Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of China in 1997. Due to its unique history, Hong Kong’s population of almost 7 million people is a melting pot of many different cultures and personalities, from Chinese to Canadian to Portuguese to Vietnamese (although Cantonese Chinese and English are the official languages). Although now part of China, Hong Kong retains a very high level of autonomy. Hong Kong even has a separate constitution. I had the amazing opportunity of visiting in 2006 and have been dying to return ever since! If you are interested in China travel, Hong Kong provides an amazing experience by allowing a deeper look into not only Orient culture, but  the international values of a global hub. Although there are plenty of buzzing, bustling cities, a majority of Hong Kong’s geographic area is dominated by rural lands, mountains, and rocky islands. Any China tour would be incomplete without seeing this remarkable place.

Its name comes from the main British settlement of Hong Kong Island which means “Fragrant Harbor,” but there is so much more to this region than just the harbor area. The currency is the Hong Dong Dollar; bring plenty of it because this place has some of the most amazing shopping in the world! Because the climate is subtropical, most visitors prefer to avoid the hotter seasons as well as typhoon season, so optimal visiting months range anytime from January to May. Hong Kong Island is a very modern and wealthy area. Also, it’s a great place to experience some of the local fishing culture and view some distinctive waterborne life at the markets. When visiting, you absolutely must make the trip up to “the Peak,” and this is easily done via the Victoria Peak trams.

Other areas of Hong Kong include Kowloon, Lantau, and the New Territories. The New Territories, as they were christened by the British, consist mostly of rural farms and villages. Kowloon is a peninsula and the one of the most densely populated places in the world. The area is dominated by varied markets, malls, and residences. A great place to visit in this area is Temple Street, one of the largest and biggest flea markets you’ll ever experience. At Lantau, the largest outlying island, are some of Hong Kong’s most beautiful landscapes. The biggest place of interest here is the Tian Tan Buddha. There is so much to experience in this very special place called Hong Kong, so it plays an essential role in China travel. Do yourself a favor a go see for yourself!

Jack Li

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