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Hong Kong _ A Magnificent Tourist Destination

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Hong Kong is one of Asia’s most popular travel spots, and it’s not surprising why. It is a magnificent tourist destination, located on the Pearl River Delta, in the northern province of Guangdong. The major hub of finance and trade – Hong Kong boasts of a liberal economy. History has it that the area was once a colony of the Britain till 1984, when the British handed it over again to China. Although, a part of China, the region maintains and enjoys a free market. Attractions in the area range from breathtaking cityscapes, mysterious temples, and colonial buildings to superb museums, parks, and gardens. Most revered as well as the oldest temple in the city is the Man Mo Temple, which is devoted to the deities of literature and war.

Found inside the temple are a range of figurines, depicting other deities. Further, the temple is believed to have been once served as the local court of law. Another prominent temple in the city is Wong Tai Sin Temple – a Taoist shrine, which is much famed across the South East Asian, European, and American countries. Built in traditional-style Chinese architecture, the temple’s highlights are grand red pillars, golden roof ornamented with blue friezes, yellow latticework, and colorful carvings. Apart from these, Hong Kong is home to more than 400 Buddhist temples, such as the Chi Lin Nunnery and Po Lin Monastery.

No visit to the region would be complete without taking a tour to the Victoria Peak, also known as the Peak, featuring the oldest mode of public transport – The Peak Tram, which is in operation since 1888. The Peak Tram is considered the fastest way to reach the Peak. The Peak’s attractions also cover the Peak Tower – a shopping center with an impressive terrace, from where one can enjoy the magnificent views of whole of the Hong Kong Island. Housed within the Peak Tower is Madame Tussauds Hong Kong, boasting of more than 100 superb wax likenesses of world leaders, sport people, and other eminent people.

The Giant Buddha is perhaps the most popular of the region’s destinations. An outdoor seated statue made of bronze – Giant Buddha is the tallest seated statue in the world. With a height of 34 mt, the statue weighs more than 250 tonnes. In order to reach the statue, one has to climb 268 steps. Ngong Ping 360 -a cable car climbing to the Chinese village of Ngong Ping from Tung Chung – is considered one of the best ways to reach the statue. Hong Kong is sometimes referred to as the”Movie Capital of Asia” with its attractions such as the Avenue of Stars, whose highlights are commemorative plaques, eloquent milestones, handprints of movie celebrities, cabins with movie memorabilia, a soaring Hong Kong Film Awards statuette, and a life-sized statue of Bruce Lee – a well-known kung-fu star.

Other must-see destinations in the area are Disneyland and Ocean Park, providing an eclectic mix of entertainment, education and conservation facilities; Repulse Bay, which is much favored for its sandy beaches and sub-tropical backdrop; and Golden Bauhinia Square, which marks the most prominent occasion in the history of China, ie, the return of Hong Kong by the British and the establishment of the city as the Special Administrative Region on 30 June 1997. The city is one of the best places to dine in, with an array of restaurants, serving mind-blowing cuisine such as dim sum, tofu, chicken lo mein, oft shell crab meat, Tong Cho oysters, and Peking duck. The city is also a real shopper’s paradise, with countless number of shops in such happening areas as Stanley, a coastal area dotted with shops and pubs, and Causeway Bay Hong Kong and Wan Chai Hong Kong.

For bird lovers, a visit to the Bird market, selling and showing birds, would be a great option. Likewise, take a tour to the city’s fish market, boasting of aquariums with exotic fish varieties. In addition, there are excellent options available for flower lovers, with an expansive flower market, which stand out for its unique selection of flowers and plants. Above all, worth mentioning is the city’s vibrant nightlife, which is mostly concentrated around the twin districts of Wan Chai and Lan Kwai Fong. Hong Kong is fairly expensive compared to other Asian travel destinations, but it is well worth it. To save on accommodations, you may choose to stay in dormitories. You can also eat budget meals instead of going to fancy restaurants.