Hong Kong with its vibrant cultural treats, towering skyscrapers, and many little delights has consistently made the list of the best travel destinations not only in Asia but across the world. For the first time visitor, the sights and sounds of Hong Kong can be overwhelming given that there is so much to see and do that it would take a lifetime to do it all. With so many places to go, here is a list of the five must go places you just have to experience whenever you are in Hong Kong.
1. Take a Hike up Victoria Peak
Victoria Peak is the postcard image everyone has of Hong Kong and hence no visit would ever be complete if you don’t visit the iconic Victoria Peak. If you are lucky and go to Hong Kong on a clear day you can get to enjoy spectacular views of the outlying islands and the old city of Kowloon out in the distance. The most popular way to get to the top of the peak is by using the Peak Tram, a 100-year-old train that has been in operation since 1888. However, you can also reach the top through the more scenic route following the Morning Trail that winds along Hatton Road. This will take about 45 minutes, but you will get to enjoy panoramic views of the South China Sea, Kowloon and the majestic skyscrapers of Hong Kong from different vantage points.
2. Visit the Buddha
Head out to Ngong Ping Village one of the most popular tourist attractions for just about any visitor to Hong Kong. The village is home to the gigantic Big Buddha statue and the interesting Poh Lin Monastery. The journey to the village itself is quite something especially if you opt to go up using the glass-bottomed cable car. Once in the village explore the photogenic spots full of natural scenery and fresh air. However, you need to remember to head out early as there is usually a long queue of people waiting to go to the village which can get frustrating.
3. Head to the Beach
Walking the busy streets of Hong Kong one could easily forget that the city is built on an island. The island is full of beaches particularly on the southern end, where you can enjoy some laid back lifestyle on charming villages the likes of Stanley and Shek O. If you decide to head out to the outlying islands, the best places include the northeastern district of Sai Kung, and sandy beaches and spots such as Pui O Beach. You will love the protected country park as it is such a contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city. You should also make a point of visiting Tai Long Wan and it’s beautiful beaches where you can sit down and have a picnic if you carried along some drinks and snacks.
4. Get a Foot Massage
You cannot come to Hong Kong and leave without getting the famous sensual Hong Kong massage. Massages are part and parcel of Chinese wellness philosophies of the Chinese that have been passed along for ages. The best spots include premier spots such as Ten Feet Tall in Central or if you prefer a no-frills experience the Halite and Happy Foot in downtown should do just fine. With massage pallors in almost every building in town, you can get a massage for almost any price. The prices range from between $15 for no-frill spots up to $150 for the most exclusive joints such as the Mandarin Barber.
5. Take a Walk through Temple Street Night Market
Located in Kowloon, this is one of the best experiences that you just cannot miss while you are in Hong Kong. The market is the place to be if you need to have a taste of true Hong Kong cuisine and get some bargains for anything for anything from household goods, to electronics, trinkets, and clothing. Vendors sell almost anything you could ever need including traditional Chinese crafts, jade jewelry and all manner of gadgets. The market is usually open by 6 pm, though the real action starts much later and hence the best time is typically after 8 pm when everything is set up.
These are just five of the best places to visit and there are hundreds more that are just as interesting. Hong Kong is just a charming city that you may stumble into nice little eateries or cafes by pure accident. In fact, many of the building are multi-use and you never know what may be waiting to be discovered on the seventh floor of any building. As such, the best way of experiencing the city is to find your way around it yourself, you just may get to enjoy it even more.