As interesting and intriguing as all of Asia is to the Western World, Hong Kong is a world entirely unto itself. The reasoning for this is rooted in the politics and history of the city: everyone from the Qing dynasty to Colonial Britain to Modern China has had a hand in shaping the happenings of this thriving port. As nuanced as the history is, you don’t have to be an acclaimed historian in foreign policy to appreciate the city. If China was Texas, then Hong Kong would be Austin. You’ll see similarities between the two, and if you squint they might even look like one and the same, but just being there is all it takes to recognize that the life, times and nuances are very different. They evolved simultaneously on very separate tracks—a unique world wonder having culturally splintered off from the other years ago.
What does this mean for you, the wanderlust-filled world traveler? Simply put, Hong Kong should be on the absolute top of your bucket list. Strolling its streets, sampling its cuisine, stumbling into fantastical moments of life and laughter and awe is an adventure you can’t quite find anywhere else in the world. For some ideas on how to best savor your time in the Fragrant Harbor, here are some highlights of Hong Kong’s culture you’ll want to discover.
With so much life packed into one port city on an island, the streets of Hong Kong are utterly bustling—turning any stroll into an adventure in itself. While the chances of stumbling across temples, street markets and foot massage parlors are practically certain, try to seek out more potent sources of Hong Kong’s charm. Yuen Po Street Bird Garden is an idyllic garden and thriving market for specialty wares—in this case, birds. While the schematics of you acquiring a feathered friend may be steep, just window-shopping provides you with a scene of color and some pleasantly chirped tunes for the ear.
Informally identified as “Asia’s art capital,” Hong Kong hosts one of the world’s most thriving art scenes. While the streets themselves are galleries thanks to an abundance of vibrant street art, the formal galleries are home to works ranging from jaw-dropping to show-stopping. PMQ is the place to head for the heart of Hong Kong’s urban creativity: Comprised of 130 studio units for local designers, retail spaces, chic restaurants and cafes, every venue is sure to provide captivating creations, no matter the medium. Pair a visit to PMQ with Tai Kwun Center for Heritage and Arts, just down the road. Historically, Tai Kwun was a prison, which today instills a sense of poignancy to all that it houses. Like PMQ, it houses a plethora: arts, culture, dining and shopping are scattered across the historical buildings and prison yard.
Give your souvenir-shopping a purpose by dressing the part for the occasion. Hong Kong’s tailors are known the world over for the bespoke quality of their craft at (comparatively) crazy low prices. Acquiring sharp suits and garments is only half the fun—wearing them to the city’s hot spots of festivity is the other half. Happy Valley Racecourse is the most storied horse racing in all of Asia, perfect for cocktails and socializing. Conversely, the Cantonese Opera is equally capable of providing entertainment, albeit more rooted in Chinese tradition. For late night fun, visit Lan Kwai Fong: this square is the nexus for nearly all of Hong Kong’s bars and clubs. Whichever route you choose, looking good is the first step to feeling good!
Ready to make the most of a trip to the Fragrant Harbor? Speak with one of our travel agents. Not only can their accumulated knowledge and expertise guide you to the apex of experiences in Hong Kong, but also their professional relationships with the leading names in travel—such as Holland America Line—provide you with perks and amenities you didn’t even know you were missing.