Approaching the port as you enter the harbour of Hong Kong, you’d be forgiven for wondering if you’d stepped into the future. A cityscape of monumental proportions, skyscrapers line the shores as far as the eye can see and present a stunning show of colour when the sun sets and the city lights up. Although the sparkling urban throng of Hong Kong offers a world of attractions such as Victoria Peak, Stanley Market and a whole lot of Dim Sum, the majority of this semi-autonomous region is in fact rural. This fascinating destination therefore offers plenty to explore on an Asian cruise itinerary.
To get your bearings when you arrive, a tour of Hong Kong is a great idea to introduce yourself to the sights, sounds and aromas of the region. Most cruise operators will offer a tour as an optional excursion, but it’s worth arranging one even if they don’t. Key sights along the way include the magnificent Victoria Harbour, the thriving Stanley Market where you can pick up some quirky souvenirs and haggle with the locals, as well as more rural and traditional areas such as the fishing villages of Aberdeen and the Shau Kei Wan Typhoon Shelter. Ideal for anyone stopping off in Hong Kong for just a day or two, the tour will give you an insight into the culture, cuisine and attractions, which form Hong Kong’s identity.
If you have time, then spend a few hours discovering Victoria Harbour for yourself. This shining metropolis is considered to be one of the most beautiful harbours and skylines in the world. The heart of Hong Kong, here you can see the interplay of luxury restaurants with local street food and markets that make the city so charming. However to get an amazing panoramic view of the city, you should jump on one of the fun trams to reach the heights of Victoria Peak. On a clear day or night, you can get some stunning photos. Meanwhile an evening harbour cruise is an excursion offered by many cruise companies, and gives you an opportunity to observe the glistening landscape from the waters.
Beyond the high-end boutiques and bustling traffic, you can find some remarkably peaceful places within Kowloon. Nan Lian Garden is a magnificent area bursting with the colours of well-kept gardens and oriental bridges and pavilions. Part of the Chi Lin Nunnery, the two attractions give you a real insight into the religion and culture that forms the bedrock of Hong Kong, and a stark contrast to the hectic city life that surrounds them.
Hong Kong might be renowned for its infamous cityscape, but if you take the time to venture further afield then you can find some delightful countryside. Lantau Island is a highlight of any trip to Hong Kong, with its quaint fishing villages, rocky terrain and important monasteries such as Po Lin Monastery, home to the largest outdoor Buddha Statue in the world. Lantau Island is just one of the islands off the coast of Hong Kong, but is rich in activity, as well as culture that makes it so popular. If you’re lucky, you might even have the chance to spot an endangered Chinese White Dolphin.
It would be impossible to cover the vast wealth of attractions that make Hong Kong such as incredible destination for a cruise holiday to Asia. However its diversity and unique charm makes it a top choice for any cruise itinerary, whether you’re a culture vulture, food fanatic or simply looking for an exciting new place to explore. Hong Kong is a regular feature on Far East itineraries and World Cruise sailings.