Since it's independence from the British in 1997 and acquiring a special status in China, Hong Kong has fast grown into a major global city. It's collection of islands and territories, filled with several attractions and fun activities have made it a huge tourist destination in South Asia.
Hong Kong is perhaps one of the best examples of the growth of tourism in south Asia. In the last few decades, it has become one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the region, and indeed in the world. It's skyline is one of the most iconic in the entire world, lit up at night with a spectrum of colours and the famous "Symphony of Lights" show, flashing across the skyscrapers. The Victoria Harbour itself is lit up with dazzling lights, and if you catch a glimpse of it from the opposing Victoria Peak, you'll definitely be mesmerised. Hong Kong's neighbouring islands are home to plenty of beautiful places to visit. Lantau Island in particular is home to the famous Big Buddha, and the Ngong Ping 360, affording you some stunning views of the green island. The beauty of Hong Kong is not bound to that. The Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Park are classical Chinese style gardens that are sure to soothe your soul. The Buddhist complex was built as a retreat for the nuns, and in one visit you can understand why! Of course, options for adventure and fun aren't short either. The Disneyland and the Ocean Park are some of the busiest theme parks of Asia, a guaranteed super day out! And if that's not the sort of fun you're after, shopping can be the most pleasing activity ever. And in Hong Kong, you will never have enough! The city's shopping is so vast, diverse and engaging, that you will find yourself going from place to another, one store to the next, from one great brand to the other great brand, it never stops. And especially during the holiday season when the sales are on, get your fighting boots on! Hong Kong is a wonderful travel experience. You will come across many fascinating activities and individuals, and also have a lot of fun while doing so!
There are no shortage of stay options in Hong Kong. It's all about choosing the area. The Kowloon Island is a lively place and if you're in Hong Kong to shop, this is the place to stay. There are several big and small hotels catering to your budget requirements as well. The other popular place to stay is Hong Kong Island. The modern and bustling part of Hong Kong, with several bars, restaurants and the famous energetic areas of SoMo and Lai Kwai Fong. It's very well connected and you can also walk around for the most part. Again, there are tons of hotel options here, though they may be a little more expensive when compared to Kowloon.
Hong Kong is a major city and as such you can find all sorts of cuisines and fast food joints all over the city. Local food of Hong Kong is typically south east Asian. Wontons are a very popular addition to soup or rice, with a stuffing of meat; sweet and sour pork combines flavours true to the region deliciously; fish balls or shrimp and chicken balls, deep cried stuffed meat balls, are a hugely popular street food; and the rickshaw noodles are a favourite fast food among the locals. Hong Kong is heaven if you're a foodie, and exploring the city will bring you across some amazing local foods.
Hong Kong Dollar (Hong Kong Dollar) The Hong Kong Dollar is the only currency accepted in Hong Kong. Visa, MasterCard and American Express cards are accepted in a majority of hotels and retail stores, and ATMs are available everywhere.
Changing money is fairly easy in Hong Kong. There are several authorised money changers in the city's commercial areas. There are also some that have been certified by Quality Tourism Services Scheme, so look for those if you are a bit particular. There are several money changers at the airport as well. Traveller's cheques are accepted by almost all major banks, and there are HSBC ATMs in the city which will accept Visas and MasterCards. In general, international cards are accepted at all ATMs.
Hong Kong is a fairly expensive city. Though the restaurants and bars are going to be expensive, street food options provide a decent and cheap alternative. Also, some attractions like the Disneyland are very expensive. A low end budget will lie somewhere around HKD 350 - 600, a mid range budget around HKD 1000 - 1500, and a high end budget will go higher than HKD 2000 per day, per person.
Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism
Hong Kong's culture is fairly different from that of the west. Greetings are sufficed by a light handshake, and wait for your friends to introduce you before you do so. Also, be careful not to be too loud in public areas, the locals are not very fond of excessively loud people. Refrain from public displays of affection. If you're invited to someone's house, always carry a gift. Do not give anything that is 4 in number, since it symbolises death, while the number 8 is favourable as it symbolises prosperity. People in Hong Kong are used to foreigners by now, and small lapses in etiquette will be forgiven. Tipping in the region of 10 - 20% of the bill in hotels and restaurants is enough where the service charge hasn't been added, while rounding up taxi fares is sufficient. HKD 10 - 20 is enough when you're tipping porters or housekeep.
Chinese and English are both official languages in Hong Kong, so you will not have any troubles during your stay here.
Hong Kong has had a very long administrative history. It was first brought into Imperial China in 214 BCE by the Qin Dynasty. It then came under different rulers as the imperial scene of China changed over the years, but it truly flourished under the Tang Dynasty, when it was governed by the Bao'an County, as a trading centre. The transition period from the Tang to the Ming dynasty was done under the Dogguan County, and under the Ming Dynasty Hong Kong came under the Xin'an County. After the First Opium War of 1839, Hong Kong was taken over by the British initially in 1841, and then officially ceded to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1842. Soon after, the Second Opium War broke out, and the Anglo - French alliance expanded to the Kowloon Peninsula and the Stonecutter's Island under the Convention of Beijing of 1860. Under the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory, Britain obtained a 99 years lease for Hong Kong including the Lantau Island, a substantial area on the Kowloon, and up to 200 more islands. The British then began to establish and expanse it's colony in the region, using Hong Kong's strategic location on the port for trade. Hong Kong's population grew, but there was always discrimination among racial lines. When the Japanese attacked first in 1937, the Governor Geoffry Northcote declared Hong Kong a neutral zone to avoid getting involved. However, after the onset of WW I, the Japanese attacked Hong Kong on 8th December 1941, and captured the city on the day of Christmas. The 4 years of Japanese occupation till the end of the war were times of atrocities on the people of Hong Kong. There was wide spread hunger, devaluation of the currency, and horrendous massacres such as the St. Stephen's College Massacre. After the war, the British took over once again. Many people migrated from mainland China, where the civil war was being waged. After the establishment of the People Republic's of China, the British set up border controls between Hong Kong and Mainland China. In the decade that followed, Hong Kong was industrialised at a massive level and grew rapidly, economically and also in terms of living standard. Between 1971 - 1982, under Sir Murray MacLehose, Hong Kong saw a great deal of development in all sectors, and the Governor became a public favourite. He set up the base of Hong Kong to go on to become a major city in the coming decades, which saw the construction of public transport systems. In 1997, finally the British handed over Hong Kong to China, marking the end of the British empire. Hong Kong was given a special status. Tung Chee-Hwa was appointed Chief Executive of Hong Kong, till Donald Tsang was elected in 2005. There have always been strong tensions between China and Hong Kong, with the Hong Kong citizens always suspicious of Chinese take over of the region. Nevertheless, Hong Kong has grown to become one of the most global countries in the world, and attracts millions every year.
Hong Kong nightlife is bustling and diverse. There are several different Chinese and Western clubs catering to the different requirements of locals and visitors. Head over to Lang Kwai Fong to find yourself spoilt for choice, in a place that has fast become Hong Kong's hub for nightlife. Other places with hip clubs include Sheung Wan and the Western District.
Hong Kong is one of Asia's most popular shopping destinations. There are numerous areas and malls famous for going gung-ho shopping! The Causeway Bay is the Mecca for shoppers here. It's numerous malls and retail stores make it one of the liveliest places in all of Hong Kong. Countless international and local brands, electronic shops, boutiques, street markets, department stores and the likes mean that you will spend hours and hours here! Admiral, Central and SoHo are another group of buildings where you can shop till you drop. This extravagant location is where all the Louis Vittons and Armanis have their stores. Even if you don't plan on shopping, a visit to this area is essential! Tsim Sha Tsui is another district which is home to a huge market place. Here too, you will come across dozens of brands and stores, and also Hong Kong's biggest shopping mall - the Harbour City. As you explore the city, you will find many more shopping streets and hotspots. But rest assured, your shopping desires will definitely be satisfied.