To keep reminding myself of why I love Hong Kong, I have compiled a personal list of things that I love about Hong Kong. I initially arrived in China, in 2003, because I grew up watching pictures and movies about Kai Tak Airport, and because of my love for aviation I wanted to go and see the site of that old airport. Hong Kong is a lovely stopover city, and one of the best places to travel.
So here are my top ten things I love about this beautiful city (in no particular order):
1. A hike to the top of Lion Rock Hill
Hong Kong is a city that is all about absorbing the beautiful views. Climbing to 495 meters above sea level rewards you with breathtaking views across to the harbour and the centre of Hong Kong. The views are best at sunset when the sun shimmers across the harbour with the little fishing boats seen dotting in the horizon. I love this place because I sit on the rocks all day if I want to and write stories, poems, or just mesmerize at the breath-taking views across to the horizon.
2. A drink at the Ozone Bar at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong
Nothing beats the feeling of whiling away your evening at the highest watering hole in the world, and admiring the view of the whole of Hong Kong below you. Pilots in yesteryear would have enjoyed the same view when they came into land at the former Kai Tak Airport, and today you can enjoy it too. A must try is the signature cocktail called Aria 118 (orange vodka, sake, coconut rum, passion fruit, and lychee). Best to arrive early in the evening or after dinner as the place can understandably get busy. I love this place because I enjoy a lovely drink, such as the Aria 118, and feel as if I am sitting in the clouds.
3. Eating fresh seafood at Mui Wo on Lantau Island
Around a 40-minute ferry ride from Central, Mui Wo is situated in tranquil surroundings and presents some of the finest fresh seafood around. Take a nice bottle of wine or Champagne, and indulge yourself with a fanfare of fresh lobster, prawns, and other seafood. Best to go when the sun sets, and even better if you can stay overnight (the Mui Wo Sunshine Hotel is close by). I love this place because I can indulge in FRESH seafood, and just listen to the waves swashing back and forth against the shores of Mui Wo in the magic of the evening. Equally well the priceless red sunsets are worth mesmerizing at.
4. Taking the Star Ferry
It only costs around HKD 2, but it provides some of the priceless views in the world. Hong Kong harbour's skyline is such that only Manhattan in New York can probably beat it to its beauty. The 8 minute ride from Kowloon to Central is equally worth riding no matter it's day or night, and whatever the weather may be. Much better than the over crowded MTR metro! I love taking the Star Ferry because it reminds me of what Hong Kong is all about- sight-seeing, fun, elegance, views, and people watching. You can do all of that while you on the Star Ferry.
5. Going to the Peak (by the bus or the Peak Tram)
From the peak you can get spectacular panoramic views across to the whole of the city (OK, The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong also provides equally spectacular views but from a different angle). Allow at least around 3 to 4 hours from your schedule to fully experience and enjoy the sights of the Peak (includes the time to get to the top). The Peak Tram was first introduced in 1888. It was built for the daily commuters rather than a tourist attraction though nowadays majority of the passengers are tourists. The ride is quite steep and it climbs up to 396 meters above sea level. You can either the Peak Tram to the Peak (Bus 15C runs from the Central Ferry piers to the Peak Tram terminus), or you can bus number 15 from Pier 5 to the peak, or a taxi (expensive!). If you take the number 15 bus from Pier 5 in Central then you'll be treated to some lovely views across from the hills (that's where all the A-list celebs reside). I love the Peak, because it reminds me of the sheer wealth that Hong Kong has.
6. Afternoon tea at The Peninsula Hotel
Back in the days the Canton to Kowloon railway used to stop right outside the Peninsula Hotel, and that used to the star attraction of the city. Nowadays while the KCR train stops a bit further away (at Mong Kok!), the Peninsula Hotel in Tsim Sha Tusi is nevertheless still a huge attraction for the city. It's one of the key colonial legacies that the city is proud of. If you can, then it is advisable that you book for the Afternoon Tea experience well in advance, as there can be long queues. You can find more at the review I did a few years ago: Peninsula Hong Kong. l love the Peninsula Hong Kong because it showcases the British history that Hong Kong has connected with it. It also is one of the best places to have a lovely cup of tea and some delicious cakes.
7. Going to the beach on Lamma Island
The 3rd largest island in Hong Kong, Lamma Island is not too far away from the Central pier (it takes less than an hour by ferry). It is recommended that a full day, or at least half a day is spent to enjoy the sights and smells of this island. There are some nice clean sandy beaches on the island, and plenty of fresh food (both Western and local Cantonese). If you want to stay for the night, then it’s very easy to find a small hut by the beach to rent (cheap as chips). I love Lamma Island because you can get good, healthy food, have a good swim, and even go sailing if you want on a small boat- and it does not cost much. It’s a perfect place for a short day’s trip.
8. Yung Kee Restaurant in Lan Kwai Fong
Located within the narrow lanes of the over-crowded Lan Kwai Fong (expat area that is dotted with many watering holes and small food joints), Yung Kee Restaurant is a popular haunt for me. I have attended a lot of school reunion dinners there, and the Beijing Duck is always a delight to tuck into. Price per head can be on the heavy side, but you get what you pay for. The quality of the food will blow your mind away.
9. The MEGABOX
The MEGABOX is a 6-storey shopping & entertainment complex located in Kowloon overlooking the old Kai Tak Airport’s runway. You can go ice-skating, go to watch a movie or even experience a real simulator and try to land a plane at the old Kai Tak Airport. It’s perfect for couples, children and families. My favourite part of the MEGABOX is the food & beverage area. I love the Studio City Bar & Café which presents some of the finest steak in this part of Hong Kong, and a lovely pint of German or Australian beer to go with it! I love it because the MEGABOX is away from all the touristy areas, and because it is located just next door to the old airport, so there is bit of nostalgic feel to the place.
10. The food and drinks in the Seven 11
Hey, come on, I know it's only a 7/11 store BUT I must say that the variety of colorful drinks at the 7/11 and the K Shops cannot be found in the mainland or in the U.K.- and that's why I love it. There are at least 3 or 4 types of Lucozade, and those mouth-watering iced-tea drinks are just awesome and perfect for cooling down your heels in the hot and humid summers.
Above all else, I also love the people of this beautiful city. For the majority of the time I have been to Hong Kong has been from Guangzhou, however when I do fly from the U.K. I tend to take Cathay Pacific Airways, the proud carrier of the city. Cathay Pacific Airways is one of the six world's airlines that have been classed as a five star airline by the official SKYTRAX world airline rankings.
Here is an article on www.fly.com about Hong Kong that I wrote.
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