Welcome to part two of my whirlwind trip around Hong Kong. Let’s take a look at some of the sights and sounds you can expect on this vibrant island.
Kowloon covers the north of the island. It’s a hectic place that takes in everything from Karaoke to street markets and shopping malls, with some of the best retail therapy in Hong Kong.
One of the main attractions here is the Nathan Road, the Golden Mile of Kowloon, and I stayed nearby, in the Mong Kok area. Nathan Road is where the crowds swarm around the designer shops and markets beneath the electric lure of the neon lights.
Nathan Road stretches all the way from Kowloon Peninsula, near the old Chinese border, to the Victoria Harbour waterfront. At Harbour City, the designer heart beats strongest, with Prada and Armani outlets to name just two. But continue along Nathan Road and you’ll find plenty other shops and markets to get your attention.
On the tip of the Kowloon peninsula is Tsim Sha Tsui (known locally as TST), a major metropolitan hub with many specialty markets and malls. TST, which never sleeps, upholds Hong Kong’s reputation as a gourmet paradise, with a huge variety of quaint eateries and fine-dining establishments.
There are markets here to meet every need. The Ladies’ Market is great for designer bags and watches. Make sure you haggle – if you don’t get the price you want, walk away. They’ll race after you and be happy to take your offer.
Temple Street is evenings-only. This is where the Hongkese practise their Karaoke. But if you want to join in or take a photo, you might be asked to pay. Cross palms with silver here and you can also have your fortune told.
At Jade Market, you can buy necklaces, bracelets and ornaments in any colour you like – provided it’s jade. There’s a bird market and a flower market, too, along with many others.
Beyond the markets, the Walled City – once a military fort – is a must-see, as well as Hong Kong Disneyland, Ocean Park Hong Kong, and The Peak, for sky-scraping views.
On Hong Kong Island, you can see the lights and sights from double-decker trams skinnier than the skinniest skinny latte. Use an Octopus card and get covered for buses, shops and restaurants, too. Make sure you stick around for Sunday, when all the locals hit the Central district for some serious singing, dancing and socialising.
Aberdeen Harbour is also unmissable and a feast for photographers. Take the free ferry to the Jumbo Kingdom seafood restaurants, which ‘float’ on concrete pillars. For a truly authentic Hong Kong experience, take a sampan ride or watch the dragonboat contest.
Next: Make a reservation for next week when I’ll look at Hong Kong’s hotel scene.