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Hong Kong Holidays

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Hong Kong Holidays

Hong Kong is an extraordinary, vibrant destination that perfectly blends bustling city life with natural beauty and breathtaking scenery. During a visit to Hong Kong be sure to sample the local food, take a shopping trip, maybe even a cruise to the outlying islands. There is nowhere on earth quite like Hong Kong, which is reason enough to visit.

Hong Kong is a place where traditional culture exists in harmony alongside cool neighbourhoods; where trendsetting bars, restaurants and galleries nestle amongst family-run food stalls, temples and colourful street art. When you want to slow the city pace, get off the beaten track with one of Hong Kong’s incredible hiking trails, or unwind on the picturesque outlying islands. It is the perfect gateway for travellers to Southeast Asia and China, providing a smooth transition from west to east.

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Detailed City Overview

Detailed Hong Kong Overview

The challenge of a holiday in Hong Kong is to have enough time to fit in all the aspects of this exciting city of contrasts. There are some things not to be missed during a Hong Kong holiday, and these include the food, the superlative shopping, a cruise to the outlying islands, and spending some quiet moments in the natural setting of a peaceful park. There is nowhere on earth quite like Hong Kong, which reasons enough for anyone to travel here.

Hong Kong offers a dense concentration of stores and shopping malls with a cross-pollinated, cosmopolitan culture that embraces the Chinese and British cuisines with equal enthusiasm. It is the perfect gateway for travellers to Southeast Asia and China, providing a smooth transition from west to east. As one of the key economies of the Pacific Rim, Hong Kong Island showcases a gleaming landscape of skyscrapers and attracts droves of business travellers.

The city of Hong Kong, despite its surviving traditional enclaves, feels delightfully futuristic; the glittering night-time skyline is one of the most iconic in the world. It is a booming business hub, a fashion centre and a celebrated foodie destination and the diversity of its population and cultural influences adds hugely to its unique appeal. In addition to all its impressive sightseeing attractions travellers will be happy to discover just how well everything seems to work in Hong Kong; most notably, the efficient transport system makes getting around a pleasure.

Getting Around

With one of the best public transport systems in the world and a compact city centre, getting around Hong Kong is easy enough for even inexperienced travellers. The underground Mass Transit Railway (MTR) is efficient and inexpensive. Double-decker and single-decker buses cover all of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories with final destinations displayed in both English and Chinese. Bus fares are low and distance-based; exact change is required. Small mini-buses are more expensive but also more flexible, stopping for passengers to board or disembark on request. Hong Kong's old-fashioned trams are also a cheap and convenient way of getting around. On the water, fleets of ferries connect Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the Outlying Islands. Last but not least there is an abundant supply of taxis, colour-coded according to their area of operation. Taxi fares are low, but many drivers don't speak English and visitors are advised to have their destination written down in Chinese characters.

Nightlife

Hong Kong is renowned for its jam-packed nightlife and the city covers all its bases for after-dark entertainment, with a feisty nightclub scene, lots of good live music, and some world-class performing arts for more sophisticated tastes.

The Central district's Lan Kwai Fong is known for having one of the biggest drinking crowds in Hong Kong and the bars to sustain it and is also a well-known people watching spot. SoHo has a number of ethnic bars and restaurants, and off-the-path Knutsford Terrace is popular for its open-fronted bars and cafes.

Live music has become a standard feature of so many restaurants, cocktail lounges, and bars in Hong Kong that actively seeking it out is seldom necessary. The Fringe Club is Hong Kong's most well-known venue for all things alternative and live acts can be seen here on most weekends, for a price. As it gets later and more alcohol is consumed, most of Hong Kong's small bars tend to evolve into raucous nightclubs while trendy dance clubs impose a strict dress code and often only grant entrance to members.

Those looking for a quieter night out may enjoy seeing Chinese opera, performed at City Hall in the Central district and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui. The Hong Kong Ballet Company and various theatre groups also stage performances throughout the year, though the highlight of the arts calendar is definitely the Hong Kong Arts Festival in February and March.

To find out what's happening in Hong Kong, pick up a copy of the weekly What's On Hong Kong from any HKTB branch; or the free HK Magazine, distributed weekly at restaurants and bars.

Shopping

Hong Kong is considered by some to be the shopping capital of the world. Two factors translate this bold claim into reality: firstly, all goods, other than alcohol and tobacco, are tax-free; secondly, there is an unparalleled concentration of high-quality goods and vigorous competition. The customer is king here, and with a credit card, in hand, you can rule this shopping empire like nowhere else on earth.

Best buys include jewellery and wrist watches, especially pieces using gold, jade and pearl; and custom clothing and haute couture. Electronics, gadgets, and audio-visual gear like cameras and iPods are not the deals they once were, but you may still find some good prices.

The most popular shopping districts in Hong Kong include Causeway Bay, which contains giant department stores like Sogo and WTC More; the Central district, with high-end boutiques and haute couture; the Admiralty, with a number of shopping malls; and the Peak area, which has an abundance of souvenir shops and brand-name stores. Mongkok is the place to go for bargain shopping on clothing and electronics, but be aware of what you're buying as many products do not come with warranties.

The contrast between the gleaming modern stores and old-world markets gives variety and excitement to a Hong Kong shopping experience. Don't miss Stanley Market's historic fishing lanes, filled with vendors selling Chinese handicrafts and silk creations (a great place to buy gifts and souvenirs); Yuen Po Street's melodious Bird Garden is a magnet for songbird owners; while Hong Kong's Flower Market is a bright and busy scene that makes for wonderful photo opportunities. The Ladies' Market in Tung Choi Street is renowned for its handbags, but the touts are just as famous for their pushiness. Other great markets include the Temple Street Night Market and Jardine's Crescent. There are several regular Hong Kong weekend markets that have great shopping opportunities as well.

Sightseeing

Although best known for its shopping and restaurants, there is plenty to see and do in Hong Kong apart from shop and eat. The best way to see the city is on foot. It's compact and there are plenty of alleys and interesting detours to explore. When you tire of walking, hop onto the extensive metro system, or catch a ferry into the harbour. Public transport is extremely good in Hong Kong and getting around is easy.

One of the highlights of your sightseeing experience is the exciting contrast between the ultra-modern urban side of Hong Kong, evidenced by the soaring skyscrapers and luxury shops, and the old-world charm of centuries-old temples like Wong Tai Sin and the thriving traditional markets.

The heart of the city is the bustling Central district, where Western Market and many corporations and gleaming malls are situated. Over to the east are the Wan Chai and Causeway Bay districts where many top restaurants and nightclubs can be found. For museums visit the Kowloon peninsula, and for a glimpse of traditional Chinese culture head out by ferry to Aberdeen and the outer islands.

Ambitious sightseers should get their hands on an HKTB Museum Pass which gives unlimited admission to a host of museums and provides discounts in the museum shops. Valid for one week, the pass is available from HKTB offices and participating museums.

There are many wonderful attractions just outside of Hong Kong and the city is a great base for excursions and day-trips so be sure to check out what is close by when planning your itinerary.

Hong Kong for Kids

Bustling Hong Kong may seem best suited as a holiday destination for adults but this fun city also has more than enough to entice and amuse kids. Children on holiday in Hong Kong will be enthralled by a medley of zoos, museums and markets, not to mention the incredible theme parks and amusement parks to visit. And then there are nearby beaches, islands and nature reserves to explore.

There are a number of museums for kids to enjoy in Hong Kong, including the Hong Kong Science Museum and the Hong Kong Toy Library, which is situated on the second floor of Central Library. Children can learn about traditional Chinese culture in Aberdeen and the outer islands, which are also very picturesque. Other adventures include the fun-filled Victoria Harbour tours, while Central Hong Kong and Kowloon have markets where children's clothes and toys can be found. Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park will thrill children for whole days, and the inner-city Kowloon Park is a great place for kids to let off some steam on a day of urban sightseeing.

The best time of year to take children to Hong Kong, with good weather for outdoor activities and attractions, is between October and December when the days are warm, sunny and dry, and the evenings are comfortably cool. Children's Day is celebrated in Hong Kong on 4 April each year, very festive time for families to visit.

Eating Out

Hong Kong is best known for its outstanding Cantonese cuisine and the freshest ingredients and finest chefs can be found here. The city's cosmopolitan nature also ensures that there is a dynamic mix of other cuisines. Sushi joints abound, as do pasta houses, bakeries, sandwich shops and just about every other style of food you can imagine.

One experience you should not miss is trying the local dim sum. These are delicious, mouth-watering snacks prepared in steaming bamboo baskets and eaten as breakfast or lunch along with copious amounts of Chinese tea. The typical dim sum includes favourites like steamed pork buns, shrimp dumplings, beef balls and pan-fried squid with spicy salt.

Hong Kong residents generally eat five times per day and most meals are eaten outside the home. Meals are typically small and always accompanied by a generous portion of carbohydrates such as rice or (noodles). For the visitor, this means plenty of places to snack and experience a diversity of dishes in one day.

In a Chinese restaurant, waiters will commonly bring tea, condiments and snacks to your table, which will be added to the bill. Most restaurants will automatically add 10 per cent to your bill as gratuity. During Chinese New Year, this charge may be a bit higher. Make reservations whenever possible, especially over lunchtimes.

Local Information

Language

The official national language in Hong Kong is Cantonese. 

Local time

Hong Kong is 8 hours ahead of United Kingdom. 

Airlines

Some airlines include BA, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar. 

Flight time

Around 11 hours 35 minutes

Where to fly from

Fly from various UK airports, many with connecting flights

Currency

The local currency is the Hong Kong dollar.