Things To Do In Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a cluster of skyscrapers, and considered one of the most important Asian centers for trade, manufacturing, technology, tourism, and finance. The Victoria Harbor is an impressive sight -- the port with its ferry, huge luxury cruise ships and small fishing boats always has something to see. The skyline is especially beautiful at night, when there is also an entertaining light and music show.
Victoria’s Peak should not be missing from your travel itinerary in Hong Kong. Aside from the nice trip to the top you can have the best view of the city from its observation deck and take some really amazing pictures. It's also impressive to see the sun rise over Lantau Island from the Ngong Ping 360 cable ride. Immediately afterwards you can visit the site of the Big Buddha.
When To Go:
The high season for tourism is October-December, and also during the Lunar New Year (late January or early February), yet Hong Kong is basically a year-round destination. Other busy periods concur with significant trade fairs, which can happen during any month of the year.
Hong Kong's vivid Chinese celebrations -- for example the Lunar New Year -- offer an enormous fireworks show over the harbor and give tourists an extraordinary chance to encounter traditional Chinese festivity and culture.
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Religious celebrations, for example, the Tin Hau celebration (May/June) are held to respect different divinities of specific communities and their festive occasions, for example: the Mid-Harvest Celebration (Light Celebration) in September or early October; the Dragon Boat Celebration in June or early July; and the Bun Celebration on Cheung Chau Island which is usually held in the month of May.
These are the things to do when in the city of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Skyline
Beautiful and absolutely free, the panorama of skyscrapers offers two entirely different impressions during the daytime and at night. The Hong Kong Skyline is especially stunning during its evening “Symphony of Lights” show. This view of the island from the Kowloon side is beyond idyllic: you have mountains in the background, the skyscrapers framing Victoria Harbor and reflecting light in the evening, and at the bottom the Strait of Perpetual Motion -- ferries, ships and small fishing vessels that all together offer "the best theatrical spectacle" in Hong Kong.
The features of the promenade area create an atmosphere of vitality and progress that is combined with pure eastern beauty and exoticism. At night, a stroll through the area can lead to exhibits of the latest national and cultural events, an impromptu live concert of local Hong Kong artists, an exciting glimpse of the Avenue of the Stars, or a photo opportunity with the statue of Bruce Lee and the star of Jackie Chan.
Chi Lin Nunnery
The Chi Lin Nunnery is a green oasis in the center of the concrete jungle. Having the skyscrapers literally framing the park and the monastery is unusual and interesting. It is a quiet place for contemplation, a peaceful retreat not far from the city center where you can relax and appreciate the serene atmosphere.. The monastery was made entirely of wood -- they did not use any other materials. When you come out of the bus from the built-up center of Hong Kong and enter into the monastery, it feels like being in a different world.
Silence and serenity is guaranteed here. The monastery is quite new but creates a sense of timelessness. It is nicely decorated with bonsai and Buddha figures. Photographs are not allowed everywhere, but taking pictures inside the church is fine. Opposite the temple is a very pretty garden with pagoda. You must visit to feel the contrasting between the monastery and the city, or just take a break from the noise and traffic outside. It is worthwhile to spend an afternoon in the monastery shrine and the extraordinary garden. Without experiencing this place, your impressions of Hong Kong would be incomplete.
This place is really worth seeing, especially if your impression of Hong Kong is based on a photograph of the bay and the skyscrapers. Once you are actually there, you can see the high-rise buildings in their postcard form, impressive and with great scale of diversity. Everything is well maintained and clean, although there are crowds at every time of day. However, during half an hour of walking along the embankment of the river you can take a couple of pictures of the panorama, have a sip of hot chocolate or coffee from one of the cafes facing the Victoria Harbor, and a gastronomic adventure with the different kinds of dim sum to be found in the houses along the bay.
It is mandatory to visit this side of the city with its spectacular views. Be sure to bring your camera and if you have time, take a boat ride because the city looks even more majestic from the water. The small river tram will take you out to Kowloon, where you can see a beautiful view of the entire harbor. And in the evening you can take some beautiful pictures of Hong Kong and the harbor just before the light show begins at 8:00 pm.
Hong Kong Museum of History
The Hong Kong Museum of History offers free admission on Wednesdays and occupies two floors with full installations and decorations. There are video rooms with short films in Mandarin, Cantonese and English. Taking pictures is allowed. The exhibit tells the story of Hong Kong from prehistoric times up to the present day. It is very classy and located next to the Museum of Science.
There are three cinemas inside, demonstrating different styles of art in 15-minute clip films. This is interesting to both adults and children. Everyone will also enjoy the street recreated in as it appeared in older times and complete with its tram, which can be photographed. There is also a nice souvenir shop. The informative and entertaining museum is easily accessible and close to the subway station (near Nathan Road). Take a plunge into the rich history of Hong Kong with its numerous interactive exhibits. The museum combines historical and ethnographic artifacts in a theater-like setting.
Nan Lian Garden
This is a beautiful landscaped garden with boulders, flower beds, pergolas, and a lake with red carp. One cannot imagine a more peaceful place in a metropolis like Hong Kong. Very nice and quiet, the Nan Lian Garden is located at the metro station of Diamond Hill MTR, exit C2 (follow the signs). Walk around the mall named Plaza Hollywood, and across the road is the entrance to the garden.
The garden is open from 6:30 am to 7:00 pm. There is a wide selection of plants, benches for resting, ponds, a man-made waterfall, and pavilions that help create a pleasant atmosphere in the midst of the metropolis. In the garden there are several budget cafes where you can have a cup of coffee while enjoying the natural ambience and tranquility. In the morning it is an area for meditation and exercise for the locals. Aside from enjoying a stroll everyone will find something for himself or herself.
Hong Kong Disneyland
The Hong Kong Disneyland is a magical place to spend the day with family, friends, and children. You can travel by taxi from the city or take the 3-hour train ride to reach this famous attraction. At the entrance, immediately take a guide /park map in order not to miss anything and to check on the exact times for the shows in the 3-D theater. The special and fabulously festive atmosphere highlights the Disney Princesses and cartoon characters, a colorful cartoon parade, musical shows, amusement rides and photo opportunities with the famous Disney characters in the garden area.
One of the best parts of this park is the Jungle River Cruise in Adventureland. Among the live musicals, the Lion King is a must. Even in the heat of summer the park remains comfortable, air conditioning is available throughout and there are special "water" areas where you can cool off. You can find restaurants and snacks for every taste. Stay for the awesome fireworks and laser show around 8 pm, it is gorgeous.
In order to travel quickly to the top of the Victoria’s Peak you must line up for the Peak Tram that will take you there in minutes. It is a great place -- and you can also go by taxi from the city if you cannot tolerate the long line of people wanting to ride the tram. Upon arrival, you go straight to the terrace where entrance is made through the Peak Mall. You need to buy tickets and voila, you have a panoramic view of the entire area. The view from above the skyscrapers that you will see as this is one of the highest points in Hong Kong, forever in a haze but still impressive. It is 1811 feet above sea level with an open observation platform and shops of all kinds.
In a sunny weather it has amazing views of the island and is the best spot to have a long look at the houses and towers from the peak. There are plenty of souvenir shops, and cafes where you can drink coffee while enjoying the marvelous views of Hong Kong.
One of Madame Tussaud’s 19 museums is up here on the peak of Victoria in Hong Kong, another reason for your visit. You can have an opportunity to take a picture with famous celebrities presented in almost life-like wax figures. If you want to take pictures with many famous people -- from movies, sports, music, and politics -- just visit Victoria’s Peak and this famous wax museum.
Ngong Ping Village
The Ngong Ping Village is a cultural place in Hong Kong and to get there you have to take the cable car (Ngong Ping 360) that starts from the first MTR station close to the airport. You can choose between the bottom of the glass cabin (crystal cab) or the normal booth. The first suggestion of course adds to the trip but those who suffer from vertigo should be careful.
After about 20 minutes you reach the Giant Buddha, one of the world's largest statues of the Buddhist deity, at the foot of which there is a small Chinese village consisting of many shops, as well as fast food and restaurants for all budgets and tastes. The visit takes about 3 hours. If you want to avoid the long line to take the cable car, it is highly recommended to pre-purchase your ticket online.
After going through the cultural village of Ngong Ping you will come to a staircase of 200 steps on top of which stands the magnificent statue of the Big Buddha. You can visit the museum inside the statue, and from there you can enjoy an exceptional view of the entire Lantau Island. This is a destination that must not be missed. There are two ways to reach the top; by bus or by cable car.
Expect to spend an entire day as the staircase to go up the Buddha is long (but totally doable.) The largest bronze Buddha in the world sits in the lotus position on top of a hill, with mystical allure and a commanding presence that leaves everyone speechless, as does its surrounding environment. The ticket price also includes a snack at the bar / restaurant of the temple.
Ocean Park - Hong Kong
The Ocean Park – Hong Kong is easily accessible by taxi from Kowloon and not very far away from the center of the city. The park is very, very big. The part nearest the entrance is a kind of zoo with aquatic animals and exhibits of seahorses (they are real!). The second part is far away and can be reached only by a train (designed like a submarine) or a cable car (more impressive because it offers views across the landscape of the mountains and the sea). The second part is more reminiscent of a theme park with attractions like roller coasters and a beautiful museum with seals and other fish.
In this park there is a trip on rafts that will get you wet, and also a road built to resemble an ancient Chinese street with traditional shops selling local foods. It is one of the most beautiful parts of the park to visit. Among the most exciting things to see in Ocean Park - Hong Kong are the Dolphin Show, Seal Show, the huge aquarium, the exhibits about water pollution, and the cute Pandas in their own special exhibit. There are lots of souvenir shops and places to eat and a day is not enough to enjoy all its impressive features.
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