Hong Kong, China: Facts, Travel, and Points of Interest

Written by Collins Obara |
Published on:

Hong Kong is a colorful, dynamic, and self-governing metropolis located on the southern coast of China. The name Hong Kong means “Fragrant Harbor” due to its deep-water harbor which is enclosed by mountainous terrain, the South China Sea, and Pearl River Delta. It is this harbor that is behind the success of Hong Kong as a center for international trade, finance, and tourism.

Hong Kong city is popularly known for its shopping, jungle of glass, and beautiful natural harbor. Measuring 1,104 square kilometers with over 7 million people, Hong Kong is one of the worlds most populated cities in Asia. 10% of Hong Kongs’ population are Christians with the remaining 90% practicing either Taoism, Buddhism and other religions.  The average life expectancy of citizens is more than 81 years old making it the sixth highest in the world.

The city of Hong Kong is ranked among the top tourist destination in Asia. It has a mixture of both Western and Eastern cultural influences and is comprised of four main areas; Kowloon, the New Territories, Hong Kong Island, and a collection of smaller islands.

Hong Kong Junk Boat
Hong Kong Junk Boat

7 Interesting Facts About Hong Kong

1. People in Hong Kong Do Not Speak Mandarin

The vibe of Hong Kong is distinctly different than China. This mentality runs throughout several aspects of life with the language being one of them. The majority of people living in the mainland China speaks Mandarin while most of the people living in Hong Kong speak Cantonese even though most of the people are familiar with both languages.

2. Almost Everyone Speaks English

Hong Kong is ranked among the top trade capitals in the world. Hence, the majority of people in this city speaks perfect English. Unlike in China, Hong Kong has made it compulsory for all the students to study English as another language in both primary and secondary schools.

3. Hong Kong is a Great Place for Walking Trails and Hiking

Hong Kong is known for its many nature-based activities including dozens of walking trails (located just outside the city), several botanical gardens for one to explore, and day trips to the beach. It is also possible for one to take a drive along the lush green coast where there are small harbors which will serve fresh seafood straight to your plate.

Sharp Peak, also known as Nam She Tsim
Sharp Peak, also known as Nam She Tsim.

4. The City Has Managed to Knock down the “Great Firewall of China”

Although China has blocked Google, YouTube, Skype, Facebook, and Instagram Hong Kong has no Internet restrictions. While technically under the political jurisdiction of China until 2046, Hong Kong maintains autonomy with regards freedom of speech, politics, and the internet. 

5. Hong Kong Has its Own Currency

"No to Chinese Yuan!" says Hong Kong. Hong Kong is all about their dollar. There are many individuals and companies in the thriving important and export business since Hong Kong has relaxed regulations on tariffs and taxes. It is advisable for any visitor traveling to Hong Kong to first exchange their money into the right currency.

6. Hong Kong Nightlife Attracts International Crowd

All travelers who are interested in the Hong Kong nightlife will have to find a special space in their heart for the word  "Lau Kwai Fong." This place is known to have party 7 days a week and 365 days a year. You will always meet people from New York, London, Cape Town, Dubai, Paris, and from every corner of the earth. There are several small bars where one can enjoy their favorite libation. Enjoying the nightlife is easy even if you are on a tight budget...and since drinking is allowed on the streets.

7. Has one of the Highest Bungee Jumps in the World

As a visitor, you can always venture into Macau Island where you will find big casinos where you can plummet from the sky. At a height of approximately 233 meters, you will freefall for around eight seconds before you feel any form of resistance. However, the price of the jump is as high as the jump itself.

7 Points of Interest During Your Travel to Hong Kong

There are several places one can visit during their travels to Hong Kong. However, be aware, it will take you more than a single trip to fit all. From temple visits and hiking early in the morning to betting on racing tracks, frantic shopping raids, late night partying and great dining in the town; the best points of interest are suitable for all seasons and will cause one to definitely fall in love with Hong Kong. Here are the most popular points of interest for anyone traveling to Hong Kong.

1. The Peak

Just as the name suggests, The Peak is known to offer the best panoramic views of the city since it is the highest point in Hong Kong. You can get to the Peak by going through the Peak Tram that rises up to 1300 ft above the sea level and goes through the buildings in the city at a precipitous gradient.  You can also go to the anvil-shaped Peak Tower or hike the 3.5 km Peak circle walk in order to get to the best vantage points of the summit.

View of Hong Kong from the Peak
View of Hong Kong from the Peak

2. Happy Valley Racecourse

Horse racing is a big deal in Hong Kong city since it is the only sport where residents of Hong Kong can legally place bets. Do not fail to visit the Happy Valley Racecourse on Wednesdays, especially during the race season which starts from July and ends on September, in order to experience the best action and enjoy lots of trackside fun. The Happy Valey Racecourse features a total of eight races where one can always try their luck on a horse.

3. The Big Buddha (Tian Tan Buddha)

This is Hong Kong's most recognizable and unique attraction. Also referred to as Tian Tan Buddha, the Big Buddha was in the planning and construction phases for 12 years. Measuring 34 meters high, visitors have to climb 288 steps in order to get to the huge bronze statue. You will need to be in good physical shape before you climb to the top.

Tian Tan Buddha
Tian Tan Buddha

The Po Lin Monastery sits next to the Budha. This is one of the worlds most important Buddhist sanctums and is full of religious iconography. You can always refuel at the neighboring Ngong Ping Village if the steps drain you of your energy.

4. Temple Street Night Market

This is a very busy and bustling market which can easily boggle your mind with its diversity. This market opens at 1600 hours and gets going past dark. This market is full of brightly lit stalls which are always selling cheap goods with lots of emphasis on inexpensive arts, souvenirs, electronics, crafts, fashion and lots of other inexpensive trinkets manufactured in mainland China factories.

5. Star Ferry Crossing

This is one of the greatest tourist attractions in Hong Kong and enables visitors to get some sense of living past that is still present in the city. Founded back in 1888, the Star Ferry Crossing carries passengers from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon. Although it has two crossings, the one from Central Ferry Pier to Kowloon is the most popular.

6. Lan Kwai and Soho

This is a cobblestoned and l-shaped lane surrounded by the Central skyscrapers. Most trendy travelers looking for a cool place to hang out visit here because of its world-famous collection of over 100 restaurants, clubs, and bars that remain open until early morning.

7. Avenue of Stars and Symphony of Lights

The avenue of stars overlooks Victoria bay located in Kowloon. It is a few meters from Tsima Sha Tsui MTR station and popular throughout the day and night. While walking along the walkway, you will see over 100 stars which are dedicated to film industry legends in Hong Kong. It is similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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