Hong Kong, “fragrant harbour” in Cantonese, is as enticing as the incense it was named after, which used to be stored here for exporting. Chinese New Year in February is the best time to visit, when fireworks, parades, and dancing draw audiences from all over the world. The flower markets are also busy this time of year, with different blooms said to bring luck to buyers. Visit the Wishing Trees in Lam Tsuen or the Wheel of Fortune at Sha Tin’s Che Kung Temple. The Giant Buddha, constructed over a ten-year span, is requisite stop for anyone on a Hong Kong holiday.
Take the Peak Tram up the mountain overlooking the wonderland that is Hong Kong, and take in the marvellous view of the water, skyline, and the city. Once on Victoria Peak, step inside Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum and mingle with the likenesses of Johnny Depp, Jackie Chan, and Paris Hilton.
Ocean Park is another tourist favourite, a conservation area and amusement park at once. Four giant pandas, 750 birds, and over a thousand sea jellies can be seen here. Sea lion and dolphin shows are a big hit, as is SkyFair, where kids can hop on a helium balloon and float on air!
A gastronomic tour of the food districts is a must. Seaside Stanley area is great for a romantic dinner, while the restaurants at Sai Kung serve the freshest fish, prawns, and scallops. Low-priced Southeast Asian food and local desserts are the specialty in Kowloon City, and Causeway Bay is the site of a “true Hong Kong” dining experience. Tea is served everywhere.
Get a trinket at the Jade Market; purchase a moon cake (a sweet pastry filled with lotus-seed paste); or bring home a cheongsam (a native Chinese dress).