Observing a Chinese Festival
Hong Kong celebrates with several colorful festivals throughout the year, featuring everything from dragon boat races to celebrations honoring Tin Hau, goddess of the sea. Cantonese opera, performed on temporary stages, is also common at Chinese festivals.
Riding the Star Ferry
The subway between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island may be quicker, but it doesn't hold a candle to the historic Star Ferry, offering one of the most dramatic -- and cheapest -- 5-minute boat rides in the world. The trip is a good reminder that Hong Kong, with its breathtaking skyline, is dominated by water, with one of the world's busiest harbors.
Gazing upon Hong Kong from Victoria Peak
You don't know Hong Kong until you've seen it from here. Take the funicular to Victoria Peak, famous for its views of Central, Victoria Harbour, South China Sea, Kowloon, and undulating hills beyond, followed by a 1-hour circular hike and a meal with a view. Don't miss the nighttime view, one of the most spectacular and romantic in the world.
Listening to the World's Largest Professional Chinese Orchestra
Established 30 years ago, the 80-member Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra is the world's largest, playing traditional and modern Chinese instruments in orchestrations that combine Chinese and Western musical elements.
Celebrating Sundown with a Cocktail
Many hotel lounges offer spectacular views of the city as well as live music. As the sun disappears, watch the city explode in neon.
Partying until Dawn in Lan Kwai Fong
It's standing room only at bars and pubs in Central's most famous nightlife district, where the action spills out onto the street and continues until dawn. Other burgeoning nightlife districts include SoHo, Knutsford Terrace, and Wan Chai.
Paying Respects at the Big Buddha
Laze on the open aft deck during the 50-minute ferry ride to Lantau Island (and enjoy great views of the harbor and skyline along the way), followed by a hair-raising bus ride over lush hills to see the world's largest, seated, outdoor bronze Buddha, located at the Po Lin Monastery. Complete your pilgrimage with a vegetarian meal at the monastery and a visit to Ngong Ping Village with its shopping and Walking with Buddha museum, and then make your return trip via cable car offering more great views.
Zipping over to Macau
Macau, for centuries a Portuguese outpost until it was handed back to the Chinese in 1999, is just an hour away by jetfoil and offers a fascinating blend of Chinese and Mediterranean lifestyles, evident in its spicy Macanese cuisine, colorful architecture, temples, churches, and many special-interest museums. It's also famous for its Las Vegas-style casinos. Although you can "do" Macau in a day, I strongly urge you to spend at least a couple days here.
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