Best-known for its city skyline that lights up like a Christmas tree at night, Hong Kong is one of the most popular international business hubs in the world. Not quite an official Chinese city, but not quite not, this city attained a "Special Administrative Zone" status upon being returned to China by the British as per a decade-old agreement between the two countries.
It's easy to see why Hong Kong is so popular among travellers of all kinds: business travellers of course love the modern, high-tech feel of the city, culture enthusiasts delight in the free range of Hong Kong-ese activities available, while party animals enjoy the glitzy nightlife on offer to those with the money to spare.
Once known as the world's freest market, Hong Kong lost some of its competitive edge as Southeast Asia's most powerful business hub, and is in a constant battle with Singapore for the crown. Still, walking Hong Kong's streets, and seeing the suit-and-tie wearing high-fliers breezing down the street at a New York pace, it's clear that this city is home to all kinds of multinational corporations, many of whom have their headquarters strategically placed in its heart.
Getting around in Hong Kong is not just easy -- it's an experience in itself. An ultra-modern metro system connects Hong Kong island to the ever-popular Kowloon, Lantau Island, the airport, and far beyond. The longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world is a must-do, taking you through the city's posh Mid-Levels. For those who want a taste of Hong Kong's past, Chinese junk boats can be hired to take tourists around Hong Kong's harbour.
In an attempt to attract non-business tourists, Hong Kong's tourism board has done their best to ensure that even budget travellers can enjoy the city. They've put together cultural classes and tours that cost virtually nothing, from tai chi lessons, to tea appreciation and feng shui classes. In addition, Hong Kong's impressive array of ultra-modern museums are all free on Wednesdays.
The city's famous skyline is best appreciated from two places: along Tsim Sha Tsui's Avenue of the Stars boardwalk in Kowloon, where a nightly Symphony of Lights (also free) is displayed from across the harbour, with accompanying sound; and Victoria Peak, which, accessed by tram, provides one of the finest harbour views on Earth.
Still, even with the plethora of free activities on offer in Hong Kong, this remains an expensive city for those travelling without a company credit card. But it's worth stopping through even just for a weekend to see this vibrant city in all its glory. There is certainly no dearth of action, fun, and culture to be found in Hong Kong.
#1 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,738
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