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Hong Kong Attractions
To many travelers, Hong Kong is truly the most amazing city on earth. Certainly, one of the most beautiful cities in Asia. A collection of mountainous green islands dotted with towering stone and steel skyscrapers, the city proper encircles the most famous harbor in the world. Hong Kong combines the beauty of Sydney and San Francisco, then pushes it up a notch, with it's frenetic pace.

As soon as you touch down at Hong Kong's gleaming new international airport, carved out of the sea, and designed by Sir Norman Foster, you can feel an immediate surge of electricity in the air. Hong Kong has a unique spark all it's own. Hong Kong has starred in more than a hundred Hollywood films over the last 50 years.

No other city in the world offers so much luxury accommodation, from the historic and stately Peninsula Hotel, to the swanky Regent, or the ornate Regal, the pukka Mandarin or the hushed white marbled elegance of the Shangri-La. All of the big American chains are here too, from the cool Conrad and the lavish Grand Hyatt to the Marriott, the Holiday Inn and the Sheraton.

A shoppers delight, with a vast selection of merchandise available. The ladies love Hong Kong, all of the glitzy brand-name boutiques found in New York, Tokyo, Milan and Paris are here, and often all on the same street. If you want something special made to order, scores of shops sell exotic fabrics, fine silks from Thailand and China, to the best cashmere from India.

 

There are several important things to see for first-time visitors. A voyage on the fabled Star Ferry, which crosses Victoria Harbour from Kowloon Peninsula to Central District on Hong Kong Island, costs little more than a dime, but the view — especially at night, is worth a million dollars. The journey takes less than 10 minutes, but your memory of it will last a lifetime.

All manner of vessels, from sleek white cruise liners just up from Singapore, to fat little rusty coastal freighters, and mammoth over-loaded container ships can cross your path. Then there are the fast Marine Police launches, and the triple-decker inter-island ferries, or the big Boeing hydrofoils, which skim across the water to Macau, 40 miles across the Pearl River, at nearly 70 miles per hour.

Macau another popular destination for tourists, known by many as the Las Vegas of the east. With it's glitzy casinos and hotels, in many ways it surpasses the original. This is where the high rollers, especially Asian ones, flaunt their wealth.

After taking the Star, your next stop should be the Peak Tram, just opposite the American Consulate. Ride this charming trolley up to the cool green forest-clad heights of Victoria Peak. More than a 120 years old, the tram has an antique look and is hauled up the mountain by huge steel cables. Near the top it reaches a pitch of 45 degrees before leveling off at 1,600 feet. Look closely at the high-rise buildings to your right as you climb the hill, the famous "Peak Illusion" will cause them to look as though they are falling towards the peak.

The view from the top is mind-blowing. A sweeping panorama takes in the north coast of Hong Kong Island, the whole of the harbor and all of Kowloon Peninsula. To really see the city at its best, come up here an hour before dusk, and then take a leisurely 45 minute stroll around the summit, finishing just in time to see a hundred million city lights start to twinkle on in the city below. It is one of the greatest travel experiences of a lifetime.

Save a day to get out to the islands, there are more than 230 of them, many dotted with sleepy little fishing villages that hardly seem changed in decades (except for the occasional satellite dish sitting on the tiled roof of an old fisherman's house) but that's Hong Kong for you.

The largest island, bigger even than Hong Kong Island, is Lantau. Site of the new airport and home to the 70-foot-high, 200-ton outdoor Buddha at the Po Lin Monastery, Lantau has wild craggy, mist-covered mountains where hikers can trek all day long and not see or hear another soul.

Hong Kong even has it's own Disneyland now, it's a touch smaller than the original, yet still offers lots of fun for the whole family. Hong Kong Disneyland is located on Lantau Island. Check out the Jungle River Cruise, as well as Tomorrowland, which offers a glimpse of the future and roller coasters to boot.

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