Named Asia's "Best
City" by Travel and Leisure, Hong Kong will dazzle you
with its vibrant energy, exotic history and heritage,
and so much more.
Hong Kong is situated on the southeastern coast of China
and spreads out over about 424 square miles, including
more than 260 outlying islands. The main areas are Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories.
HISTORY & CULTURE
Once called a "barren rock" by the British when claimed
as a Crown Colony in 1841, this once humble collection
of fishing villages soon thrived as a trading port and
gateway to mainland China. On July 1, 1997, the world
watched as Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty,
beginning a new chapter in history.
Culturally rich, Hong Kong's past has produced a captivating
city of contrasts. The unique fascination of Hong Kong
is the seamless way in which ancient traditions thrive
in an ultra modern city. Hong Kong is a city of contrasts
that continues to delight guests year after year.
dynamic, forward-looking, yet with a past that goes back
six millennia. And what a past it's been - Chinese, British,
now Chinese again, punctuated by wars, occupation, and
periods of uncertainty, peace and prosperity...and history
is still being made here every day! All of this is yours
to discover at Hong Kong's designated historical monuments
and in museums dedicated to themes both past and future.
Hong Kong has become a world-class city by blending Chinese
tradition with Western customs. Fascinating temples and
colonial facades often share the same block with futuristic
architectural masterpieces. It is the blend of old and
new, East and West, that helps give Hong Kong its own
There has been a renewed fascination with Hong Kong's
colonial heritage over the past years. Remnants of a genteel,
bygone era include the Noon Day Gun, which still fires
at midday as it has since the 1840's and famous buildings
such as the beautiful Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware,
the oldest Colonial building, containing 3000 year-old
Chinese artifacts showcasing Chinese teaware.
Taking afternoon tea, a quintessential British tradition,
is popular in most top hotels, though you are as likely
to be nibbling on steamed Chinese-style dumplings as you
are on scones. Many reminders of Hong Kong's Colonial
heritage can be seen at the Museum of History, the Museum
of Heritage and on do-it-yourself Heritage and Architectural
walks as well as complete Heritage and Culture Tours.
VISA & TRAVEL INFORMATION
U.S. citizens can enter Hong Kong for a period of up to
three months without a visa, provided they have a passport
that is valid for at least one month after period of intended
stay in Hong Kong.
Those who wish to stay longer must apply for a visa before
traveling to Hong Kong, preferably at least six weeks
in advance. Applications should be made to your nearest
Chinese Consulate or at the Visa Office, Embassy of the
People's Republic of China, Room 110, 2201 Wisconsin Avenue,
N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007, Tel (202) 338-6688, Fax
Upon arrival in Hong Kong, visitors must show proof of
a return or onward ticket (unless they are in transit
to mainland China or Macau). Visitors must also show that
they have adequate funds for their stay in Hong Kong (generally,
a confirmed hotel reservation, a valid international credit
card and/or an appropriate amount of cash will suffice).
Visitors are not allowed to work in any capacity (either
paid or unpaid), to establish or join any business, or
to enter school as a student. Nor, except in the most
unusual circumstances, are visitors allowed to change
their status after arrival.
BEST OF Hong Kong
With its exhilarating fusion of cultures, its engaging
people and unparalleled natural beauty, Hong Kong is like
no other place in the world. Adventure to remote islands
with intriguing, century-old Chinese traditions.
Explore spectacular museums, galleries and historical
monuments. Find divine inspiration in a traditional Buddhist
temple. Experience the contagious energy of the city,
mingle with the people in a colorful local market or a
boisterous Chinese festival.
For a unique cultural experience, head to the Yuen
Po Street Bird Garden, the favorite gathering place
for Hong Kong's songbird owners… for sweet scents and
exotic, fortune-bringing flowers and plants, stop by Hong Kong's colorful Flower Market.
Bring home a beautiful memory of Hong Kong from the Jade
Market. Located in Yau Ma Tei, the Jade Market
features 450 stalls selling all types, shapes, sizes and
prices; open daily from 10am - 3:30pm. No matter what
you choose, Hong Kong is an experience you will never
forget. Here are a few of the insider recommendations.
Hong Kong ISLAND
Take a classic Hong Kong trip on the historic Peak Tram
to the top of Victoria Peak. The steepest funicular tramway
on the planet, the Peak Tram will thrill you with its
dazzling 1300-foot climb into the sky.
an exhilarating near-vertical, eight-minute ride on
the 112-year-old tram, you'll feast your eyes on the
breathtaking panorama of the vibrant harbor, serene
mountains and spectacular architecture by icons such
as I.M. Pei and Norman Foster.
High above the city, on the "back of the Dragon,"
Victoria Peak offers visitors a multitude of entertainment,
dining and shopping options and is the perfect place
to embark on one of several nature trails.
View Hong Kong's magnificent skyline from the harbor
aboard the Star Ferry. The Star Ferry, over a century
old, remains the most spectacular ferry rides in the
world. The ferry between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui takes
only eight minutes, and offers picturesque memories
that will last a lifetime. Don't forget to pick up a
Star Ferry and Tram Pass.
A four-day Visitor Souvenir Ticket can be obtained
at the upper deck entrance of the Star Ferry Pier, and
is valid for unlimited travel on Hong Kong Tramways
and Star Ferry's franchised services for four consecutive
Home to the fishing community, take a sampan ride to
see the fishing boat and daily activities aboard the
famous Jumbo Floating Restaurant.
TAI CHI IN THE PARK
Take one of our free Tai Chi lessons and experience
the graceful, meditative martial art that locals practice
daily. A gentle form of exercise, Tai Chi, also known
as "shadow boxing," can be practiced by people of all
Kowloon: Every Tuesday and Wednesday (from November
2000 to March 2001), 8:00-9:00 a.m. on the Waterfront
Promenade, Tsim Sha Tsui East (outside the Hong Kong
Cultural Center, Piazza C).
Hong Kong Island: Every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday
except January 26, 2001 (until end of March 2001), 8:15-9:15
a.m. in the Garden Plaza, Hong Kong Park.
One of Hong Kong's most popular tour destinations, Repulse
Bay is beautiful, ever-evolving, sandy beach with two
tall statues of the Goddess of Mercy (Kwun Yum) and
the Goddess of Heaven (Tin Hau).
Stanley Market is an extravaganza of stalls and shops
interspersed with some of Hong Kong's newest and most
innovative restaurants. The stock changes constantly
- depending on what the factories are churning out at
the time. By the bay, there is a row of restaurants
in laid-back ambience.
TIN HAU TEMPLE
Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Sea, holds a special place
in Hong Kong's heart, thanks to the territory's maritime
history. This ancient, imposing temple once stood alongside
a foreshore causeway linking the coastal areas. It is
now well inland, adjacent to Victoria Park.
CHI LIN NUNNERY Only recently opened, the 35,880
square foot Chi Lin Nunnery in Kowloon is a fascinating
blend of simplicity and grandeur. A Buddhist retreat,
it was constructed along Tang dynasty lines, and successfully
bridges nearly 1,500 years of construction methods,
such as using wooden pegs, rather than nails, throughout
its seven linked halls and temples.
The nunnery gardens are a beautiful example of classical
Chinese design, creating the illusion of infinite space
within a limited area, and offering visitors a serene
TEMPLE STREET NIGHT MARKET
Find bargains galore in this lively open-air bazaar.It
opens at 2 p.m. and is busiest from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Merchants specialize in inexpensive men's clothing,
novelty items, luggage and watches, and other merchandise.
Fortunetellers, palm readers and, sometimes, Chinese
opera singers, make the market a fascinating street
Venture out to the New Territories to see unspoiled
land dotted with ancient villages and fishing harbors,
duck farms and fish ponds, all characterized by a sense
of harmony with nature. Scenic coastlines and hills
have been preserved within a territory-wide network
of national parks
ENCHANTED WISHING TREE
Make your wishes come true. In Lam Tusen, near Tai Po,
is the Enchanted Wishing Tree. Laden with wishes written
on bright red paper, it appears to be covered in crimson
flowers. Scribble your dreams onto red slips of paper
tied onto an orange with string, then toss them in the
air. Tradition holds that if your paper charm catches
on the tree, your wish will be granted.
GIANT BRONZE BUDDHA
Be sure to visit Po Lin Monastery's outdoor, 202-ton
Giant Buddha. At 26 meters high, it is the world's largest,
seated, outdoor, bronze of Buddha. Perched atop a magnificent
flight of steps, it is visible from as far away as Macau
on a clear day.