Hong Kong: A pretty much the perfect city to visit

Hong Kong is pretty much the perfect city to visit. A fast-paced, capitalist 21st century outlook is allied to traditional Chinese culture to make Hong Kong an intoxicating mix of east and west. It’s easily the best city for a stopover en route from Europe to the Antipodes but even if eats into travel time at the other end, it’s worth giving Honkers a few extra days to soak up a city that’s unique, and fascinating, in so many respects.

East meets west
Hong Kong is a fantastic fusion of eastern and western influences. It’s perched on the edge of China yet for decades was a British colony — meaning you’ll find skyscrapers and glitzy shopping malls alongside alleyways full of dim sum restaurants and locals playing mah jong. For the traveller this makes it an interesting place to visit, but also an easy one due to the bilingual signs and English-speaking population.

A taste of China
One of the best things about Hong Kong is just wandering the streets of downtown or the outlying areas and soaking up the atmosphere. For 150 years Hong Kong was a British colony hewn from the Chinese province of Guangdong (formerly known as Canton). So from small, family-run eateries to giant dim sum palaces to shops selling bottles of traditional medicine to night markets selling all sorts of exotic-looking foods — Hong Kong is a great place to get an insight into Chinese culture and cuisine.

Let’s go shopping
Whatever you want — from designer clothes to cheap sunglasses — you’ll be able to get it in Hong Kong. It’s long been known as a shoppers’ paradise but these days the prices for brand-name items are comparable to elsewhere. But for basic items like jeans or shoes there are bargains aplenty.

Victoria Peak
The view from Victoria Peak — looking over the treetops, down to the other-worldly skyscrapers and towards the glittering Victoria harbour — is without doubt one of the finest in the world. It’s worth visiting at day and at night. The historic Peak Tram is the best (and easiest) way to get to the top but the walk down is very pleasant.

Great cuisine
Cantonese cuisine is justifiably world famous. But if you think it’s all just sweet ’n’ sour pork or beef ’n’ blackbean you’re in for a very big (and pleasant) surprise — delicious yum cha is just the beginning.

Island hopping
Hong Kong has several islands that are a simple ferry ride from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong Island itself. They have fantastic walking trails and (on weekday) deserted, sandy beaches. They’re also a treat just for wandering around to get an appreciation for life outside the skyscrapers.