Hong Kong Travel Guide
Hong Kong is a fascinating place, and a relatively new one at that. It is an autonomous region situated just off the south coast of the People’s Republic of China encircled by the South China Sea. Hong Kong covers the areas of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon Peninsula divided by Victoria Harbour, New Territories and over 200 other small islands.
From the mid 1800s, the British and Portuguese took hold of Hong Kong after China’s efforts to stop Britain’s opium trade failed. Hong Kong thrived at this point with a booming manufacturing industry and soon became a well known financial centre while still part of Britain’s territory. Its success was in part due to the ambitious leaders and the influx of Chinese migrants leaving their communist homeland. It quickly developed into a densely populated and compact high-rise community. Today it has a population of over 7million and well known for its internationally sleek buildings and enterprising spirit.
What many don’t know is that although Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, only 25% is actually developed. A large percentage of the undeveloped land is protected as reserves. The central city is jam-packed with development but further a field is a mountainous terrain. Along with these reserves they have also increasingly promoted a green environment especially when it comes to the growing pollution.
While most of Hong Kong’s famous high-rises are found at Kowloon, the popular tourist spots are on the north side of Hong Kong Island. For more on Hong Kong Attractions see our guide to things to do in Hong Kong.
When getting around Hong Kong, most prefer to go on foot in the city centre with help from the efficient subway system. Other options include buses, trams and taxis which are relatively inexpensive when considering international standards.
Hong Kong’s economy has seen its ups and downs throughout the years, with big highs and big lows following the major financial crises. Milton Friedman once described Hong Kong as the world’s best laissez-faire capitalism experiment. It has continued to develop its capitalist economy and for the last fifteen years has been the most economically free economy. One of the reasons for this has been the low taxation and free trade characterisation of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is an interesting mix of both eastern and western cultures merged together spurring largely from the traditional roots and the British influences from its past reign. The harmony between modernised high-rises and traditional elements produce an eclectic mix of old meets new. This can be seen in the futuristic designs with very carefully thought out feng shui. The food and cuisine of Hong Kong takes a similar stance with a fusion of different cuisines merging east and western tastes from dim sum to fast food.
For bright lights and extensive high-rises, the fast paced Hong Kong will bring a new light to your China travels. With its futuristic feel and traditional roots, you will surely get attached.