Country guides Asia
Hong Kong Travel Guide
Hong Kong occupies a unique position in the world, both culturally and geographically. Perched on the edge of mainland China, the city and its outlying territories flourished under British control for a century and then handed back to China in 1997. Today, the eclectic mix of British and Chinese culture has created a distinctive society of its own, as proud of its ancient history as it is focused on dominating the business world.
Hong Kong is known in tourist circles as a top shopping destination, and the crowded markets and shopping malls offer a selection of souvenirs ranging from jade jewellery to knockoff designer goods and custom-tailored suits. City life is a melting pot of traditions and peoples, evident in the diverse restaurants and nightlife pulsing beneath the bright neon lights.
But Hong Kong is not all skyscrapers and shopping malls: the Outlying Islands and New Territories are a sharp contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city, offering travellers serene landscapes of mountains and meadows dotted with hidden temples and traditional villages.
Best time to visit Hong Kong
While Hong Kong is considered a year-round destination, the best time to visit is generally from September to November, when the weather is warm and the rainy season has ended.
What to see in Hong Kong
-Visit the dramatic Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery.
-Spend a day on the beaches in Stanley.
-Watch a horse race in Sha Tin.
-Visit secluded monasteries on Lantau Island.
What to do in Hong Kong
-Take the funicular to the top of Victoria Peak.
-Spend a day in Hong Kong Disneyland.
-Go shopping in the Western Market.
-Stroll the gardens of the Wong Tai Sin Temple.
Getting to Hong Kong
There are plenty of direct flights to Hong Kong from London, and connecting service from other British cities. Direct flights to Hong Kong from the US are long, but are available primarily from the west coast and from major cities like New York and Chicago.
The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham, White Ghost Girls by Kate Greenway and The Monkey King by Timothy Mo.
Four Heavenly Kings
Chinese Box (1997) and The World of Suzie Wong (1960).
Hong Kong-style milk tea or Chrysanthemum tea.
What to buy
Jade jewellery, cloisonne and lacquerware, silk robes and custom-tailored suits.
What to pack
Pack comfortable closed shoes, as the streets of Hong Kong can often be wet and dirty. White sneakers are the mark of a tourist, so dark shoes are preferable.
What's on in Hong Kong
See enormous towers of iced buns at the spring Cheung Chau Bun Festival, while parades and fireworks are the highlight of the Chinese New Year celebrations. Hong Kong Summer Temptations are every shopper's dream with dozens of events and promotions.
Did you know?
-There are more cell phones than people in Hong Kong.
-Hong Kong has more skyscrapers than any other city in the world, with over 9,000 high-rise buildings.
A final word
Both fascinating and frenetic, Hong Kong's blend of ancient culture and modern amenities make for an unforgettable holiday.