Canadians often visit Hong Kong as a stopover city en route to other exotic destinations, and although a week (or two) could easily be spent in this ever-changing metropolis, the highlights are definitely possible in 48-hours.
Familiarize yourself while taking in Hong Kong’s famed attractions on a morning Island Orientation tour with Splendid Tours (http://www.splendidtours.com). Highlights of this four-hour trip include a tram-ride up Victoria Peak for panoramic views of the harbor, bargain shopping at the lively open-air Stanley Market and helpful tips and tricks for navigating the streets and sites of Hong Kong.
Combine New York, London and Tokyo, and you have Hong Kong, which from a shopping perspective is pure nirvana. Every imaginable brand of clothing, beauty product and gadget can be found in this tax-free commercial paradise. With only 48-hours and shops not opening until 11:00 am it’s important to prioritize your spending, so stick to the buys that offer the greatest savings.
If you can’t justify taking a mortgage out for Prada shades purchase them in Hong Kong and save 40%, on sunglasses and up to 60% on prescription eyewear. Look for the smaller optical stores with a professional designation sticker in the window to ensure quality. Smelling good also costs less in Hong Kong. Fragrances and beauty products can be upwards of 25% less and there is a much wider array of products and brands available. Techies will find their own bit of heaven in the Little Tokyo district where lower prices, international warranties and cutting-edge technology create big wins.
After a packed day of sites and spending board the Star Ferry to Victoria Harbour for the famed Symphony of Lights; a spectacular outdoor multimedia show featuring more than 40 Hong Kong skyscrapers. End your day at Peking Garden (http:// www.maxims.com.hk) in the harbour for their world-famous Peking Duck and incredible ‘noodle show’, whereby a man armed with a knife and massive ball of dough creates hundreds of delicate noodle strands within the blink of an eye.
After brunch, take a self-directed Ding Ding tram tour to check out some of Hong Kong’s most popular sites. Start in the historical district of Sheung Wan and tour the street markets filled with traditional Chinese herbs and medicine shops. From there you’ll travel through the buzzing financial district of Central, infamous Wan Chai nightlife district and Causeway Bay shopping district.
For dinner, cruise to Rainbow Seafood Restaurant (http:// www.rainbowrest.com.hk) on Lamma Island aboard their complimentary ferry shuttle and feast on fresh seafood. The award-winning restaurant prepares sumptuous dishes from the live seafood you select, including lobster, crab, squid and a wide variety of fish.
Complete your whirlwind adventure with a night out in Hong Kong’s hottest nightlife district. Wan Chai’s countless jazz clubs, pubs, wine bars and nightclubs are sure to satisfy any mood and end your trip on a festive note. Most Happy Hour specials run from 6pm – 9pm, with the bars and nightclubs picking-up around 11pm and closing at sunrise.
Arrival’s Tips for Your Trip…
Like everything else in Hong Kong, accommodation is vast and varied. The Harbour Grand hotel (http://www.harbour-grand.com/en/hong-kong/luxury-hotel/index.html) offers incredible value (starting from $150 CAD per night) for a room with unobstructed views of the world-renowned Victoria Harbour. This luxury hotel, which is walking distance from the MTR, features exquisite décor and five amazing restaurants offering Western, Japanese and Cantonese cuisine. Of course, there are hotels to meet absolutely any budget in Hong Kong, and the Tourism Board website (http://www.discoverhongkong.com/canada/trip-planner/accommodations.html) is a very useful resource for researching and booking accommodations.November through March is the coolest and driest time to visit Hong Kong, while spring and summer can be very humid with temperatures reaching the low 30’s (Celsius). When exchanging currency to Hong Kong Dollars it is best to do so through a hotel or a money exchange, as the airport is privately run and charges higher fees. The Hong Kong public transit system is recognized as one of the world’s most efficient, frequent, safe and affordable. Purchasing a pre-paid Octopus Card (http://www.octopus.com.hk), valid for all public transport fares including the Ding Ding tram, Star Ferry and MTR rail system, is highly recommended.