With well over 2,000 buildings above 100m tall (compare that to New York, which has around 800), and an unmatched, dramatic penis-envy skyline that glows ablaze every night above Victoria Harbour, it almost seems too obvious to recommend taking in the famous Hong Kong skyline. Of course, it should be at the top of your agenda. But you may have some difficulty in choosing your preferred method.
There are a plethora of options: those with a penchant for observation decks could check out Sky100 (100/F, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Rd West, Kowloon. $29) in the city’s tallest building, the ICC, or Bruce Lee fans can combine skyline watching with some stargazing along Tsim Sha Tsui’s Avenue of the Stars (Waterfront, Tsim Sha Tsui. Free).
But you can’t really go wrong with the classic view – The Peak (Garden Rd, Central. $7). This soaring mount on Hong Kong island provides expansive views down upon the Hong Kong island skyline and across the Kowloon Peninsula and, if classic is what you’re after, you may also enjoy the traditional way up to the Peak – The Peak Tram, a 1.4km 19th century funicular which takes you to an elevation of around 500m.
For a taste of the old Hong Kong, take a ride on the city’s old-school transportation. The Star Ferry (Central, Tsim Sha Tsui and Wan Chai ferry piers), an iconic service which began in 1888 and, at a mere $0.50 for a splendid, breezy trip between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui, remains at near 1888 prices. For its land counterpart, take a lazy ride aboard one of the city’s trams. Running across the northern strip of Hong Kong island, these double decker wonders are a reminder of the old colonial past – even without the historic second-class trailers, which used to carry Chinese passengers.
Even for those intimdated by the intensity of such an urban jungle, Hong Kong has plenty to offer. Most visitors don’t realise that more than 70 percent within Hong Kong’s borders is countryside, much of which is easily accessible. The Ngong Ping 360 (Tung Chung, Lantau Island. From $16.20) – a cable car which takes you to another must-see sight, the world’s largest seated bronze Buddha – is a good way to take it in. Or, perhaps, check out Tai O (Lantau Island), a remarkable town on stilts, just one of the charming traditional villages dotted around the HKSAR.