A city full of surprises
during a five-day whistlestop tour of this exhilarating, spontaneous city known as the Pearl of the Orient. Yes, it tends to feel a little crowded. That’s because tourists are rubbing shoulders with the seven million people who inhabit the 1104sq km space that spreads through Hong Kong and Lantau Islands, the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories, including 262 outlying islands.
Most visitors come away marvelling at the efficiency of the city that lays claim to having the world’s most dense high-income urban area – at 25,900 people a square kilometre. It works like a Swiss watch.
First-time visitors also come away with a healthy respect for locals – tram drivers, ticket sellers, customer-service staff – who display painstaking consideration for tourists.
Those heading to Honkers for a five-day sojourn will easily be able to tick off most of the popular things to do on the typical Hong Kong bucket list. But they’ll also delight in adding a few of their own. It’s that sort of city. Here’s a start:
Ser Wong Fun
Find out that snake really does taste like chicken in this famous little eatery that serves up stringy snake in congee for about $11 or go the whole hog with a snake banquet. Note, there are no live snakes in the building.
Mid Levels, Hong Kong
It takes about 1½ hours to hike to the highest point on Hong Kong Island but the reward is cooler air and a spectacular view over skyscrapers and Victoria Harbour. Be amazed at how much of the island is covered in jungle. Alternatively, take the tram and enjoy lunch in one of four signature restaurants. Shopping is a national sport in Hong Kong and there’s plenty of opportunities in the Peak Galleria.
Ming Kee Fish Restaurant
It’s just a 20-minute ferry ride from Stanley to Hong Kong’s southernmost island for hiking, swimming and a chance to check out some ancient rock carvings. Lunch on freshly caught seafood – scooped live out of a tub in front of diners – and a cold beer at Ming Kee Fish Restaurant. Sunday brunch is a Hong Kong institution. Zuma does it in bubbly Japanese style. Form an orderly queue and get to know the resident dumpling Nazi in this must- try culinary experience. The hour-long wait for a table is rewarded with the house specialty, barbecued pork buns and steamed prawn dumplings. About 60,000 Hong Kong workers commute to work using this one-way system, but it’s also a great way for tourists to rest weary feet and get an elevated look at street-level Hong Kong.