Few places in the world blend modernism and history quite like Hong Kong. Age-old rituals and services are mixed with soaring architecture and skyscrapers. It’s a unique city, a place where it’s common to see suit-clad businessmen participating in the ancient ritual of petty person beating (no one is actually beaten, unless you count a paper tiger as a person). Such a singular city brings in visitors from around the world, all hopping on flights to Hong Kong for their own special experience. While you’re sure to blaze your own trail, here are some places that no traveller should leave without seeing.
A mountain in the western half of Hong Kong island, the Peak draws in millions of visitors each year for the best view of the city. After taking one of the oldest trams in the world to the top, visitors are then blessed with a 360 degree panoramic view of the city. Everything you’ve heard about Hong Kong’s relentless energy and diversity can be experienced from this vantage point. From mountains to harbours to clusters of skyscrapers, it’s all seen from the Peak.
Temple Street Night Market
From vendors hawking souvenirs to pop-up stalls serving any and every kind of food, street markets let you in on the city’s culture and personality. You get to see a cross section of Hong Kong’s society all in one place, where all types come to visit the last night market in the city. Make sure you go to the Woosung Street Food Bazaar, where dishes of spicy crab, roast pigeon and other strange and tasty foods await.
Chi Lin Nunnery
For a taste of Hong Kong’s history and culture, look no further than the Chi Lin nunnery. One of the best examples of Chinese architecture and Buddhist art, this free attraction is sure to leave you at peace. The nunnery is still an actual place of worship, so photography is forbidden. It’s enough though to experience the calm and atmosphere of worship: seeing a practice that is centuries old still being continued. Next to the nunnery is the Nan Lian Gardens, a landscape that rivals anything from Japan. Here you’ll be allowed to take photos, so you won’t want to forget your camera.
Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery
Buddhist ideas have shaped Chinese culture in innumerable areas, ranging from art to politics. While not an actual monastery, this attraction is an example of one man’s dedication, Yuet Kai, who constructed this temple during the last years of his life. Nearly 13 000 golden statues of Buddha dot the landscape, all in different poses to signify the various changes in life. It’s a testament to human achievement when the goal is above oneself.
Hong Kong is inspirational. It’s a place where you’ll see a culture quite like no other. You’ll return enlightened. However could you not?
Image by ironypoisoning and jaaron, used under Creative Commons licence.