Explore: Hong Kong

Date Posted: 06/01/2014

Is Hong Kong truly a feast for the senses? Group Leisure took a group trip to the bright lights of China’s south coast to find out.

Essential Sights

Victoria Peak: The best view of Hong Kong is arguably from the viewing platform at the top of 396-metre (1,308-feet) Victoria Peak. The trip in the tram, which has a gradient of more than 25 degrees, is an experience in itself.

Opened in 1888, it was the first cable funicular in Asia. Discounted tickets are offered to groups of 15 or more.

The Star Ferry: An enduring symbol of Hong Kong is the Star Ferry. The distinctive tub-shaped vessels have been plying the waters between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon district since 1874 and provide fantastic views of Victoria Harbour, which are particularly spectacular at night. A round trip costs £7.

Temple Street Night Market: A visit to one of Hong Kong’s markets is a must and one of the best-known is Temple Street Night Market. It opens at 4pm but comes into its own after dark and stays open until midnight.

It’s a fantastic place to pick up souvenirs, and fortune tellers, street entertainers and food sellers all add to the atmosphere.

Live Like a Local

Happy Valley Racecourse, the only legal form of gambling in Hong Kong, opened in 1846 and the city virtually grew up around the race track.

Once the preserve of the city’s elite, the atmospheric Wednesday night meetings from September to July attract an enthusiastic local following. Tourist tickets provide higher and better views from the grandstands. 

For another inimitable ‘only in Hong Kong’ experience, hop on a ‘ding ding’ tram. The narrow trams are reportedly the world’s largest fleet of double-deck tramcars and the flat fare is just HK2.30 (20p), payable to the driver.

They rattle along six routes and you can use them to get from A to B or simply ride along for few stops just for the fun of it.

Food & Drink

Eating out in Hong Kong really is a feast for all the senses, from noisy street vendors and low-priced cafes to very upmarket restaurants, and if you like dim sum you can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

A ‘hot pot’, akin to a fondue where you cook your own food in stock, is a convivial choice for a group meal and bowls of raw ingredients to share start from around £1. Wherever you go, menus are invariably in English, and don’t be afraid to ask for a knife and fork if you can’t manage chopsticks.

Tea is traditionally served with meals, otherwise beer is a good choice as wine can be expensive. If you can’t make up your mind between tea and coffee then try the intriguing yeun yeung, a 50/50 mix of tea and coffee.

Where to Stay

  • The reasonably priced Hotel Panorama by Rhombus in Kowloon is one of the tallest hotels with spectacular views of Victoria Harbour.
  • In the heart of the city’s entertainment district, and close to the Victoria Peak tram, is chic Ovolo design hotel.
  • The luxurious Harbour Grand, where guests are greeted with the sight of a huge Swarovski chandelier, occupies a prime position on the waterfront.

Best for groups

The interactive Hong Kong Museum of History provides an insight into the early growth of the city and how four islands developed into the Asian powerhouse of today.

Groups can step onto a life-size replica of a fishing junk and visit reconstructions of early shops. There is discounted admission if there are 20 or more of you.

Located on the top of Hong Kong’s tallest building, the International Commerce Centre, the Sky100 observation deck offers a panoramic bird’s eye view of the harbour and cityscape.

The lift whisks visitors up 100 floors in just 60 seconds. Groups of 20 or more benefit from discounted admission and fast track entry.

Ocean Park Hong Kong is a marine life theme park that combines animal exhibits with rides. One of the latest attractions is the Polar Adventure bob sled ride and afterwards you can take a break in Tuxedos Restaurant and watch penguins frolicking on the ice. Groups benefit from discounted admission.

A new Bruce Lee exhibition celebrating the life of the Kung Fu legend who grew up in Hong Kong, has opened at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum.

Marking the 40th anniversary since his death and showcasing 600 pieces of memorabilia, Bruce Lee: Kung Fu Art Life is on until July 2018, making it Hong Kong’s longest running exhibition.

Fact File

Journey time: 12hrs from London to Hong Kong International Airport.

Currency: Hong Kong Dollar £1 = HKD12.78.

Best time to go: From September to December there is plenty of sunshine and cool breezes. Avoid June to September when humidity is at its highest.

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