Hong Kong is one of the world leading financial capitals, a major business and cultural hub...
Hong Kong, officially the Hong Kong special administrative region, is a territory located in Southern China in East Asia, bordering the province of Guangdong to the north and facing the South China Sea to the east, west and south. It has a population of 7 million people but only 1,108 km2 (428 sq mi) of land, making it one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
Beginning as a trading port, Hong Kong became a dependent territory of the United Kingdom in 1842, and remained so until transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China in 1997. Along with Macau, Hong Kong is one of the two special administrative regions under the "one country, two systems" policy. As a result, Hong Kong is largely self-governing, has its own currency, legal and political systems, a high degree of autonomy in all areas except foreign affairs and defence, and is generally not considered part of mainland China.
Renowned for its expansive skyline and natural setting, Hong Kong is one of the world's leading financial capitals, a major business and cultural hub, and maintains a highly developed capitalist economy. Its identity as a cosmopolitan centre where east meets west is reflected in its cuisine, cinema, music and traditions, and although the population is predominantly Chinese, residents and expatriates of other ethnicities form a small but significant segment of society.
Hong Kong, the Oriental Pearl, is simply amazing! It would be hard to find a more exciting city than Hong Kong. Set among beautiful natural surroundings it has all the benefits of a thriving and vibrant commercial center. Here you can find the delights of modern living alongside an abundance of reminders of its historic past. Whether you visit the better known highlights like the stunning Ocean Park, the fantastic viewpoint of Victoria Peak or the beautiful Repulse Bay, Hong Kong is certain to exceed your expectations.
Hong Kong is made up of four parts: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories and the Outlying Islands. Hong Kong Island is the center of economy, politics, entertainment and shopping. Northern Hong Kong Island is the main commercial, shopping and entertainment area; the residential area is located in Eastern Hong Kong Island; and Southern Hong Kong Island known for its sea shores and bays. Kowloon is another flourishing part of Hong Kong. Above all, Causeway Bay, Wan Chai, Tsim Sha Tsui, Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok are the most popular areas. These areas are busy day and night, and tourists can feel secure enjoying the lively nightlife, because Hong Kong is one of the most secure cities in the world. The New Territories and Outlying Islands are ideal places to experience a peaceful and natural Hong Kong.
Life forms existed more than 6,000 years ago at many sites along the winding shoreline of Hong Kong. It was believed that during the earliest prehistoric periods, from the close of the fourth millennium BC, Hong Kong experienced a change in the environment, in which the sea levels rose from as much as 100 meters below the present level.
Ancient artifacts suggest a strong dependency on the sea. According to recent excavations, archaeologists have discovered two main Neolithic cultures lying in stratified sequence. Pieces of coarse, cord-marked pottery has been found together with fine, soft, fragile pottery decorated with linear carvings, perforations and paintings. The fourth millennium BC is associated with this phase.
In the next phase, probably in the mid-third millennium BC, a new ceramic form decorated with a wide range of impressive geometric patterns was found. Better workmanship and a melange of different shapes indicate a progression in techniques. Ornaments, such as rings made from quartz and other stones, display exquisite craftsmanship.
Bronze emerged in the middle of the second millennium BC, with weapons, knives, arrowheads, and tools excavated from Hong Kong sites. Other evidence from the islands of Chek Lap Kok, Lantau, and Lamma showed that metal was worked locally. During the Bronze Age, pottery was made at high temperatures and adorned with geometric designs.
Besides crafts and tools, ancient Chinese writings have also been found around Hong Kong Island and on some of the smaller, mostly uninhabited islands. These writings depict the lives of maritime people that resembled those in China's southeastern coastal areas, proposing that they might be of mutual origins.
At the time of the Qin (221 - 206BC) and Han (206BC - AD220) dynasties, parties of people from the mainland came and settled in Hong Kong. They brought with them their heritage, which made an impact on the indigenous populations. Coins of the Han period have been discovered in Hong Kong, and a brick tomb was uncovered at Kowloon's Lei Cheng Uk in 1955 with a series of Han tomb furniture. Many other discoveries and excavations reveal relations between various Chinese dynasties of the past with Hong Kong that have already been historically recorded.
Western influence in China came about at the beginning of the 15th and 16th centuries due to the increased trade in Chinese products, such as silk and tea through the Silk Road that stretched from northwestern China to eastern Europe. The Europeans were interested in Hong Kong's safe harbor located on the trade routes of the Far East, thus establishing a trade enterprise between Western businessmen and China. The Portuguese were the first to reach China in 1555, but the British dominated foreign trade in the southern region of Guangzhou (Canton) during the early stages of Western connection in China.
Ships from the British East India Company were stationed on the Indian Coast after Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty opened trade on a limited basis in Guangzhou. Fifteen years later, the company was allowed to build a storage warehouse outside Guangzhou. The westerners were given limited preferences and had to adhere to many Chinese rules and policies. Until the trading season ended, they could only live in certain areas in Guangzhou, and were forbidden from bringing arms, warships, or women. Chinese rulers also banned foreigners from learning the Chinese language in fear of their potential bad influences.
Chinese commodities, namely porcelains and landscaped-furnishings, were popular among the European aristocrats. The British East India Company tried to equalize its huge purchases from China by doubling its sale of opium to the Chinese. The sale of opium saw a huge success by the beginning of the 19th Century. Fearful of the outflow of silver, the Chinese emperor banned the drug trade in 1799 but to no avail. Smuggling came about as neither foreign traders nor Guangdong merchants were inclined to forego the profitable business. Throughout the next few years, the British enjoyed a fruition of success from opium. When they lost monopoly of the trade, other foreign traders stepped into the illegal opium business for a share of wealth.
In 1839, Lin Zexu was appointed by the emperor as a special commissioner to Guangzhou to stop the drug trade. He and his troops used force to impel the foreign factories to surrender their stocks of opium. This act was the stepping stone to the First Opium War when the Chinese and the British could not comply with one another's demands. As a result of the war and the Chinese' fear of British military threats, Hong Kong was rewarded to the British under the Convention of Chuen Pi in January 1841. On January 26, 1841, the British flag was raised at Possession Point on Hong Kong Island, and British occupation began. A few months later, officials were selling plots of land and the colonization of Hong Kong took flight.
September to February
Hong Kong Coliseum, Aberdeen, Art Gallery of the Institute of Chinese Studies, Bank of China, Bird Market, Cheung Chau Island, Flagstaff House Museum of Teaware, Fung Ping Shan Museum, Hong Kong Arts Center, Causeway Bay, Victoria Peak, Wan Chai, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong Museum of History, Hong Kong Space Museum, Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, Kowloon - Nathan Road, Lantau Island, Lei Cheng Uk Tomb, Lei Yue Mun, Man Mo Temple, Noon Day Gun / Jardines Gun, Ocean Park / Oceanarium, Repulse Bay, Tiger Balm Garden, Tin Hau Temple, Tsim Sha Tsui Cultural Complex, Wong Tai Sin Temple, Lamma Island, Hong Kong Disneyland
Hong Kong Coliseum: This impressive pyramid-shaped building was completed in 1983. The covered arena has 12,500 seats, and the program includes ballet performances, ice shows, sporting events and the Hong Kong Philharmonic's classical and pop concerts. The Hong Kong Coliseum consists of a big arena and a number of conference rooms.
The arena is rectangular with sides 41m each, with a concrete cement flooring. At times of performance, the floor may be covered with different overmounted floorings, such as demountable wooden flooring or various rubberized roll-outs, to facilitate the set-up of sporting equipment and the playing of different sporting activities such as futsal, badminton, basketball, volleyball and ice-skating.
Aberdeen: Aberdeen, named after Lord Aberdeen (1784-1860), Secretary of State for the Colonies in the mid 19th century, is situated at the southwestern corner of Hong Kong Island. It is probably the oldest settlement on the island. Once said to have been a hide-out for pirates who drew heung kong (fragrant water) here, it is now one of the most popular and most expensive residential areas in Hong Kong. The Cantonese name Heung Kong Tsai, which is preferred by the local people, means "little Hong Kong".
Art Gallery of the Institute of Chinese Studies: This impressive art gallery is on the campus of the Chinese University in Sha Tin. In four sections of varying heights, the rooms open on to an inner courtyard laid out in modern materials in the form of a traditional Chinese garden. The gallery contains the Jen Yu Wen Collection (1300 items, including paintings and calligraphy by Cantonese artists from the Ming dynasty to the present day), together with 300 bronze seals of the Han dynasty, a collection of stone inscriptions, mostly of the Han dynasty and the Six Dynasties, and a collection of more than 400 flowers carved in jade.
Bank of China: The imposing Bank of China Building, opened in 1989, was briefly the tallest building in Hong Kong, but was overtaken three years later by the Central Plaza in Causeway Bay, just 6m/20ft higher. However it is still one of the highest skyscrapers in the world and the sixth highest outside the USA. Sharply angular in plan, the building was designed by the internationally famed Chinese-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei and took only four years to complete.
Bird Market: A visit to the Bird Market in Kowloon is a must for those interested in exotic birds. Every day connoisseurs of songbirds meet here and eagerly discuss their mutual interests over a bowl of Chinese tea. Since its move from Hong Lok Street to Yuen Po Street the market has lost something of its atmosphere, but it is still well worth a visit.
Cheung Chau Island: Cheung Chau is a small island about 12km/71/2 miles west of Hong Kong (an hour by ferry from Central). The population of almost 40,000 has no traffic problems: there are no motor vehicles on the island except electric cars, and people go around on foot. Life goes at a leisurely pace here. The island is a favorite weekend excursion with the people of Hong Kong.
Flagstaff House Museum of Teaware: The Flagstaff House Museum of Teaware, opened in 1984, is housed in the oldest Western-style building still existing in Hong Kong, in a neo-classical style typical of Hong Kong's 19th century architecture. It was originally the headquarters of the commander-in-chief of the British forces in Hong Kong. After their withdrawal it was completely restored, with financial aid from the state, and opened up to the public.
Fung Ping Shan Museum: This museum, founded in 1932 within the University of Hong Kong on the initiative of Professor F. S. Drake, specializes in Chinese ceramics and bronzes. It provides an interesting insight into the Ming and Ch'ing dynasties, periods which were so important to China's artistic development.
Hong Kong Arts Center: The 14-story Hong Kong Arts Centre (from which there is a magnificent panoramic view of the harbor) was opened in 1976. In its three halls - the Shouson Theatre, the Studio Theatre and the Recital Hall - events organized by the Hong Kong Arts Festival and other international performances are held. In the main, however, local groups of artistes perform here.
A variety of local and international exhibitions are put on throughout the year in the Pao Sui Loong Galleries on the fourth and fifth floors.
Causeway Bay: Causeway Bay was a shoal more than a hundred years ago. After reclamation it was earth-based and gradually became a commercial area with an interconnecting road system. Now, it serves as a very popular center for shopping, dining and nightlife in Hong Kong. If you are interested in shopping, the ultra-modern Times Square, the Japanese department stores and the fashion boutiques should not be missed.
Victoria Peak: If Hong Kong is a city of jade during the day, it becomes a luminous pearl with a sea of lights twinkling in the streets after dark. Where is the best place to enjoy the multi-colorful night scene that encompasses Hong Kong and Victoria Harbor? Victoria Peak is a good location to view its night scene. Being 554 meters (about 1,817.6 feet) above sea level, Victoria Peak is the highest point within Hong Kong and occupies the western part of the island.
Wan Chai: Wan Chai is the home district of Suzie Wong, the romantic figure of the novel and film which also starred William Holden; the Luk Kwok Hotel she made famous was pulled down in 1986. In the evening this part of the city south of Johnston Road becomes a brightly-lit entertainment quarter with discos and other haunts of pleasure which are very popular with sailors.
Hong Kong Museum of Art: Hong Kong Museum of Art is a museum for Chinese cultural heritage, and local and international art in Hong Kong. The museum was established as the city hall museum and art gallery in the city hall in central by the urban council in 1962. In 1991, it was moved to the present premises at 10 Salisbury road, near the Hong Kong cultural centre and the Hong Kong space museum, in Tsim Sha Tsui. It is currently managed by the leisure and cultural services department of the Hong Kong government.
Hong Kong Museum of History: Founded by the urban council in 1975, the museum's collection centers on history, archaeology and ethnography. 19th and 20th century photographs illustrate the development of the former colony, while archaeological finds - the Museum is officially responsible for all excavations in Hong Kong - document all the region's cultural phases, going right back to prehistory. The ethnographical department is concerned with arts and crafts, beliefs and customs, traditional agriculture and architecture.
Hong Kong Space Museum: The Hong Kong space museum is a museum for astronomy and space science in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. It is currently managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of the Hong Kong Government. The museum is next to the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and Hong Kong Museum of Art.
The museum has a unique egg-shaped dome that covers more than 8000sq. meters, which rendered it to be one of the most famous landmarks in Hong Kong. It was the first local planetarium for the popularisation of astronomy and space science. It comprises two wings - east and west. The former, the planetarium's nucleus, has an egg-shaped dome structure. Beneath it are the Stanley Ho Space Theatre, the Hall of Space Science, workshops and offices.
Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank: The imposing offices of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank in Queen's Road cost almost �900 million/US $1300 million, making this the most expensive office building in the world - even dearer than the neighboring 70-story Bank of China of 1989. It has 52 storys, is almost 179m/590ft high, and houses a working population of 3500.
Kowloon - Nathan Road: Nathan Road, Kowloon's main traffic artery, runs in a dead straight line for 4km/2.5mi from Victoria Harbour to Boundary Street, which marks the northern limit of Kowloon. It traverses the busy Mong Kok district, one of the most densely populated areas in the world.
Lantau Island: Throughout Lantau Island, the beautiful scenery and famous historical sites are truly fascinating. There is a chain of mountains that stretches from the higher elevations in the west to the lower ridges in the east. The highest peak in the mountain range is Phoenix Mountain, standing 935 meters (102,2 yards) high. It is the second highest peak in all of Hong Kong. The most popular attraction for tourists visiting Lantau Island is climbing Phoenix Mountain to view and admire the sunrise.
Lei Cheng Uk Tomb: This tomb, which dates from the Later Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 221), was discovered in 1955 during excavations for a new housing estate. Around 1900 years old, it is the oldest historical monument in Hong Kong. The tomb, built in brick on a cruciform plan, has four chambers opening off a central room with a vaulted roof.
Lei Yue Mun: Lei Yue Mun is one of the few fishing villages to have survived the steady growth and expansion of Hong Kong. Its survival may have been helped by its popularity with the numerous visitors who come here to savor the atmosphere of its market and to eat in its many excellent fish restaurants.
Man Mo Temple: The words Man Mo mean �civil� and �military�, and this temple, like many other Man Mo Temples located throughout China, is dedicated to two very different gods. Man Cheong is the God of Literature while the name Mo refers to Kwan Yu, the god of war or martial valor. The images of the two gods are enshrined inside the temple, which is located on Hollywood Road. You�ll find Man dressed in a green robe, holding a writing brush in his hand. Kwan Yu, dressed in red, totes a long sword.
Noon Day Gun / Jardines Gun: On the stroke of noon every day, opposite the Excelsior Hotel, a brief but historically significant event takes place: after a symbolic chime of a bell, a liveried gunner fires a shot from a cannon to give the official time signal for Hong Kong. This firing of a cannon goes back to the time when the firm of Jardine Matheson and Co., which still exists, was the colony's largest trading company.
Ocean Park / Oceanarium: Ocean Park, the largest "oceanarium" in Asia, lies on the Shum Shui peninsula, west of Deep Water Bay and east of Aberdee. Covering 86 hectares/212 acres, the park is on two levels, linked by a cableway 1.4km/1500yds long and a long escalator. On the lower level are a park, a play area, water gardens, plants from all over the world, exotic birds and animals from many countries. Here, too, there are various cultural events and other attractions.
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 beach stretches long with clear azure blue water gently lapping the seashore. Its sand is golden and soft.
Tiger Balm Garden: This well-known (and controversial) leisure park was laid out in 1935 by Aw Boon Haw (the "Tiger"), who had become a multi-millionaire from the sale of his "Tiger Balm" ointment. In this "Chinese Disneyland" - in the borderland between art and kitsch - are garish plaster reproductions of dragons and other fabulous animals from Chinese mythology, artificial mountains with caves and grottoes, and representations of life in old China.
Tin Hau Temple: The Tin Hau Temple, together with the Fook Tak Tse, Shing Wong and Shea Tam Temples, forms part of a temple complex in the Yau Ma Tai district of Kowloon. The temples were originally built about 1870 on another site but were transferred to their present position in 1876; they were last renovated in 1972.
Tsim Sha Tsui Cultural Complex: This cultural center, one of the most ambitious projects undertaken by the city council, was built between 1980 and 1991. The first part of the complex to be built, in 1980, was the Space Museum with its associated planetarium, a lecture hall and two exhibition rooms.
Also in the complex are a 3000-seat concert hall, a 1500-seat theater, various rooms for exhibitions and lectures, the Museum of Art and the cultural department of the municipal administration. The Tsim Sha Tsui Complex has now become the cultural center of Hong Kong.
Wong Tai Sin Temple: Even though this is one of the newest Chinese temples in Hong Kong it is nevertheless one of the most interesting. A private temple built about 1920 which once stood here was replaced in 1968 by the present building. The temple is dedicated to the Taoist god Wong Tai Sin, whom the people of Hong Kong regard as the bringer of good luck in horse-racing and a healer of illnesses.
Lamma Island: Lamma Island, which lies at the southern part of Hong Kong, is the city's third largest island. With the immense sea, the clean beach and the brilliant coastal scenery, Lamma Island attracts more and more tourists to spend their holidays at the island. The ease of life on Lamma Island lures a lot of foreign expatriates and office workers of Hong Kong to live here.
Most of the islanders live on Yung Shue Wan, which is at the north part of the island. Yung Shue Wan boasts of its exquisite shops, exotic cafes and enchanting bars, some of which are run by foreign traders. Here tourists can buy handicrafts, articles for living use and foreign snacks. While eating seafood in a restaurant by the seaside and enjoying the coastal scenery is a distinctive way to experience Lamma Island.
Hong Kong Disneyland: As the newest Disneyland in the world, Hong Kong Disneyland is a must-see because of its special attractions and the inimitable sense of Chinese culture. Walking into Hong Kong Disneyland, you feel you are in a wonderland. Accompanied by Mickey Mouse and other Disney friends, you start a fantastic and magical journey. With unique scenic spots and Disney Theme Hotels, you can go escape from the real world, and make your dreams come true. The availability of delicious Chinese and Asian food is also a lure for many visitors and Disney fans.
Hong Kong has a perfect transportation system. It boasts the world-class Hong Kong International Airport, strong maritime transportation and convenient railways. Also there are helicopters between Hong Kong and Macau and long-distance buses from the major cities in Guangdong Province to Hong Kong. All those transportation advantages make getting to Hong Kong a breeze.
Hong Kong, due to its predominant location, makes Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), a super hub in Asia and the gateway to inland China. Hong Kong International Airport is world class and, it accommodates more than 140 airlines. Flights connect with many cities in mainland China, such as Shanghai, Beijing, Xiamen, Dalian, Kunming, and Haikou, Ningbo, Fuzhou, Nanjing, Chengdu, Hangzhou, Chongqing, Qingdao, Guangzhou and Wuhan.
There are some Cross Boundary coaches  operating from the business districts in Kowloon or Hong Kong Island to the Chinese side of the checkpoint. If you take these coaches, there is no need to change for the yellow shuttle bus and hence it is a good choice for boundary crossing to avoid the queues.
There are 6 lines of short trip cross boundary coaches serves the port,
� Jordan, Kowloon departs from Scout Centre, Austin Road, Tsim Sha Tsui (5 mins walk from Jordan MTR).
� Mongkok, Kowloon departs from Portland Street, near Metropark Hotel Mongkok (exit from Prince Edward Hotel).
� Wanchai, Hong Kong Island departs from Wanchai Ferry Bus Terminus.
� Kwun Tong, Kowloon departs from Lam Tin MTR, stops at Kwun Tong APM Shopping Plaza and Kwun Tong Rd, Kowloon Bay MTR.
� Tsuen Wan departs from Discovery Park Bus Terminus (10 mins walk from Tsuen Wan MTR).
� Kam Sheng Road departs from Kam Sheung Road West Rail Station.
Except the route to Kam Sheng Road, 24 hour services are provided with half hourly or hourly departure in midnight and around 10-20 mins per bus during the day and evening.
Since the Jingjiu (Beijing � Kowloon) Railway was completed, it has been easy for tourists to go to Hong Kong from mainland China by train. Jingjiu Railway on the Chinese mainland is connected with Hong Kong MTR (Mass Transit Railway Corporation) East Rail at Lo Wu Station in Kowloon. This connection makes the transport by train between the mainland and Hong Kong a reality.
At present, there are through trains of Hong Kong (Kowloon) - Beijing&Shanghai and Hong Kong (Kowloon) - Guangdong. The trains to/from Guangdong go via Guangzhou, Dongguan (Changping), Foshan and Zhaoqing. The through trains to mainland China depart from Hung Hom Station. This station is close to the Hong Kong Coliseum, located at No.9 Cheong Wan Road, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
The Park Lane Hotel, Regal Hong Kong Hotel, Excelsior Hotel, Gold Coast Hotel, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, Ramada Hong Kong Hotel, Regal Kowloon Hotel, Panda Hotel, Hotel Miramar, New Kings Hotel, The Wesley Hong Kong, Metropark Hotel Mongkok, Caritas Lodge (Boundary Street)