Home and work for over 15 million and one of the three most active business centers on the planet, Hong Kong also offers dozens of things to see and do for tourists. In fact, there’s no good place to start or end because there is so much more than could ever be experienced within a few days.
Visitors could start by getting a good workout followed by a spectacular sight. No, walking up Victoria Peak isn’t a good idea. But climbing the 431 steps to reach the Temple of 10,000 Buddhas is. It actually delivers more than it offers – a Hong Kong habit – by containing 12,800 statues of the Buddha. And don’t miss the holy man mummy covered with gold leaf.
If 431 is overdoing it, try the 268 steps to reach the Big Buddha on Lantau Island. After seeing the world’s largest seated Buddha, completed in 1993, you can relax and have a great lunch at the Polin Monastery. Then take your time walking down the 33m (110 foot) height.
On the Kowloon Peninsula, just across from Hong Kong Island there are dozens of sights, including some spectacular museums.
You can wander the neighborhood and see the Hong Kong area pretty much the way it has been for 200 years. The stalls may offer the latest cell phones, but the ambiance is definitely old-world.
After soaking up some of the local culture, take a stroll over to the Hong Kong Heritage Museum. This excellent facility gives visitors a great overview of Chinese art in all its forms from comic strips to opera to painting and sculpture.
Take in the Lei Cheng Uk Branch Museum and see a Han Dynasty tomb from China’s ‘recent’ history, only 2,000 years old. It may be the oldest historical monument in Hong Kong, but that’s still young compared to some of the 4,000 year old civilizations elsewhere in China.
Then zoom into the modern world and check out the Hong Kong Science Museum. The hands-on exhibits will delight while they entertain. The same could be said for the Space Museum, which houses the local planetarium.
Take then the most famous 10-minute boat ride in Asia, the Star Ferry, over to Hong Kong Island and take in some more ancient Chinese art at the Hong Kong Museum of Art. Located in the Hong Kong Cultural Center, it holds over 2,000 Chinese antiques.
Finally take a breather from all the metropolitan hustle and bustle and stroll through the Hong Kong Park in the Central district. Sit by the pond and watch the birds or wander through the stellar aviary to see even more variety. Have a meal at the open-air restaurant and rest your feet.
If you’re not quite fully refreshed, take a leisurely walk to a site about 10 minutes away and visit the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens.
Then catch a taxi to the tram that leads up to the top of Victoria Peak. This funicular railway (a cab suspended by cables) leads up the steep mountain to the area of $10 million homes owned by the richest of Hong Kong’s rich. Enjoy the sight they see from their balconies and look out over Hong Kong and the harbor.
Whether seen by day or night the lush, ancient hills and the harbor contrast beautifully with the ultra-modern skyscrapers for a view duplicated nowhere else.
As you stand there dreaming of a glorious future – another Hong Kong habit – you can soak up some memories of one of the world’s great cities.