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Hong Kong - Cosmopolitan China

A decade after its handover from Britain to China, Hong Kong is still the entrepreneurial city it has always been known for.

Almost 7 million people call the habitable 10% of this small 1100km² territory home, crowded by the addition of overseas tourists and mainland visitors.

The Hong Kong skyline is flushed with skyscrapers reflecting out into the bay at night as traditional style Chinese junk boats float by carrying their trade.

Top 10 things to do in Hong Kong

Victoria Peak

Also known as Mount Austin, and locally as The Peak, the mountain is located in the western half of the island and is the highest mountain on the island proper but not Hong Kong as whole (that would be Tai Mo Shan).

The mountain is a major tourist attraction offering spectacular panoramic views over the city, harbour and surrounding island from the 360° Sky Terrace viewing platform.

Due to it's popularity with tourists, there are now two large shopping centres at the top bristling with tacky tourist gift shops, burger chains and the occasional normal shop or two.

Best way to get to the top is to use the funicular railway (Peak Tram) from Hong Kong's Central district.

Star Ferry

Founded in 1888 this ferry service carries over 70,000 passenger a day across the Victoria Harbour between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.

From the ferry you can relax and take in the views of the harbour and the Hong Kong skyline.

As well as the normal passenger ferries, specific harbour tours are available on special re-creations of 1920s-style double-decker ferries.

Nathan Road

Known in the post-World War II years as the Golden Mile, Nathan Road is the main thoroughfare in Kowloon.

The street is lined with boutiques, shops, bars and local cuisine restaurants and is famous for its plentiful neon signs adorning the shops and street islands.

It’s one of the busiest and most popular commercial roads in Hong Kong and is a favourite place for visitors and locals to hang out and explore.

The vibrant, lighted neon street signs are a sight to behold, especially in the evening, and many think portions of the road resemble New York City’s Times Square.

Hong Kong Park

Situated in Central Hong Kong, this 80,000m² public park was opened in 1991 at a cost of $398 million and is an outstanding example of modern design and facilities blending with the natural landscape.

There are many different areas in park including a Tai Chi Garden, Aviary, Clock Tower, Children's Playground and a sports centre.

There are plenty of little cafes and refreshment areas available as you walk around. A great place in the center of the city to get away from the hustle and bustle of modern like.

Sampau thru Aberdeen Harbour

Aberdeen harbour is in the Southern district of Hong Kong between Aberdeen and Ap Lei Chau and is surrounded by high-rises and skyscrapers.

Sampan are traditional Chinese flat bottomed wooden boats that make up the mainstay of fishing and transportation in and around the harbours.

Boat rides and harbour tours are available form the many operators around the Aberdeen Centre boardwalk and usually last around 20mins.

Roaming around in the Aberdeen Harbour in Hong Kong, China, will give you a very clear idea of the life and culture of the boat people.

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Ten Thousand Buddhas

This Buddhist temple in Sha Tin is not a working monastery as there are no monks living in residence there and is managed by non-monks.

Despite the name, the building which was completed in 1957, is home to 12,000 Buddha statues.

It's founder, Yuet Kai, carried the buildings materials personally from the foot of the mountain together with his disciples to build the monastery. It took eight years to complete all the buildings and another ten years to finish all the statues.

His body is on display in a glass case located in the main hall of the monastery.

Repulse Bay

Repulse Bay, located in the southern part of Hong Kong Island, is the most spectacular bay in the region. Its name comes from a 19th century battle in which the British army repulsed attacking pirates.

Today, Repulse Bay is a luxurious residential area for dining, relaxation, and aquatic activities.

The bay is a very popular spot for locals and tourists alike. Swimming in the deep blue sea is a must and the bay is outfitted for safety with shark prevention nets and floating platforms. During the summer, lifeguards are on duty.

Apart from the many water sports on offer, the long sandy beach is host to a plethora of BBQ areas, cafes, shops and supermarkets.

A lighthouse near the beach is a popular place to take photos and watch the sunset over the bay.

Lantau Island

Lantau Island is the biggest of the 230 islands that make up the Hong Kong territory.

It has a very attractive mountain scenery (the highest mountain is Lantau Peak at 934m) and an impressive rocky coastline with pretty white beaches.

Most visitors come to the island in order to visit the famous Po Lin Monastery, but Lantau Island is also ideal for hiking tours.

The Po Lin Monastery is located at 450m altitude on the Ngong Ping Plateau. Opened in 1970, the main hall has two floors, an elaborately decorated roof and is host to three large golden Buddha statues.

However, the main attraction of Po Lin is the large 34m high giant Buddha statue that sits outside the monastery. It weighs 250 tons and is considered to be the largest statue of its kind in Asia. Climbing the stairs to the viewing platform affords an incredible panorama of Lantau and the neighbouring islands.

Stanley Market

If it's souvenirs you're after then Stanley Market in the southeast of Hong Kong Island is the place to go.

The large open-air marketplace is host to all types of small shops selling any and all types of wares from silk garments, Chinese costume jewellery and of course tourist trinkets.

Outside the market itself, Stanley is renowned for its many bars and restaurants on its waterfront along Stanley Main Street where visitors can enjoy a variety of different foods (including French, Italian, American, Indian and Thai) or relax with a beer and soak up the friendly atmosphere in one of its bars.

Happy Valley Races

Asia loves its horse racing and Hong Kong is no exception to this rule. Happy Valley racecourse was first built in 1845 to provide horse racing for the British people in Hong Kong.

After a fire in 1918 that claimed over 500 lives, the racecourse was rebuilt and reopened in 1995 as a world-class horse racing facility.

The track is ultra-sophisticated with computerised betting and horse races broadcast live on gigantic screens. Night racing was introduced in 1973 and was an immediate success.

The nearby Hong Kong Racing Museum offers a fascinating glimpse of the sport's exciting history.

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