Written by the Warrior
Hong Kong is made of the following key regions,
- the New Territories to the North
- Hong Kong Island, and
- the Outer Lying Islands to the South.
Hong Kong’s New Territories is landlocked with main land China’s Guangdong province, while Hong Kong Island and the Outerlying Islands are physically separate islands.
Accordingly to archeological records, Hong Kong’s history dates as far back as the middle Neolithic period (4000 – 2500 BC). Since that time, Hong Kong’s neighborhoods have evolved very unique sets of characteristics.
Hong Kong Island Central is one of the world’s most important financial centres and fittingly, it is served by modern sky scrapping buildings and one of the most efficient metro systems in the world. Interestingly, it is also served by Star Ferry, one of the world’s oldest (dating back to 1888) and cheapest ferry fleets ($0.40 CAD). Even more so, at Central, I saw the most powerful symbol of Hong Kong today. Though controversial, the Pride Lions (HSBC’s famous lion statues, Stephen and Stitt), by local LGBT artist Michael Lam on display at the famous HSBC building, clothed in rainbow to celebrate pride and unity in diversity.
According to the Lonely Planet, “Hong Kong Island Wan Chai is a seat of culture, a showcase of dying age-old traditions and a nightlife guru. Wai Chai is also the area with the widest culinary repertoire in Hong Kong.” Of course, the most amazing of these repertoires are hidden, behind the most unassuming storefronts on the most unassuming streets.
While we did not fully explore Hong Kong Island’s southern ‘hood – Aberdeen, it is reputed to be fully loaded with beaches and – Ocean Park.
Kowloon is the heartbeat of Hong Kong. It is more central than Hong Island Central, it was under a lot construction, it was where our hotel was, and I had the distinct impression that you will brush elbows with everyone who live in Hong Kong along its crowded streets. Kowloon also has world-class museums, a beautiful harbour, lively night markets and what the Lonely Planets dubs, “sardine packed commercialism”.
If population density was an Olympic sport, Hong Kong would just finish out of the medals, at fourth in the world, behind Macau, Monaco and Singapore. Luckily, Hong Kong does have pockets of tranquility that provides a much needed reprieve from the fanatic pace of urban living.
The deep water around Lantau Island (one of the Outerlying Isands) provides the perfect refuge for the rare pink dolphins. A boat ride with Hong Kong Dolphinwatch provides a tranquil experience to explore the beautiful harbor and a 95% chance to come face to face with these endangered creatures. Lantau Island is also the home of the seated Tian Tan Buddha. The Buddha can be reached via hiking or a cable car, both of which are spectacular experiences.
Tucked deeply inside Hong Kong Island Admiralty, are serene, green and free sanctuaries such as the Asia Society Hong Kong Centre and Hong Kong Park.
And finally, my favorite spot in Hong Kong – Hong Kong Island Victoria Peak. A hair raising bus ride leaves the Lego City behind and reveals gentle slopes along cool and lush green forests.