Hong Kong (literally: "Fragrant Harbor" or "Incense Harbor"), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is an autonomous territory on the Pearl River Delta in East Asia. The mainland Chinese province of Guangdong borders the territory to the north. With a total land area of 1,106 square kilometers (427 sq mi) and a population of over 7.3 million of various nationalities, it ranks as the world's fourth most densely populated sovereign state or territory. After the First Opium War (1839–42), Hong Kong became a British colony with the perpetual cession of Hong Kong Island, followed by the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 and a 99-year lease of the New Territories from 1898. Hong Kong was later occupied by Japan during the Second World War until British control resumed in 1945. In the early 1980s, negotiations between the United Kingdom and China resulted in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, which paved way for the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong in 1997, when it became a special administrative region (SAR) with a high degree of autonomy.
If a single image could encapsulate Hong Kong, it would be the panorama from Victoria Peak. Looking down at the city from this famous vantage point, you'll see one of the finest harbors on Earth and a skyline so lofty that Manhattan's looks provincial by comparison. Everything you've heard about Hong Kong's restlessness and energy is dramatically reaffirmed by the view from the Peak. Even locals never tire of visiting it. It reminds them why they live here. You can reach the peak via the Peak Tram, the 120-year-old funicular railway, that departs from its terminus on Garden Road.
Located in Tsim Sha Tsui, one of the Hong Kong’s busiest districts, Kowloon Park covers an area of 13.47 hectares. It was opened in 1970 and underwent a major redevelopment in 1989. The park runs parallel to Nathan Road and has several entrances. There is also a pedestrian footbridge link from China Ferry Terminal. A central avenue runs through the park from Haiphong Road to Austin Road. The northern end of the park encloses Kowloon Park Sports Centre with multi-purpose arena, dance room, fitness room, squash courts and Kowloon Park Swimming Centre which has both indoor and outdoor pools.
Aberdeen Harbour was where the British set foot first upon arriving to Hong Kong. Back then Aberdeen was the center of the incense trade and this is how Hong Kong got its name "Fragrant Harbor". The Jumbo Floating Restaurant in Aberdeen Harbor is internationally renowned tourist attraction. As a Hong Kong icon and a premier tourism and fine-dining establishment, Jumbo has regularly been upgraded over the past 30 years. Jumbo recently had a multi-million dollar refurbishment which not only gave the Jumbo a new look, but also transformed it into a theme park on the sea. Jumbo Kingdom is now a modern complex of dining, sightseeing and cultural attractions - a required stop in any tour of Hong Kong.
The quaint and charming Aberdeen Fishing Village is not far from the hustle and bustle of the heart of Hong Kong, but seems like light-years away from it all. You can get a sense for what things were like long ago and how modern life is catching up to the old traditions, which stubbornly co-exist with contemporary amenities. Aberdeen is still home to the boat-dwelling Tanka people. You will see the old ladies peddling the catch of the day and the sampans riding around the harbor.
When the sun goes down, the traders have already laid out their wares and the opera singers and fortune tellers begin to emerge. Welcome to the Temple Street Night Market, a popular street bazaar, named after a Tin Hau temple located in the center of its main drag, and a place so steeped in local atmosphere that it has served as the backdrop to a many memorable movies. Trinkets, tea ware, electronics, watches, menswear, jade and antiques are scrutinized and haggled over, while claypot rice, seafood, noodles and other treats are consumed with gusto.
Po Lin Monastery is one of Hong Kong’s most important Buddhist sanctums and has been dubbed "the Buddhist World in the South". Home to many a devout monk, this monastery is rich with colorful manifestations of Buddhist iconography.
Its pleasant garden is alive with birdsong and flowery scents. You can enjoy a meal at its popular vegetarian restaurant.
The remote Po Lin Monastery, hidden away by lush mountains, became a popular attraction when the extraordinary Tian Tan Buddha statue (informally known as the Big Buddha) was erected in 1993. Sitting 34 metres high and facing north to look over the Chinese people, this majestic bronze Buddha draws pilgrims from all over Asia. The eyes, lips, incline of the head and right hand, which is raised to deliver a blessing to all, combine to bring a humbling depth of character and dignity to the massive Buddha, which took 12 years to complete. Climb the 268 steps for a closer look at this remarkable statue, and enjoy the sweeping mountain and sea views from its base.
A Symphony of Lights is the nightly multimedia show involving more than 40 buildings on both sides of the harbor. Named the "World's Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show" by Guinness World Records, colored lights, laser beams and searchlights perform in an unforgettable all-round spectacle synchronized to music and narration that celebrates the energy, spirit and diversity of Hong Kong. There are five main themes: Awakening, Energy, Heritage, Partnership, and the finale, Celebration. The show is free for public enjoyment and no admission ticket is required. It starts at 8PM daily and lasts for about 13 minutes.