Travel

8 reasons to visit Hong Kong

Author: Canadian Living

Travel

8 reasons to visit Hong Kong

1. The tramway up Victoria Peak
The panoramic view of Hong Kong from the top of the 552-metre high Victoria Peak is breath-taking. The virtually 360-degree view allows you to catch sight of the South China Sea and some of the region's outlying islands, not to mention the high-rise-studded Kowloon skyline. And it's easy to get to. Simply grab a taxi to the foot of the peak for the eight-minute cable car ride (the railway car is actually called the Peak Tram). Suggestion: choose a day with clear skies, or opt for an evening experience when the skyscrapers of Hong Kong light up the vista. For more details, visit www.thepeak.com.hk.

2. Free Tai Chi
The Hong Kong Tourism Board runs free Tai Chi classes for beginners, four days a week, with a trained Tai Chi practitioner. Benefits of this ancient Chinese art of slow meditative exercises include relaxation and improved balance, plus there are claims that it boosts the immune system. While Tai chi is low-impact, it's a surprisingly good cardio workout. Head to the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Call 852 2508 1234 or visit www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/things-to-do/cultural-tours.html for details.

3. The chocolate fountain at Café Kool
Café Kool, in the majestic Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel is an absolute mecca for chocoholics. The 300-seat restaurant, with food stations offering everything from seafood, pasta, risotto and steak to lobster, tandoori chicken and more, includes a specialty for gourmands: a fountain of flowing chocolate lava smack in the middle of a dessert-and-fruit buffet. Dip to your heart's content! 

4. Ngong Ping 360 cable car
Hong Kong's newst cable car ride has been a boon to tourists, Buddhist monks, and pilgrims who traverse 5.5 kilometres over sea and land on the way to the large Buddhist monastery in the hills of Lantau Island. It's a fast and easy way to escape the high-rise hustle of Hong Kong's core to spend the day walking among the temples and visit small traditional fishing villages.

Page 1 of 25. Temple Street Night Market
Ordered chaos is a frequent descriptive for the Temple Street Night Market, also known as Men's Market. Vendors in garishly lit stalls offer the gamut of bargains ranging from designer jeans, watches and CDs to iPods, cell phones, cameras and full sets of luggage. Join the frenetic crowds around the food stalls (fresh seafood and hotpot anyone?) or unravel your future with one of the fortune-tellers. Impromptu Cantonese operas aren't unheard of.

6.  Elements Shopping Mall
Elements Shopping Centre
is located above the Kowloon MTR Station. This upscale everything-you-need centre has more than 125 shops, a 1600-seat cinema and a full-size indoor skating rink. The expansive mall is divided into five zones representing the five elements of nature: metal, wood, water, fire and earth. You can shop 'til you drop or enjoy a cappuccino in a café overlooking the rink. Too cool!

7. Flying in comfort
If you are flying a long distance, especially across numerous time zones, why not travel in style and comfort? If it's your first time to Asia, it's good to know that Cathay Pacific airlines provides a culinary immersion en route as you dine on dim sum, Chinese pastries, sushi and Japanese noodles.

8. Festivals, festivals and more festivals.
In addition to popular Chinese New Year, Hong Kong offers an infinite choice of festivals.

The tiny island of Cheung Chau hosts the Cheung Chau Bun Festival, an annual bun festival in May to honor Pak Tai, god of the sea. Spectacular bun towers, some as tall as 60 feet, are constructed in front of the Pak Tai Temple as an offering, and the blessed buns are handed out to the faithful at the end of the festival.

The Dragon Boat Festival held each year in early June commemorates the death of a national hero, Qu Yuan, who drowned himself in protest against the corrupt third-century rulers. Elaborately carved, wildly painted dragon boats compete in races in the Shing Mun River in New Territories.

The Moon Festival in mid-September is a time for family reunions in Hong Kong. Families parade outdoors with traditional multi-coloured lanterns to watch the full moon rise and eat sweet moon cakes.

For more Hong Kong festivals, visit www.discoverhongkong.com

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8 reasons to visit Hong Kong

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