed attempt by the Ching Dynasty to stop the British trading in opium led to Hong Kong being ceded to Britain under the Treaty of Nanking that year. The Kowloon Peninsula was handed over in 1860 and a 99-year lease on the New Territories, comprising the area north of Kowloon up to the Shenzhen River plus 235 outlying islands, was granted in 1898.
Under the unique principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems’, Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty on 1 July 1997 as a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. This arrangement allows Hong Kong to enjoy a high degree of autonomy, retaining its capitalist system, independent judiciary and rule of law, free trade and freedom of speech.
Hong Kong’s magnificent harbour has been the key to its development as a trading port and entrepôt for China, progressing through an industrial era to become a leading financial and services centre in Asia. The unique blend of eastern and western influences, matched by diverse attractions and stunning countryside, has also made Hong Kong Asia’s prime tourist destination.
Art and Culture
Hong Kong is a kaleidoscope of life; a sophisticated fusion of East and West; a city of diversity where new and old meet at every turn, that cannot be seen in mainland China. It is a unique experience shaped by a distinctive past and dreams of the future; an age-old synthesis of cultures and traditions that opens a window into what will be, while embracing what has passed.
Religion and Beliefs
Hong Kong is a multicultural and secular city with a multiracial population living in harmony. Tolerance for the customs and traditions of all religions and ethnic groups is part of the city’s cosmopolitan philosophy. People are free to openly worship according to their own beliefs.
There are three prominent religions in Hong Kong. These are Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. Buddhism originally came from India and Confucianism originated in China. Besides these three major religions some other minor religions also exist in Hong Kong. These are Islam, Christianity, Shamanism, Dongba religion of the Maxi people and also the Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
Hong Kong can be termed as a religious city in China. You can see various temples, monasteries and shrines of various religions spread out all over the city of Hong Kong. Among the 600 temples in Hong Kong, most are Buddhist or Taoist temples. These temples are really beautiful and full of activities all the time. People in this city also have faith in various Chinese Deities along with Buddha. You should also not be shocked if you see shrines in the stores and offices in Hong Kong. Kitchen God is another very famous Deity worshipped in Hong Kong.
Flavours of Hong Kong
Hong Kong has a world of exquisite, mouth-watering international dining options.
As you would expect, good Chinese restaurants are found everywhere in Hong Kong. Some of the best can be found in major hotels and shopping complexes. Most specialise in one or more of the following: Cantonese, Chiu Chow, Peking, Shanghainese, Szechuan & Hunan, Chinese Vegetarian or Chinese Festive Foods & Chinese Wine.
As an international city, many cultures and tastes are represented in Hong Kong’s world of dining. Enjoy five-star haute cuisine, fast-food, snacks or casual family-style meals in some of Hong Kong’s Eastern and Western restaurants. Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Indonesian, Malaysian and Filipino restaurants make for a pleasant change from Chinese food, as do Japanese sushi bars and fine restaurants. The Western culinary traditions are well represented with American, French, Italian, Mediterranean and other cuisines for those with a penchant for western fare or Mexican makes for a spicy alternative.
Not only is Hong Kong the Culinary Capital of Asia but also a place where you can dine in style with incredible views, overlooking the harbour, or savour the joy of Hong Kong signature dishes and regional Chinese delicacies while gazing at the stunning skyline. Local must-try dishes are dim sum and fresh seafood, with some of the top examples found in Best of the Best award-winning restaurants.You’ll love all that Hong Kong cooks up.
Dim sum is a wide range of delightful Chinese snacks served in bamboo baskets accompanied by Chinese tea. Having dim sum in Hong Kong is a unique experience you shouldn’t miss.
For a distinctive culinary experience, try the fresh seafood. The freshness is guaranteed as you can select live fish from tanks at the restaurant. Whether you like steamed, fried or grilled seafood, try it cooked Hong Kong-style!
A very common and sophisticated way to greet others is to shake hands, irrespective of men, women and children. It is a traditional gesture in Hong Kong. However you may find a little difference between the handshakes in Hong Kong and the handshakes in Western countries. In the Western countries, the handshakes are firmer in comparison of Hong Kong. When it comes to greet a person, the aged persons get priority before the younger ones and women get priority before the men. Most of the customs and etiquettes in Hong Kong reflect the Cantonese influence. The people of Hong Kong are vastly educated and also influenced by the western habits and traditions. Family values are important part of the Hong Kong etiquette. Every single person reflects the prestige, education and reputation of his family. A person has to carry two parts of name. One is the family name and the other is the given name, where the family name is put before the given name.
There are some other things also that you must keep in mind while visiting the city of Hong Kong. A very important fact is that people in Hong Kong are very much reserved in nature and they consciously avoid any form of physical touch. Hugging or kissing is not considered as greeting ways, except handshakes. Again, while asking for the bill, Chinese people use their hand in a gesture of writing. Another thing is that, to call someone, Chinese people never use their index finger; rather they stretch their hands and wave the palms.
Dining in Hong Kong also involves a number of etiquettes. The most important of them all is the use of chopsticks. There are some other etiquettes also, related to dining. People of Hong Kong never turn a fish over. Every time they dine, they always keep a place empty for a guest, whom they consider to be a virtual and will not come ever.
Holidays and Festivals
There is an abundance of festivals throughout the year all over Hong Kong, with the most obvious being the Chinese ones. The most celebrated are Chinese New Year, Ching Ming Festival, Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival. Most are made public holidays, but there are also some religious festivals and traditions that are celebrated even though not themselves public holidays.
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is one of the most celebrated festival in Hong Kong. This is such a big festival that most shops and small restaurants will be closed on those 3 days and some up to 8 days. Many industries, particularly printing and construction, tend to close for even longer as many of the works are from the Mainland of China and will take long trips back to their home towns during this time to visit family.
Every year there are big markets in many districts in Hong Kong. The biggest one is probably the one in Victoria Park in Causeway Bay. The market typically runs a few days before the lunar new year and last until dawn of the first lunar new year day. The day before the lunar new year is the busiest and most crowded moment for the market. Flower kiosks occupy half of the market, selling peach blossoms, chrysanthemum, daffodils, orchids and various kinds of flowers are available. Snacks, toys and various kinds of junk occupy the rest of the market. Chinese New Year is also celebrated with spectacular display of fireworks in Victoria Harbour.
Ching Ming Festival
The Ching Ming festival is celebrated in April and is known as “Remembrance of Ancestors Day”. This day is devoted to honouring relatives who died. Thousands of Chinese visit cemeteries to clean the graves of their loved ones. The Chinese hold great respect for their ancestors and the young are taught to pray to, and for, the family spirits. Food like roasted suckling pig, steamed chicken, fruit and wine are offered during the ceremony.
The “willow” is regarded as the symbol of light and enemy of darkness in Chinese culture. On Ching Ming, some superstitious people even carry willow branches with them or hang it on the front door. It’s believed that willows help to get rid of evil spirits, when Ching Ming is one of the days that ghosts and spirits wander about.
Dragon Boat Festival
The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival is undoubtedly one of Hong Kong’s most popular events, drawing thousands of spectators and racing teams from across the globe. The popularity of this event is growing at a surprising rate throughout the world but especially in the USA, Canada and Europe.
The sport itself dates back some 2,000 years and has as its origins an ancient Chinese legend. As the story goes, there was a well-loved statesman and poet by the name of Qu Yuan who lived in the Kingdom of Chu during the 4th century B.C. Although this popular figure was a favorite of the people, he found himself banished from the court at the advice of corrupt officials.
Unhappy and in deep despair, Qu Yuan roamed the countryside writing poetry about his love of the country and its people. Unable to bear his sorrow any longer, or perhaps as a final protest against corruption and a plea to the Emperor, Qu Yuan drowned himself in the Mi Lo River.
Local fishermen raced out in their boats in an attempt to save him but arrived too late. In order to lure fish away from the body, they beat the water with their paddles and tossed rice dumplings into the river.
Mid-Autumn Festival or Moon Festival takes place on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. Chinese people believe that on that day, the moon is the biggest, roundest and brightest. And the term round implies family reunion in Chinese. So the Moon Festival is a festival for members of a family to get together wherever it is possible.
“Mooncakes” are also an important part of the festivities. Many years ago in the 14th Century, a revolt against the Mongols developed, and messages of the revolution were written on paper, then baked into the cakes. The secret messages were smuggled to the revolutionists. Things are much tamer now, and the mooncakes are given to friends and relatives during the festival. These pastries are a mixture of ground lotus, mashed beans, sesame seeds and dates.
Traditionally, children carried lanterns of animal shapes lit by candles. As darkness approaches, the hills of Hong Kong, Victoria Park, the Peak, and the beaches are shimmering with the glow of lantern lights. It seems as though a sprinkling of stars have descended on Hong Kong.
Other entertainment and leisure activities
Opera is an important part of Chinese culture for hundreds of years. Certain shows in rural areas can last anywhere from 3 – 4 hours to five days. The music played in Chinese opera is too, somewhat interesting to people outside the societal boundary. The Chinese use a lot of glittering costumes and heavy makeup is applied on the faces of the actors/actresses.
Film industry is well known to foreign countries. Hong Kong produces more films than any other part of China put together. Although censorship under British rule did exist, it was light, and Hong Kong grew up to be one of the movie capitals of Asia. Hong Kong produces a large number of films of the human-interest sort.
Leisure and culture provide opportunities for the people of Hong Kong to enrich the quality of their lives. The Government nurtures an environment in which freedom of creativity, pluralistic development of the arts, sporting excellence and recreation for the community can thrive.
Hong Kong hosts a variety of cultural and leisure events, including the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Hong Kong International Film Festival, International Arts Festival, Thematic Arts Festival, the Hong Kong Flower Show and traditional festival celebration programmed.
Festivals through the year
- New Year, Lunar New Year, Birthday of Che Kung, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Hong Kong City Festival
- Yuen Siu(Spring Lantern Festival)
- Ching Ming (Rembrance of Ancestors), Birthday of Tin Hau, Hong Kong International Film Festival
- Cheung Chau Bun, Easter
- Birthday of the Buddha, Birthday of Tam Kung
- Dragon Boat Festival (Tuen Ng), Birthday of Kwan Tai
- Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day
- Maidens (Seven Sisters) Festival, Yue Lan (Hungry Ghost) Festival
- Mid-Autumn Festival, Monkey God Festival, Chinese Opera Fortnight