Scintillating Hong Kong awaits. With shops that never cease to amaze and lure you with the number of items on sale, from the cheapest to the costliest and restaurants, food shops and street stalls that sell some of the most flavourful, tastiest and mouth-watering food you’ll ever find. It is still as enigmatic as ever, with its blend of Eastern and Western lifestyles and traditions, with its magnificent skyline and the wondrous shops whichever way you turn.
Come and visit Hong Kong. Skiddoo has some great deals right now so why not squeeze in a weekend or a few days to fly to Hong Kong, dine anywhere you wish, and shop anytime you like. There’s always a bargain to find, even on high-end fashion items and the latest electronic gadgets and more.
Best Time To Visit Hong Kong
Spring and fall are the peak tourist seasons in Hong Kong but it is a city that is visited by tourists year-round, actually. Although it has its fair share of hotels and other accommodation options, it is best to make hotel reservations if you plan to fly to Hong Kong in time for some festivals or during the holidays, particularly during the celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year. Moreover, do note that Hong Kong has two cycles of “Golden Weeks” from May 1 to 7 and from October 1 to 7. It would be best to avoid these times as the city would be swarming with local tourists on their week-long holiday. The city also holds major trade fairs and conventions for March to April as well as from October to November, so expect hotel rooms to be scarce on these months, therefore pre-booking is advised. If you want some great package deals and avail of cheaper rates in the city, go to Hong Kong during summer and winter.
History Behind The Culture
Hong Kong’s rich culture is a mesmerising mix of East and West. While it had been a part of China from the beginning, its 150 years under British rule cannot be discounted. Likewise, it was occupied by the Japanese from 1941 to 1945 (Second World War), so you can see how its culture became so diverse. The city though continues to develop its own unique identity, with residents calling themselves Hong Kong Chinese or Hong Kongers to make the distinction. City residents still follow traditional Chinese values such as saving face, courtesy and family solidarity, but their culture is likewise influenced by the Cantonese. Official languages are English and Cantonese, while Mandarin is also accepted. Religion is varied, with many being Buddhists, while others are Taoists, Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs.
While quite modern and Westernised, Hong Kong Chinese still celebrate Eastern festivals such as the Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Festival. The city is notable as well for hosting the annual Dragon Boat Festival. Hong Kong’s culture is highly distinguished for its delectable cuisine, which is also a unique blend of East and West. Still, it has its own style, in its outdoor street food stalls, and some food and drinks that could only be found in the city. But we cannot erase the fact that Hong Kong equates to shopping. You can afford to purchase international high-end goods at affordable prices here due to the city’s lower tax duties. In such a highly-commercialised city as Hong Kong, you cannot help but expect the best of both worlds.
Avid Shoppers – Shop Till You Drop
Cheung Sha Wan Road
Cheung Sha Wan
The more than 250 fashion and textile shops at Cheung Sha Wan Road are for wholesale buyers, for those who have small boutiques and retail shops. Still there are shops that cater to retail customers but they are not that plenty. Part of the fun is in rummaging through the stock to find what exactly you’re looking for. This is one of the many shopping areas around Hong Kong where you can find the latest in fashion from name brands at huge discounts. Although mostly dealing in bulk sales, the size is small, so you can purchase about ten to twenty of the same item that would still be much lower than retail prices. You should be aware though that some of the items available at the shops are rejects, excess and end of line items, so carefully inspect the items you’re going to get. Shops here are open from 9 AM to 6 PM on weekdays, half day on Saturdays and mostly closed on Sundays.
China Hong Kong City
One of the newer shopping malls in Hong Kong is China Hong Kong City in the shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui. You’ll find about 20 name brand outlets here that offer discounts of up to 70 per cent. The mall now has several retail shops that sell a myriad of stuff, from Chinese herbal care items to dried seafood to gift items, watches, jewellery, and electronic products as well as personal and beauty items.
Foodaholics – Eat Your Heart Out
Above & Beyond
Also in Tsim Sha Tsui East is Hotel Icon, whose lounge, Above & Beyond is fast gaining popularity. Along with its Private Bar, the lounge is a great way to get a breathtaking view of Hong Kong, although it is actually the creative and delicate creations of Chef Joseph Tse that attract customers. This is a place where you can get a taste of classic Cantonese cuisine with a twist, where modern ingredients are mixed with the traditional, carefully blending their tastes to maintain the authentic flavours with just the right hint of something different. Chef Tse carefully chooses ingredients that maximise the flavours while complementing the original taste of Cantonese cuisine. Above & Beyond serves lunch and dinner from 11 AM to 11 PM.
Dai Pai Dongs
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Savour the outdoor eatery experience in one of Hong Kong’s 28 cooked food stores called dai pai dong. While any type of outdoor eatery is now labelled as a dai pai dong, only the 28 authentic ones are legal as new dai pai dong licenses are issued today. The signature green stalls may look similar to each other but each one has its own unique offerings. Some of the best streets to look for them are at Graham, Temple, Haiphong and Hau Fook, as well as around Causeway Bay.
Adventure Seekers – Hiking
Dragon’s Back Ridge
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Hong Kong’s urban center is literally a concrete jungle but in the suburbs, it is still possible to get closer to nature. Take the MRT and go down at Chai Wan, and have a great time hiking along Dragon’s Back Ridge, a beautifully-scenic, simple and short route, just right for people wanting to go outdoors but can only stay for a limited time. Start your hike at Chai Wan and go up the stairs towards Cape Collinson Cemetery, then walk along the ridge overlooking the sea and the southern Hong Kong Island. You can then make a turn and head to Shek O Road and board a bus or you can continue up to the Tai Tam Reservoir or head for the Shek O Beach by walking or taking a bus.
Peak Circle Walk
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First-time visitors to Hong Kong find a way to reach The Peak, the highest point on the island. From there you can have a magnificent view of Victoria Harbour and the spectacular skyscrapers across the harbour. The best views of the surrounding landscape can be enjoyed on the Peak Circle Walk, which encircles the top. The Peak Circle Walk starts at Lugard Road. After a few minutes you’ll be treated to one of the most fantastic views of Victoria Harbour, so be sure to take your camera with you. Continue walking and soon you will be at Harlech Road, which will take you back to your starting point near the Peak Tower. It’s just a 15-minute walk, that is, if you are not distracted by the views.
Important Events In Hong Kong
Lunar New Year
As mentioned before, Hong Kong also celebrates Chinese New Year and they do it in a very colorful and grand style, turning the entire harbour front into a huge outdoor party place. Join the throng as they visit temples to wish for good fortune, marvel at the quantity of red Chinese lanterns that almost cover the city streets and wander around the markets where you can find flowers and food that are meant to bring luck. Be awe-struck by the beauty and grandeur of the colorful floats during the parade, be entertained by local and international performers and enjoy the grand fireworks display. The celebration of the Lunar New Year lasts for 15 days, with each day associated with a different traditional activity.
Dragon boat festival
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On the fifth day of the fifth lunar month, which usually falls within late May or early June, Hong Kong celebrates the Dragon Boat festival. It is a competition among rowing teams riding dragon boats decorated to make them look mightily fierce, with their painted dragon tails and fearsome heads. It’s lively, colourful and frenetic, with several teams racing across the water, paddlers working rhythmically to the deep sound of heavy drums. Dragon boats are usually over ten metres long, carrying about 20-22 crew members, a steersman and a drummer.
Hong Kong WinterFest
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Romance and magic come forth as the city celebrates Hong Kong WinterFest during the holiday season. The Hong Kong Tourism Administration sponsors the Western style festival as a means to attract more visitors to the city around Christmastime. The city literally glows in the dark with thousands of fairy lights, carolers serenading people out to enjoy the cool weather and the myriad of activities available. Shoppers will have a great time as prices are reduced considerably, colourful markets showcase plenty of wares and auspicious food, lovers can hung “love locks” and gaze at the huge Christmas tree at Statue Square. The three metallic giant dandelion designed by Robert James Buchholz gets displayed at Statue Square, inviting people to make a wish on one of its 18 seeds installed on the ground. Highlight of the festival is the Hong Kong New Year countdown with a spectacular pyrotechnics show at Victoria Harbour.