Ten years ago my best friend moved to Hong Kong for work. In almost no time at all she found an apartment and made Hong Kong her home. As soon as she moved, I started researching my ticket. My first taste of Asia was filled with visits to tourist-frequented sights. In the many subsequent visits, I have found favorite restaurants, alternative things to do and see (including a ferry ride & side trip to Macau) and spent time with new friends. Since her first steps in Asia, she has met and married her husband, moved a few times and added two beautiful children to her family. Her city, Hong Kong, is a bustling metropolis that exudes life at every turn. Each time I return there’s something new to see and experience. If you were to ask me what sights to hit on your visit-here’s the top ten that I’d offer.
- Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery Sitting over 30 metres high and up over 250 steps is this towering statue of Buddha (known as Tian Tian Buddha). Just next to the statue is the Po Lin Monastery which is home to many devout monks who regularly practice there. Beautiful gardens and a delicious vegetarian restaurant are all part of the property. (Build in enough time for your visit-it takes quite awhile to get here from the center of the city)
- The Star Ferry Crossing Victoria Harbor between Hong Kong and Kowloon, the Star Ferry gives spectators an option to see the city skyline from the water.
- Victoria Peak Take the tram or hike the trails, no matter how you get to the top or the bottom your journey is worthwhile. Restaurants, shops and an unsurpassed view await at The Peak.
- Central & The Escalator The veritable shopping district of the city, Central has anything and everything. Heaps of restaurants, shops and fixins of all types-this is where you find the pulse of the city. The enormous escalator rides to new heights allowing guests to take in the vistas around them and step off when something catches their fancy.
- Ten Thousand Buddhas Bring your own water, wear comfortable shoes and be prepared for a steep hike accompanied by thousands of Buddha statues lining the way. Complete with temples, pavilions, beautiful views and unique statues, this site that is off the beaten tourist path is a memorable one.
- Lamma Island A ferry ride starts this fun day trip from Hong Kong. Lamma Island delights with fishing villages, landscapes, hiking trails, beaches and bustling seaside cafes.
- Shek O (beaches) & Stanley Market Walk, drive or travel by public bus to visit this beach side bungalow community located atop a very windy hill. Narrow lane ways are lined with cottages lived in by visitors, travelers and residents of all ages. Grab a snack at one of the many stands or lunch at the many restaurants hidden amongst the houses. Be sure to run your feet through the sand and dip your toes in the sea for a minute. Stanley Market, just a few blocks away from the sea is a large market filled with souvenirs and trinkets of all kinds, it’s most definitely worth a visit.
- Waterfront & Laser light show Wander the waterfront’s esplanade and take in the star studded walk of fame amidst spectators, travelers and locals along the water. Shops and rest stops line the riverside for onlookers to stop and take in the view or pick up a new souvenir trinket. In the evening the buildings alight in neon laser lights that seem to dance on the water at breakneck speed. Trying to capture the lights on film is a job for an expert photographer.
- Kowloon & Nathan Road Shopping, sculpture art, cafes, parks and a spot in town providing a varied view of the city skyline.
- Disneyland The pink train on the MTR takes you to the land of Mickey Mouse. Castles, rides, characters and that all encompassing Disney magic are palpable starting with the hidden mickeys on the train. All of the wonder that is Disney lives here in this Hong Kong park.
What are your favorite spots in Hong Kong?