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Content and photos courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board

Basic information

  • Area: 1,104 km2 (426 sq mi)
  • Calling Code: +852
  • Currency: Hong Kong dollar (HKD)
  • Population (EST): 7,184,000
  • Official language: Chinese, English
  • Time Zone: HKT (UTC+8)

10 Reasons to Visit Hong Kong

1. Hong Kong is a city of the past and present. Not only is it rich with history and traditions, but it's also a thriving, modern cosmopolis that is truly an exciting place to visit. One of the top reasons to visit Hong Kong is to simply get a live view of its skyline. With its soaring skyscrapers in contrast to the surrounding forested mountains, it's an image no traveler will soon forget. Hong Kong is home to the most numerous skyscrapers in the world, (approximately 1,200) and that's nearly double that of New York City.

2. The neighborhood known as Mong Kok resides within Hong Kong, and it just happens to be the most densely populated neighborhood in the world with 300,000 people per square mile. This may make it seem as though it weren't ideal to visit, but that would be a mistake. With the bustling foot traffic, and sumptuous food and entertainment, it would be a mistake to pass Mong Kok up. The famous street markets are the highlight of this part of town. The Ladies Market in particular is where people like to shop for things like trinkets, souvenirs, and handbags.

3. Even with its rich history, Hong Kong stands today as one of the most modern cities on the planet. But it's the way that Hong Kong is still in touch with its past that makes the city so fascinating and stimulating. One can still find ancient Chinese festivals taking place year round. However, a good time to catch one these rituals is in autumn. The Autumn Festival, otherwise known as the Moon Festival, celebrates the Moon Goddess of Immortality. Enjoy a moon cake and release flaming paper lanterns into the sky, and you'll be celebrating like a Chinese native.

4. Authentic Chinese food is not quite the same as one finds in the UK, and a taste of the real thing is something no traveler will soon forget. Dim sum can be found on every corner in Hong Kong. It's a cuisine that comes in many different flavors, either steamed or fried, and can been enjoyed from a food cart or a fine restaurant. The Cantonese food is another culinary highlight of the city.

5. Hong Kong is tremendously unique in that there's a way to escape the concrete jungle and visit the beautiful outdoors. The north portion of Hong Kong is comparable to Tokyo, in that it's a huge explosion of people, restaurants, buildings, shoppes, and entertainment. However, southern Hong Kong is a different story. After a short 15 minute bus ride, one can enjoy the freedom from the crowds, and the open, peaceful scenery. Explore small towns, enjoy local dining, and stroll the beaches and hiking trails that abound.

6. What better reason to visit a city than duty free shopping? Hong Kong is a free port, and what this means for those who love to shop is that there are no import taxes or sales taxes on the items that they purchase. Even with this tremendous advantage, there are wonderful bargains to be found in Hong Kong on some amazing brands. In fact, shoppers flock from mainland China every day to take advantage of the deals to be found in Hong Kong.

7. Sunday is not just a day of rest in Hong Kong, (however much it can be said that the city ever rests) but it's also a day of feasting. Sunday brunch is so immensely popular in Hong Kong, as are traditional tea sets. The Top Deck Restaurant is particularly popular amongst weekend travelers and businessmen enjoying a much-deserved day off. Located on top of the Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Aberdeen, the all-you-can-eat buffet and all-you-can-drink Champagne make sundays in Hong Kong something to truly look forward to. From the restaurant there's also a tremendous view of the marina and mountains surrounding the city.

8. Hong Kong is, of course, an island itself, but it's also surrounded by over 200 smaller islands that all contribute to the culture and experience of the main island. Here is where one finds rural Hong Kong. Take for example Lantau Island and it's famous Buddha stature and 360 degree cable car. A 25 minute, exhilarating ride up the car brings passengers to the iconic, mountaintop Buddha. This definitely a site not to be missed.

9. Tai Long Wan bay is a spectacular, natural destination within Hong Kong. Located within Sai Kung East Country Park, the rolling vistas, crystal blue waters, and mountain trails make the bay irresistible. One will also come across old villages; white, sandy beaches, and romantic waterfalls. Tai Long Wan translates to "big wave bay", and its four beaches are ideal for camping, swimming, and surfing.

10. As is necessary in a large, bustling city, there are many forms of public transportation in Hong Kong. However, the city is famous for some marvelous ways to get around that are attractions unto themselves. Take for instance the beloved Star Ferry crossing Victoria Harbour. The ferry has been active for over 100 years. The Peak Tram is another sensational ride not to be missed, as are the regular street trams that keep this bustling city moving where it needs to go.

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