There can be two kinds of travelers—those who love to “rough it” in exotic destinations and those who want everything to be as convenient and as comfortable as possible. If you belong to the latter, Hong Kong is definitely one of the most tourist-friendly places you could ever visit. Everything—from its public transportation system to its hotels—is highly efficient. Aside from being very well-organized, Hong Kong also boasts of an interesting “East meets West” culture. More than 150 years of British colonial rule (which ended in 1997) have taught the locals how to let their cherished Chinese traditions harmoniously co-exist with Western attitudes.
For first-time Hong Kong tourists, a trip to The Peak is a must. It offers panoramic views of Hong Kong and its outlying islands. The best time to go would be an hour or so before sunset—you get to see the splendor of Hong Kong while there is still some daylight. As it turns dark, you can watch the entire city light up before your eyes.
From The Peak, you’re also treated to a great view of Victoria Harbor. If you’re on the Kowloon side, Victoria Harbor is best viewed from the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade. Every night, Victoria Harbour becomes the stage for one of the world’s largest light and sound show—The Symphony of Lights. It usually starts at 8 in the evening. You can expect a dazzling display of decorative lights and lasers dancing on magnificent skyscrapers—all this enhanced by music and narration.
Hong Kong isn’t just a place for carefree fun and adventure. For those who wish to explore their spiritual side, Hong Kong also offers tranquil tourist spots where one is free to quietly go about and ponder on deeper things. In Lantau Island, for example, one can find the majestic Giant Buddha.
Perched on top of the Ngong Ping Plateau, this large bronze statue is quite a sight to behold. Not far from the Giant Buddha is the serenely lovely Po Lin Monastery which also welcomes visitors. An afternoon spent walking through its gardens is sure to uplift a weary spirit.
For such a small and compact place, Hong Kong sure packs a lot of different flavors. It’s an old and favorite friend for the cosmopolitan traveler. It’s a treasure trove of interesting experiences for the wide-eyed and inexperienced tourist. Hectic, efficient, charming, and multi-faceted—Hong Kong will arrest your senses and stimulate your appetite for life.
Main attractions: The Peak, Victoria Harbor, Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, Kowloon, The Symphony of Lights, Lantau Island, Ngong Ping Plateau, Po Lin Monastery
Currency: Hong Kong Dollar
Budget for one week: €1,200
Taxes and gratuity: Tipping is recommended
Official language: English, Cantonese
Area: 426 sq mi
- Voltage: 220-240 Volts (U.S./Canada are 110-120 Volts)
- Primary Socket Types: British BS-1363, Indian
- Multi-voltage appliances (laptops, etc.): Plug adapter
- 110-120V electronics: Plug adapter + step-down transformer
- Hair dryers, curling irons, etc.: Plug adapter + voltage converter
Visas: It’s not necessary to have a visa for Hong Kong for a stay of less than three months if you are a citizen of France, Switzerland, Canada or Belgium. For a stay of more than 3 months, visit a Chinese embassy and bring at least 35 Euros per person to acquire a visa.
Medical requirements: No vaccinations are required except a non-Malarial certificate for those coming from areas with Malaria prevalence. Tap water is not often drinkable.