TRAVEL: Hong Kong

Visited June 25-July 2, 2010.

Panoramic View of Hong Kong City

Panoramic View of Hong Kong City

Attractions:

  • Mong Kok
  • Hong Kong City Hall, Central
  • Tsim Sha Tsui
  • Victoria Harbor
  • Hong Kong Disneyland (June 29)
  • Lei Yue Mun (July 1)

Hong Kong is a thriving metropolis that ranks as the fourth important financial center of the world after London, New York, and Tokyo. Its history as a British colony has influenced its worldwide perspective and diverse culture. Today, Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, meaning that it has autonomy on most affairs with the exception of foreign and defense affairs. Hong Kong can be viewed as an individual country, for it has its own flag, currency (Hong Kong dollar [HKD]), government, and official languages (English and Cantonese). Packed with 7 million people over several islands, the country is divided into districts: (1) Hong Kong Island (central, east, and south coasts); (2) Kowloon; (3) New Territories; (4) Lantau; and (5) Outlying Islands.

During our visit, we visited relatives and focused on the areas of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. We stayed six nights in Langham Place—a five-star hotel that is conveniently connected to a shopping mall. The location is in Mong Kok, a busy commercial area that has plenty of shopping malls, markets, and restaurants; I highly recommend this hotel for the convenience. Also, prices here are more reasonable than in, for example, the Tsim Sha Tsui—the tourist-heavy area.

One night we went to Central. The area is a well-known shopping, business, and government district. We went to dinner with relatives at the Hong Kong City Hall, where there is the renowned restaurant called Maxim’s Palace. We had an excellent meal of seafood, beef, and other delectable dishes.

On another night, we had dinner at Tsim Sha Tsui, where there are shopping, museums, and restaurants catering to tourists. After dinner, we went to see the nightlife of Hong Kong at the scenic Victoria Harbor.

Nightlife at Victoria Harbor

Nightlife at Victoria Harbor

Hong Kong Disneyland Entrance

Hong Kong Disneyland Entrance

Like many magical theme parks in California and Florida in the United States, Hong Kong Disneyland is not to be missed. Located in the New Territories, it is in a fairly secluded area, because this district has been recently developed.

Mickey's Waterworks Parade at Hong Kong Disneyland

Mickey’s Waterworks Parade at Hong Kong Disneyland

On the day we went to Disneyland, there was barely a crowd at the ticket stands. Tickets cost HKD $399 (~$51 USD). The park consists of Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland, and Main Street U.S.A. However, some of the trademark rides, such as Dumbo, were not present due to the small size of the park. The highlights of our day at the park was the Lion King show, dim sum at a restaurant in Main Street U.S.A., Mickey’s Waterworks Parade, and Stitch’s Summer Bash parade.

Lei Yue Mun

Lei Yue Mun

Lei Yue Mun is located along the East Kowloon coast; it is no surprise that it is well-known for fresh seafood. Fishermen selling their fresh catches allowed us to choose the fish that we wanted to be cooked at the restaurant for a scrumptious seafood lunch. We had an enjoyable meal of fish, lobster, quail, and crab.

Our Lobster Lunch at Lei Yue Mun

Our Lobster Lunch at Lei Yue Mun

Cuisine

Cantonese cuisine (also called Yue cuisine) is one of the well-known culinary schools of China and is native to Guandong province. A common expression summarizes the variety of fresh ingredients used in this cuisine: “The Chinese eat everything with four legs, except tables, and everything that flies, except airplanes.” Common cooking methods used in the cuisine are braising, stewing, and sautéing as opposed to deep-fried methods of northern cuisines. Cantonese dishes emphasizes on mellow, flavorful sauces, such as plum sauce, and tender meat. Spices are used sparingly.

"Porcupine" Egg Custard Buns

“Porcupine” Egg Custard Buns

A traditional Cantonese custom is to go to a restaurant for dim sum (literally “to touch the heart”), small Cantonese snacks found in bamboo wicker baskets on trolleys, ranging from dumplings to barbeque pork. Dim sum is also a gathering for families and friends to yum cha (“drink tea”). Undoubtedly, Hong Kong boasts the best dim sum.

Additional Comments

Returning to Hong Kong is a definite must, especially for the food and shopping. Aside from visiting relatives, it would be ideal to travel to places that we have never been on our own. The best way to travel is to take the underground Mass Transit Railway (MTR). Investing in an Octopus Card—a smart debit card—is a handy way to travel. At any underground ticket station, one can purchase a card for $150 ($100 for the card and $50 deposit). The card, then, allows one to add money to it as necessary and one to use the card as payment in convenience stores, restaurant chains, vending machines, roadside parking, and some car parks.

For more photos, please see my Picasa album of Hong Kong.

Resources

China Daily. (2011, May 1). Cantonese Cuisine. China Daily. Retrieved from http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/life/2011-01/05/content_11798716.htm

Hong Kong Disneyland. (2011). Hong Kong Disneyland. Retrieved from http://park.hongkongdisneyland.com/hkdl/en_US/home/home?name=HomePage

Hong Kong Tourism Board. (2011, January 20). Discover Hong Kong. Retrieved from http://www.discoverhongkong.com/

Langham Place Hotel. (2011, July 20). Hotel Hong Kong—Langham Place Hotel Hong Kong. Retrieved from http://hongkong.langhamplacehotels.com/

Wikitravel. (2011, August 1). Hong Kong travel guide. Retrieved from http://wikitravel.org/wiki/en/index.php?title=Hong_Kong&oldid=1725406

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