Hong Kong: The Heartbeat of Asia
Walking along Hong Kong’s bustling streets, one gets a sense of the fast-paced lifestyle and buzzing energy that never fail to draw you in. Dwarfed by skyscrapers and navigating through a sea of racial diversity, it is easy to get immersed in its culture where entertainment and finance never seem to sleep. This island nation has advanced rapidly since leaving the British colony and is today a desirable city both to visit and to live in. If you are looking for a quick getaway, Hong Kong could be an option. And here are some places to check out.
The Peak, as it is locally known, is a spectacular place for breathtaking views of Hong Kong’s famous harbour and surrounding mountains. Make your way up to the observation deck at the top of The Peak Tower which overlooks the cityscape of Central and across the water to Kowloon and Lamma Island. You can even catch a glimpse of the New Territories and Lantau Island from up here.
You can also hike the trails of Victoria Peak as it is a good way to discover the greenery-filled hillsides and bond with nature.
Lantau Island & Po Lin Monastery
Visiting Lantau Island is a simple short bus ride from the terminus or by cable car if you prefer a more scenic route. Upon arrival, explore Ngong Ping Village, a quaint olden village with modern tourist shops.
A short walk will bring you to the towering Tian Tan Buddha of the Po Lin Monastery, the most famous attraction there. Mingle with the cows while touring the many Buddhist houses of worship before attempting the 250-step climb to the stupendous Buddha which also houses shrines under its base. This is also a great spot to capture an overview of the island itself.
Vegans will appreciate the vegetarian food available at the monastery cafeteria. A visit to this place will calm your soul and leave you with a sense of purity.
Wong Tai Sin Temple
The Wong Tai Sin temple is located on the southern side of Lion Rock, north Kowloon. Enter the magnificently detailed Chinese arched gateway and witness the many different shrines before you.
This temple is most noted for its accuracy in fortune telling. Many visitors offer incense as a common practice and it is widely believed that the deities are powerful enough to grant wishes.
Wander around the temple grounds and admire the historical architecture of the pagodas and stone wall carvings like the majestic Nine-Dragon Wall, which has been there since 1921.
Ladies Street & Temple Street Markets
Strolling through the stretch of cordoned off roads on the Kowloon side can be exasperating, especially if you’re an obvious tourist. Vendors will try to coax you when you pass by their makeshift stalls, with most of them offering similar items ranging from souvenirs and toys to fake branded products. It can also be a satisfying experience if negotiations are your forte or if you happen to have a local friend who can do it for you, then there are certainly good bargains to be had here.
Continue roaming around the Mongkok vicinity and discover the abundant restaurants and al fresco roadside cafes serving up authentic Cantonese dishes like claypot rice and fresh seafood. For those with a stronger constitution, make sure to try their famous street fare such as curried fish balls and mouth-watering grilled squid. If you just want to graze, there isn’t a lack of delicious food.
The buzz and vibrant energy of Mongkok is infectious, and the entire area is open all day until late. On Saturday evenings, buskers sing and dance at random spots on the streets.
Lan Kwai Fong
Back in Central, the night is young at Lan Kwai Fong as the multiple of bars and clubs come alive. Commence the evening with an aperitif at Havana on the 4th level of The Plaza if you fancy a more contemporary Latin vibe and try their various delectable mojitos.
Head down to any of their fine restaurants like TokyoLima at Lyndhurst Terrace and sample their unique Peruvian-Japanese fusion cuisine or savour some European delicacies at Gold by Harlan Goldstein situated on LKF Tower’s 2nd floor. Pro tip: it’s best to make reservations for the more popular restaurants.
If you are still looking for another drink, head down to Otto Lounge and chill out to acid jazz beats while sipping on your martini. This place has a great ambience and fantastically crafted cocktails to put you in a relaxing mood.
Finally, make your way to Volar or Dragon-i, two of the hottest and hippest clubs in Lan Kwai Fong. Let the champagne flow and flaunt your moves on the dancefloor at these exclusive venues. Although the latter usually has a longer queue, go with friends who have VIP access and rub shoulders with models and the occasional celebrity.