East meets west in spectacular fashion in Hong Kong, from small beginnings as an opium port to todays financial powerhouse if there’s one thing you can say about the city is that it’s never boring. Love it or hate it, Hong Kong is somewhere that everybody should experience at least once in their lifetime. This visit I decided to concentrate on three of Hong Kong’s biggest attractions, keep reading to find out where I went and what I got up to on my day in Hong Kong.
I left my hotel reasonably early and hopped on the MTR underground system to get to my first port of call, the Star Ferry. The Star Ferry is one of Hong Kong’s best loved institutions and have been operating between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island since 1888.
The crossing is short but the views of the city skyline are incredible and it’s still the cheapest way to do it for less than a cup of coffee. The ferries operate two routes between Tsim Sha Tsui and Central or Wanchai, I chose the Central route. To get a better view of the city pay the extra few cents and opt to travel on the upper deck.
On the Kowloon side is the landmark clock tower, the last remnant of the old Kowloon railway terminus. It was here that trains from the mainland, including the Orient Express from London, would make their final stops.
After a quick wander round the Kowloon side it was back on the ferry to Central and a quick detour before heading off to my next destination. My detour takes me to the Legislative Council Building, a few minutes walk from the ferry dock, it’s one of Hong Kong’s last remaining colonial buildings and is Neo-Classical in design, it used to house the Supreme Court and now serves as Hong Kong’s parliament.
My next destination is the famous and very touristy Stanley Market. Originally a sleepy fishing village, Stanley was the largest settlement on Hong Kong Island before the British moved in.
I took the double decker bus from Central which in itself is a bit of an adventure winding around those narrow roads and up and down hills giving some great views of Hong Kong’s beautiful coastline.
The market offers reasonably priced clothes, shoes and accessories as well as plenty of tourist tat, although I don’t think it’s as good as it used to be.
For me the waterfront area in Stanley is the best part, there’s a great range of restaurants and bars and it’s a lovely place to just sit and people watch for an hour or two. Most places have outdoor terraces that overlook the sea.
Stanley also has a lovely stretch of beach if you want to make a day of it. In June it’s the venue for the hotly contested dragon boat races.
Back on the bus into Central and I’m soon at my final destination, The Peak. Near the entrance to the Peak is something that’s worth a quick look, another colonial gem St John’s Cathedral. Looking more like a parish church than a cathedral, St John’s has stood here since 1850, it’s the oldest Anglican church in east Asia and is now surrounded by the ultra modern skyscrapers of Hong Kong.
Victoria Peak offers some of Hong Kong’s most spectacular views and also houses some of Hong Kong’s most expensive property. The best way to reach the peak is to use the Peak Tram, in operation since 1888. It takes under 10 minutes to reach the top once onboard but queues to get on the tram can be long.
Once at the top I was surprised to see just how commercialised it had become since I last visited. There’s a large selection of shops and restaurants as well as various other touristy things like Madame Tussaud’s waxworks. If you’re prepared to pay the Sky Terrace viewing gallery is the highest viewing platform at 428 meters (1,404 ft).
I found there was really no need to pay for the viewing terrace as there were plenty of other points where the views were just as good. Walking just a little bit away from the main shopping area gives a much nicer and quieter experience.
Having walked around a little bit I found myself somewhere to get some food and wait until it got dark. As the night time came in Hong Kong lit up. It was magical to watch the city come alive after dark and all the buildings light up one by one until the whole city was twinkling before me.
After watching the lights for a while it was time for me to head back to my hotel and after a busy day get some well earned rest. Hong Kong is an amazing city with a lot more to see and when I return I’ll be setting off on more adventures, that’s a promise.