For the best views and pictures take a 20p (First Class) trip on the Star Ferry between Central and Kowloon. Takes 5 minutes to cross the harbour, but provides great views of the skyline, even better at nightime.
Take the ferry from Central Ferry Station, across from the Mandarin Oriental station.
This is an all purpose travel card and smart card. You can buy it for HK$150 which is $100 credit and $50 deposit. It can be used on the MTR, KCR, buses, ferries and the peak tram, so there’s no more queuing to buy tickets or trying to find the right change. It can also be used to buy items at the kiosks in the MTR and is accepted at places such as Starbucks and McDonald’s. Top-up terminals are located at all MTR stations.
Any KCR or MTR station
The 10km stretch of the Great Wall from Jinshanling to Sumatai makes for an unforgettable hike. Wake early for the three-hour bus or taxi ride to the start and expect to return to Beijing in the early evening. The steep and crumbling steps are manageable. The only real hazard are the hawkers, whose stamina is pursuing tourists with bags full of bottled water and canned beer is as infuriating as it is impressive.
An impressive mountain on Hong Kong island, either walk up it (takes about one hour or more) or take the funicular railway. Queues for the rail can be harsh though, especially at the weekend - make sure you get there early. Once you get up to the top you have a fantastic view of Hong Kong and over to Kowloon on the coast and surpass tallest building on the island, quite exhilarating!
Hong Kong Island, buses go to the funicular regularly from the harbour station
This smart card allows you to travel on all the transport system in Hong Kong without the need to worry about carrying the correct amount of small change. It works on the swipe card principle. Available from all metro stations and 7/11 shops.
The initial deposit is 50 HK dollars, minimum credit when purchased is 100HKD. Top up as required.
These are both fantastic street markets, selling a mixture of kitsch Chinese things, for example, Chairman Mao alarm clocks, but also great, very cheap jewellery and nice goods, for example, Chinese checkers sets. Temple Street takes place in the evening and the Jade Market goes on all day- be sure to haggle at both unless the price is actually written.
Jade Market: Jordan Kansu Street, Kowloon; Night Market: Jordan and Yau Ma Tei areas of Temple Street, Kowloon
For a near-free tour of HK island's major attractions, travel on the upper deck of the old electric tram, from Kennedy Town in the west, through central to Quarry Bay and beyond in the east. You can peel off at Wan Chai for Happy Valley and the horse races.
Though very slow, you see virtually the whole of HK island and savour its flavour at street level, jumping off wherever you want - each trip is just HK$1-2 (20p). Avoid rush hour. Watch out for pickpockets. Anyone tall should find a seat quick, or face a crick neck all week.
If there's a few of you, hire your own tram, complete with its own bar for a Friday night trawl. Ask the tourist board.
All major HK island MTR stations, just look for the tracks, listen out for the clanking bell
Get yourself down to Happy Valley racecourse (Causeway Bay MTR station) on a Wednesday night for the horseracing.
A one of a kind setting, and one of Hong Kong's favourite past times. Nearly everyone in this town loves a flutter. Minimum wager HK$10, less than a pound, and all profits are reinvested in the community, so you can soothe your conscience as well.
Good selection of food to suit western and Asian tastes, and beer readily available.
As expensive or cheap as you want it to be.
As mentioned Causeway Bay MTR station, Exit A, then a short walk to the race track. It's on the maps inside the station and is about a 5-10 minute walk
On the far side of Hong Kong island (away from Victoria Harbour) is a great beach for swimming and sunbathing, with golden sand and some good places to eat. Go during the week and it is virtually empty, but go early at the weekend as it gets crowded later on.
There is a bus from the Star Ferry at Central, or a taxi is reasonable if shared by three people. The beach is on the south-western corner of Hong Kong island and the bus terminates alongside the changing rooms
It’s a beautiful setting, reached via a long staircase with life-size golden Buddhas on either side and when we arrived about 10am it was almost deserted.
Incense burns everywhere, with gifts of flowers and fruit to Buddha left on tables outside the temples and pagoda. There is a vegetarian restaurant and a small souvenir stall.
KCR to Sha Tin
Start your evening in style with cocktails at The Felix Bar in The Peninsula (be sure to check out the view from the men’s toilet!). Cross the road to Chunking Mansions on Nathan Road. Be brave, hold your nose and take the lift up to The Khyber Pass Indian restaurant where you can have as much freshly cooked food to eat with beer for about $100. Two Hong Kong experiences not to be missed.
Felix Bar: 28th Floor, Peninsula Hotel, Salisbury Road, Kowloon;
Khyber Pass: Block E; Chung King Mansions, 36-40 Nathan Rd
The Peninsula in Tsim Sha Tsui is famous - and very expensive. However you can visit for much less. You can try high tea in the lobby, but the real pearl is the bar on the top floor of the hotel (there's also a restaurant there).
It has the most amazing view of HK Island. Stupid prices, but just have a small beer and drink in the view. Or, even better, check out the view from the gents.
Tsim Sha Tsui - from HK Island, the Star Ferry is terrific value and also has a stunning view.
You're in the tropics: it's going to rain. But when it does, you can still see Hong Kong in this breathtakingly modern complex. The display walks you from the geological origins of the island through the dinosaurs, cavemen, ancient dynasties, colonisation, world war two and the final handover in 1997 - all of it an engaging fashion that brings the exhibits to life.
100 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong (next to the Hong Kong Science Museum - nearest Metro is Tsimshatsui) Tel: 00 852 2724 9042 hk.history.museum
The Airport Express is the express train that runs from HK international airport to central HK.
It costs 100 HKD to take a single and there are return tickets available if you are returning within 1 month.
On the return trip, you may be able to check in for your flight at Hong Kong station or Kowloon station. Check with your airline beforehand as this can save you some time.
Hong Kong International Airport
Sometimes, you want to see what is really going on in China. My experience was fantastic.
Travel by public transport, go to villages where you are the only outside visitor, meet the rural population and avoid tickets and people trying to sell their gear. I was thrilled seeing Beijing in a different light and had a wonderful experience with Chinafaces.
The most beautiful beach in HK, if not in Asia. Unfortunately, like most good things you have to put in some effort to get there, but once there, you will be glad you did. This is a real rural beach - no buildings to spoil the views and the mountains rolling into the sea. It is great for surfing, but a bit of a hike with the surf-board, but beware of the strong rip-tide (drownings have been common in the past). This is really where the hardy come to enjoy - many people camp out near the beach at weekends, although if you go mid-week you will probably have the place to yourself. Well, you and the wild cows!!
Take the MTR to Choi Hung; then the bus to Wong Shek Pier (only at weekends, weekdays take the bus to Sai Kung and then a taxi to Wong Shek pier), then a little out-board motor boat to the start of the walking trail; from there it's a 45 minute hike over the hill. The path is concreted, so is not too bad. Check out www.hkoutdoors.com/new-territories/tai-long-wan-sai-kung.html
The locals really go to town on horse racing. Races are at Sha Tin or Happy Valley, the tourist board runs a night trip to the latter if you don't fancy heading off alone. The staff are happy to show you how to place a bet (the tickets are pretty complex) and take you ringside to get close to the action. Great fun.
Sha Tin in the New Territories: www.shatinracetrack.com;
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