For a panoramic view of the park, climb the steps up to the top of the metre Vantage Point tower. The Asian outpost of the popular American theme park. Most of the attraction are geared towards younger kids, with family-friendly rides such as the Mad Hatter Teacups and a ghost tour of the Mystic Manor. The 3D Iron Man motion simulator provides more thrills. For eating out, choose between Chinese dim sum and Western burgers, cotton candy fast food. Located in Aberdeen, on the south side of Hong Kong Island, the park is divided into two halves: Waterland lowland and Summit headland , with cable cars and the Ocean Express funicular linking the two.
Ocean Park is both thrilling and educational. The Amazing Asian Animals includes four giant pandas and some rare red pandas, while Marine World lets you get a close looks at large marine animals, such as sea lions and seals. Nearest transport: bus from Central ferry pier. This large Buddhist complex, originally built in the s, was completely rebuilt in wood in in Tang dynasty style. Demonstrating harmony between man and nature, all the buildings are expertly crafted out of interlocking pieces of wood, without the use of a single nail.
The adjoining Hall of Celestial Kings houses a large statue of Buddha, surrounded by deities.
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In the Main Hall you may come across nuns making offerings to Sakyamuni Buddha or chanting behind intricately carved screens. At the nunnery, Chi Lin Vegetarian serves excellent vegetarian food.
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To reach the nunnery, go around the Hollywood Plaza mall, turn right onto Fung Tak Rd and head up the steps. A striking temple in the New Territories. A thirty-minute MTR ride from central Kowloon, this quirky monastery is well worth seeking out. Some are holding exotic objects, some are riding wild beasts a tiger, a pig ; look out for one bearded follower with hands coming out of his eyes. Decades ago, the waters of Victoria Harbour were filled with dozens of traditional Chinese junks, their red sails aflutter.
They all but disappeared with the advent of modern boats, but you can still sail aboard two examples of this venerable ancient sailing ship. For an extra-special touch, if you want to romance your sweetie, you can also opt for the latter, followed by a six-course Northern Chinese dinner at Hutong www.
For an unparalleled view of Victoria Harbour, head for Ozone. An ear-popping ride up in the elevator takes you inside this subtly-lit, futuristic-looking bar — step out onto the terrace, and Hong Kong spreads out beneath you. You can reserve a bar stool facing the bay or else a sofa; for the best views, request the sofa in the far right corner.
Nibbles include international tapas and sushi. Nearest transport: Kowloon MRT. The easiest and most picturesque way to reach the plateau is to take a minute ride over the bay and mountains on one of the Ngong Ping cable cars from Tung Chung; the pricier ones have glass floors for an even more spectacular view NOT for those with vertigo!
Beneath the podium is the Po Lin Monastery — a large, impressive Buddhist complex popular with visitors. Most of the buildings you see here are new and extravagantly decorated; the simpler ones hiding behind them are the older ones. Standout exhibits include the life-size dwelling of the Tanka boat people, the walled villages of the Puntay, traditional costumes and colorful festival masks, and a replica Chinese wedding procession. Post-handover Hong Kong, from onward, remains unrepresented.
It takes just an hour by Turbojet hydrofoil to get from Hong Kong to Macau. Take the Guia cable car up to the fort for excellent views of the city.
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For lunch, try some Macanese Portuguese-Chinese fusion specialities, such as slow-braised ribs and cod with black-eyed peas, at the colonial Clube Militar de Macau Avenida de Praia Grande , accompanied by fine Portuguese wines. For as long as it has been inhabited by humans, the Hong Kong area made a living from the sea.
In Traditional Maritime China, follow the ancient routes along which exotic goods were traded. The China Trade looks into the Opium Wars that resulted from the one-way flow of Chinese goods into Europe, the British exporting opium to China in return and the Chinese trying to ban these opium imports.
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Nearest transport: Central MTR. All three venues are in Wan Chai. Enjoy panoramic island views from the 43rd floor viewing platform in the Bank of China Building ; or bring your own booze to the public terrace at the International Finance Centre and gaze at Victoria Harbour. If in Kowloon, join lovers and photography enthusiasts on the rooftop carpark of Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui for some serious sunsets over the harbour or West Kowloon. Listen to the clink of silverware as fashionable patrons take afternoon tea in the opulent lobby, then climb the red-carpeted staircase to the colonnaded verandah on the second floor.
The markets of Mong Kong are perfect for browsing. Brush shoulders with housewives and comb-over uncles and try your hand at haggling. You can enjoy the vistas by hiking, cycling and picnicking. For those with less time, there are urban parks and gardens where you can take walks along dappled paths between bouts of sightseeing. A quiet beach in Sai Kung.
Just bring sunblock, a picnic and music for a cheap-but-cheerful party. Hair-raising bus rides along scenic routes make for a budget alternative to the thrill rides at Ocean Park. Try the following if you dare: bus number Sunday only from Siu Sai Wan via Tai Tam Reservoir to Stanley; bus number 14 weekdays only from Sai Wan Ho along the tram tracks to Stanley; bus number 6 around the southern bays, and the open-top buses H1 and H2 that pick you up in Central. A quiet moment costs nothing at Man Mo Temple. Hong Kong's places of worship are plentiful and usually free to enter.
There are hundreds of temples and nunneries, a fair number of churches, and a handful of mosques and synagogues in Hong Kong.
Almost all are free of charge. You can enter to experience the history and architecture, or simply for a few moments of quiet contemplation.
For deeper introspection, saunter among the headstones of the famous dead at Hong Kong Cemetery. A former explosives magazine compound asiasociety.
This fishing town is where the Hong Kongers retreat for swimming, kayaking and some of the city's best seafood. The center of the town is a 1,meter quay lined with endless seafood stalls.
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Each of them looks like a mini aquarium as the boss displays an amazing array of freshly caught seafood for diners to order from. Across the street, fishermen sell their curious looking catch right off the boat at the pier. Some six kilometers west of the seafood street is Trio Beach, a nice soft-sand stretch with calm and clean water, a relaxed atmosphere and seaside barbecue pits. For the truly energetic type, Sai Kung Country Park provides some of the most challenging and rewarding hiking experiences with mountains to beaches.
Taking up three blocks of Tung Choi Street every night, this enclave of more than stalls represents the epitome of Asia's market culture: a bit crowded, a lot noisy but totally stimulating. Although it's been running for about three decades, this government-licensed street market is still set up from scratch every day. Vendors construct their tents with canvas at noon and pull them down when the market closes around midnight.
Best time to go is after 7pm when tourists and merchants are at their optimal size. The meter mountain has that classic Hong Kong view.
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Near the summit at meters there is an entertainment and viewing complex called Peak Tower where travelers can snap that perfect souvenir photo. In the foreground, a forest of skyscrapers rise in eye-opening density beneath your foot while the sapphire blue Victoria Harbour glitters in distance. Go on a nice day, and you can also make out the outlying islands scattered on the South China sea on the degree observation deck. Various modes of transport run here, but the 1,meter-long Peak Tram line is most popular. The year old track is said to be the first funicular railway in Asia and the eight-minute ride can reach as steep as 30 degrees.