Destination Review By Cox & Kings: Hong Kong
Destination Review By Cox & Kings: Hong Kong
Cox & Kings Reviews Hong Kong and tells you about destinations to visit, places to eat, where to stay and things to do!
Article Credit: Reshma Rohra
Population: 7,112,688 (established in July 2014)
People: Chinese 93.1%, Indonesian 1.9%, Filipino 1.9%, other 3% (established in 2011)
Religious Groups: Diverse mix of local religions (Buddhism, Maoism, Taoism, Confucianism, etc.) 90%, Christians 10%(established in 2011)
Languages: Cantonese (official) 89.5%, English (official) 3.5%, Putonghua (Mandarin) 1.4%, other Chinese dialects 4%, other 1.6% (established in 2011)
Government: Limited democracy
Capital: Hong Kong being a special administrative region of China, it has no capital city
Time difference: GMT+8 (2:30 hours ahead India)
Currency: Hong Kong Dollar
Voltage: 220V, 50Hz, three-pronged UK-style plugs are standard here
Telephone Country Code: +852
Internet Country Code: .hk
Geography & Location
Resting on the southern coast of China, Hong Kong is encompassed by South China Sea on three sides. To its North is Shenzhen city located in the province of Guangdong. Hong Kong lies on the passage between East and West Asia, therefore it enjoys a significant position in international trade.
The Weather In Hong Kong
Owing to its sub-tropical climate, Hong Kong has four seasons; hot and wet summer, humid spring, dry winter, and pleasant autumn.
The ideal time to visit here is in autumn, specifically between October and mid-December. September is the typhoon season, hence best avoided. During June to August, the weather is sweltering and rainy, therefore not very pleasing.
The History Of Hong Kong
Hong Kong was ruled by several Chinese dynasties until 1841, when the British Empire defeated China in the First Opium War, and took over Hong Kong. For several subsequent years, it belonged to the British. It was in 1984 that China and Great Britain signed a treaty, which said Hong Kong would be a special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China from 1st July 1997 onwards. The agreement mentioned adherence to the ‘One country, two systems’ policy in the following 50 years. This meant Hong Kong (SAR) would be given a high degree of autonomy in all aspects, with the exception of foreign and defense matters.
Experience Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of those places, which are flooded with entertainment options and places to see. It offers everything that you expect from a holiday destination; lot of food options, flee markets, unforgettable experiences, temples, modern wonders, amusement and theme parks, natural vistas, etc. It possesses a unique blend of flamboyant skyscrapers and ancient traditional treasures.
Hong Kong’s Cuisine
Diverse Chinese cuisines, British methods of preparation, flavors of Japan, Southeast Asia and the West inspire the cuisine of Hong Kong. Owing to its history and geography, it offers an interesting platter of delicacies. Hong Kong is applauded worldwide for some of the best gourmet preparations.
The world’s best Dim Sum is made in Hong Kong, so you simply cannot miss it. It’s a favorite snack here. These delicious little dumplings are usually stuffed with meat, sea fish or veggies. Roasted goose and pork preparations here will certainly sweep your heart away. Also, don’t forget to treat your taste buds with a wide variety of noodles and sumptuous seafood.
Lastly, egg tart, pineapple bun and wife cake (a traditional Cantonese pastry) are some of the local sweet dishes you should definitely try.
The People Of Hong Kong
People of different ethnic origins reside here. However, the majority of Hong Kongers – as they are popularly called – are of Chinese descent. Despite having strong and different religious views, they all live in harmony. A great part of the population is highly influenced from the western culture. But, traditional Chinese holidays are all celebrated with pomp.
People here love food and enjoy experimenting with it. They maintain a high degree of hygiene, personally as well as in public. Use of tissues and sanitizer after pressing a lift button, along with usage of surgical masks in case of cough are very common here.
You can freely ask them for directions or any small help, as people here are pretty easy going.
Getting Around Hong Kong
Mass Transit Railway (MTR) is Hong Kong’s efficient rail system that includes subway, overland and light rail or tram facilities. It is the fastest, most affordable and convenient mode of transport within this region. Majority of inhabitants rely on MTR for their daily transit.
Hong Kong also has a systematic taxi system. Taxis run on meter, are decently priced and air conditioned. There are three types of taxis; Urban (red), New Territories (green), and Lantau (blue). They are available in plenty, except in some remote areas. You will see a ‘For Hire’ sign on taxis that are willing to carry passengers.
There are also ferries, buses and mini-buses available.
Octopus card is a rechargeable smart card that will be very helpful, as it can be used for most public transport modes, including MTR. If you are here on a long vacation, it is advisable to get one for yourself.
Where To Stay In Hong Kong
Being a hub for international trade, Hong Kong boasts of various 5-star and 7-star hotels. Apart from this, there are guesthouses and apartments as well. For those on a shoestring budget, you can choose to stay in hostels or bed & breakfast hotels.
Where to go and what to do
This is undoubtedly the biggest tourist attraction in Hong Kong. Located at an altitude of 552 m, the Victoria Peak is Hong Kong Island’s tallest mountain, and offers breathtaking views of the city in the day, as well as night. Take the famous Peak Tram to reach here and enjoy the blissful ride. En-route, you can witness the brilliant architecture of the iconic Peak Tower. Dine at any of the restaurants, and take home a souvenir from the shops within the tower.
There’s a lot that can be done at Lantau Island. Plan a day’s trip to Hong Kong’s largest Island; and discover the marvels that reside here. Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car ride, is one of the most beautiful attractions here. It is Asia’s longest bi-cable ropeway with a length of 5.7 kms. Glide amidst the clouds and savour the spectacular views. You can also visit the magnificent Tian Tan Buddha or the Giant Buddha near Po Lin Monastry. It is a 111 feet tall outdoor statue of Buddha made with bronze, and the largest of its kind in the world. If you wish to experience tranquility at its best, do explore the Po Lin Monastery. Also, check out several attractions in Ngong Ping Village and Tai O Fishing Village.
Temple Street Night Market
Hong Kong’s most favorite bustling bazaar, that comes to life after lights out is an experience you cannot miss. It draws both, the tourists and the locals in large numbers. Affordable clothes, watches, footwear, artifacts, daily-use articles and a lot more can be found here. Haggling is pretty common. You will come across plenty of herbalists and fortune-tellers. Also, there is an open-air Cantonese opera show that is occasionally held here. Between 7pm and 10pm is the ideal time to visit this market.
Happy Valley Recourse
Every Wednesday, the stands of Happy Valley Recourse are flooded with people. It is the only legal gambling spot in Hong Kong. Even if you are not really into betting, you should pay a visit here just to witness the astounding energy of people and the ambience.
The very famous theme park offers around 80 avenues of joy and entertainment on a stretch of 91 hectares. If on a family vacation, do take your kids here, they will love it, and so will you. Lose yourself in the aura of fun and frolic.
Man Mo Temple
An old temple in Hong Kong and now a monument, Man Mo temple was built to please the God of Literature. This beautiful temple takes you back in time and gives you a glimpse of the Cantonese traditions.