Hong Kong, an Amazing City
Once described as a “barren rock” some 150 years ago, Hong Kong is nowadays a world-class financial, trading and business centre. Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China on 1 July, 1997, after a century and a half of British administration. Under Hong Kong’s constitutional document, the Basic Law, the existing economic, legal and social systems will be maintained for 50 years. The SAR enjoys a high degree of autonomy except in defence and foreign affairs.
More information on Hong Kong can be found in the websites of:
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (http://www.gov.hk/)
Information on major parks and open spaces in Hong Kong can be found in the website of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (http://www.lcsd.gov.hk/en/ls_park.php). Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department’s website also contains information on country and marine parks in Hong Kong (http://www.afcd.gov.hk/eindex.html).
Situated at the south-eastern tip of China, Hong Kong is ideally positioned at the centre of the rapidly developing East Asia. With a total area of 1 104 square kilometres, it comprises Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula, and the New Territories, which also includes some 262 outlying islands.
Hong Kong’s population has recently reached 7 million. The population density is about 6 400 people per square kilometre.
Chinese and English are the official languages in Hong Kong. Government’s policy is to encourage a “biliterate” (Chinese and English) and “trilingual” (Cantonese, Putonghua and English) proficiency in people of Hong Kong. English is widely used in the Government and by the legal, professional and business sectors.
Hong Kong has a subtropical climate with distinct seasons. During November, there are pleasant breezes, plenty of sunshine and comfortable temperatures, with average air temperature ranging from about 14 to 19 degrees Celsius and relative humidity about 78%.
The Hong Kong Observatory’s website provides latest weather information, forecasts and warnings on hazardous weather. You may also find its Dial-a-weather service useful in Hong Kong (telephone number: (+852) 187 8200). www.hko.gov.hk
Hong Kong International Airport is one of the busiest in the world, being served by more than 85 airlines that provide passenger and freight services to over 150 destinations worldwide. Visitors arriving in Hong Kong can take the efficient and convenient Airport Express railway, buses and taxis to the city centre quickly. Visitors can find useful information from the website of Hong Kong International Airport:
Hong Kong is geographically compact and has a very efficient and affordable public transport system. Most of the places are accessible by the Mass Transit Railway (MTR), buses, minibuses, electric trams, ferries and taxis.
MTR is a heavily patronised railway system consisting of nine lines. Most of the busiest, densely populated parts of Hong Kong are served by its comprehensive network. It carries about 3.6 million passenger trips on weekdays.
Franchised buses are the largest road-based carriers and account for about 37% of the total daily public transport volume, or an average of about 4 million passengers daily.
Electric trams have been running on Hong Kong Island since 1904, and are still a popular mode of transport along the busiest areas on the Hong Kong Island.
In the inner harbour, ferries offer a supplementary mode of transport to the buses and railways. The Star Ferry’s origin can be traced back to 1880. Its 10-minute crossing at Victoria Harbour is a well known, not-to-be-missed experience for visitors to Hong Kong.
Taxis in Hong Kong are easy to flag down. Information on the taxi fare can be found in the Transport Department’s website.
The Peak is probably the icon of Hong Kong. Commanding a spectacular vista of the Victoria Harbour, the Peak by night is a must-see for all visitors. The city embedded in thousands of glittering specks of light has dazzled and attracted countless number of tourists to Hong Kong.
Visitors can take an 8-minute journey of the Peak Tram, which has been in service since 1888, to reach the terminus at the Peak some 397 metres above sea level. The steepest inclination of this 1.4 kilometre ride is about 45 degrees.
A natural deepwater harbour sheltered by mountain ranges on its sides, Victoria Harbour is at a strategic location in relation to the Mainland China and other Asian countries. Victoria Harbour is instrumental in Hong Kong developing into an important shipping centre and entreport. Victoria Harbour is world-famous for its beautiful panoramic night view and skyline.
Aberdeen typhoon shelter is a refuge for hundreds of fishing vessels berthed there when typhoons hit Hong Kong, and during the Chinese New Year holidays. The traditional lifestyles of these local fishing folks are reminiscent of the golden years of this small fishing village. It is still the traditional place where the annual local and international dragon boat races are held.
You will also find the two large floating restaurants in the centre of the typhoon shelter. They are a tourist icon of Hong Kong, and very popular for their seafood cuisine, dim sum and fine Cantonese dinning.
Avenue of Stars
The Avenue of Stars on the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade pays tribute to outstanding film stars and directors of Hong Kong. Commemorative plaques, handprints of movie celebrities, descriptive milestones, kiosks selling movie memorabilia and a life-size statue of the legendary kung-fu action star, Bruce Lee, are popular features of the Avenue of Stars.
Offering incredible panoramic views of the Victoria Harbour and the unforgettable Hong Kong skyline, it is also a good place to watch the spectacular “A Symphony of Lights”, an outdoor light and sound show on both sides of the harbour.
Golden Bauhinia Square
The Golden Bauhinia Square outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on the Wan Chai waterfront marks a significant occasion in Hong Kong's history - the return of the former British colony to the People's Republic of China, and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on 1 July 1997. It is the location of the official flag raising ceremony. In the centre of the Square stands the Golden Bauhinia Sculpture.
Opened in 1977 on 87 hectares of land granted by the government, the Ocean Park has developed into a world-class marine-based theme park attracting over 5 million visitors in 2008.
Ocean Park comprises the Lowland and Headland sections, connected by a 1.5 km cable car system which offers breathtaking panoramic views of the southern coast of Hong Kong and the South China Sea. Giant Pandas Habitat, Kids World, Sea Jelly spectacular, Pacific Pier, Atoll Reef, Ocean Theatre, and exciting thrill rides are only some of the popular attractions of the Ocean Park.
Open Air Markets
Ladies’ Market in Mong Kok is renowned for good bargains for fashionable ladies’ clothing, accessories, handbags, toys and other small household items. Other nearby attractions include the Sportswear Street, Goldfish Market, Flower Market and Sai Yeung Choi Street South, which is a focal point for AV, electronic and telecommunication products.
Repulse Bay Beach
One of the most popular public beaches under the management of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Repulse Bay Beach is popular for its usually calm water, long stretch of sandy beach and unforgettable sunset.
The open markets in Stanley may be a paradise for bargain-hunters in clothing, accessories, souvenirs and others goods. Its beautiful natural beaches are popular for windsurfing and other water sports activities.
Stanley waterfront houses great restaurants, café and bars, as well as the restored Murray House. Originally built in 1844 as military barracks at the Central waterfront, this historical building was dismantled in 1983 to give way to urban development and later re-erected at the present location in Stanley in 2000.
Just opposite the Murray House is the new Blake Pier at Stanley. This is an outstanding example of heritage conservation in Hong Kong. Originally erected in the Blake Pier at Central waterfront in 1909, the steel pavilion was dismantled in 1965 and moved to a park to make way for reclamation. In 2006, the historical Blake Pier Pavilion was dismantled again and re-erected at the new Blake Pier at Stanley, resuming once again its original use as a shelter for the pier.