Hong Kong is a unique blend of 5,000 years of Chinese culture, 150 years of British colonial rule, and all the energy of a modern, international city.
The British just ceded Hong Kong back to China in 1997, and it remains a free-market zone, and residents still refer to the “border” with mainland China. Indeed, you can’t cross that border without a Chinese tourist visa; but no matter, there’s more than enough Hong Kong to keep you occupied.
Many cruises of Asia and Southeast Asia call on Hong Kong, which has the best deep-water harbor in Asia. And, many of these cruises begin and/or end in Hong Kong, making it easy to spend some extra time there.
“Amazing” is an overused word, but it truly applies to Hong Kong, starting with the Kai Tak cruise terminal. Built on a former airport runway, the terminal is centrally located in Hong Kong’s scenic Victoria Harbor. The terminal houses a surprising array of shops and restaurants, and has a rooftop garden with 360-degree harbor views.
Here are a few more things to know before you visit:
Octopus cards. If you can spend a few days in Hong Kong, purchase a rechargeable Octopus card, which can be used on buses, underground trains, trams and ferries; and also at vending machines, convenience stores, supermarkets, fast-food restaurants and some shops.
Share your dinner. In Hong Kong, food is meant to be shared. If dishes seem expensive, they are probably meant to be shared by three or four people. Order a few and pass them around the table. You won’t need a reservation at most restaurants. Tipping is appreciated, and 10% is considered generous.
Dim Sum during the day. Hong Kong is famous for mouthwatering dim sum: small, filled dumplings, rice rolls, and buns. Note that locals usually enjoy dim sum in the morning and afternoon; many restaurants do not serve dim sum in the evening.Dress casually. Casual dress – non-ripped jeans, slacks, casual dresses, T-shirts and sport shirts – are acceptable almost everywhere. However, shorts and flip-flops are a little too casual for many parts of the city. If you’re going to a high-end restaurant or evening cultural performance, feel free to dress up.
There are so many options for places to see on a shore excursion or extended stay in Hong Kong: here are just a few.
Star Ferry. Take the Star Ferry across the harbor for some of the best views of Hong Kong’s stunning skyscrapers, backed by Victoria Peak. The ferry is also a great vantage point for the nightly light shows that shimmer across the tall buildings.
Victoria Peak. Take the tram up The Peak – the ride is a little bumpy, but well worth it. You’ll be rewarded with magnificent views of the city, the surrounding islands, and China in the distance. There are nice walking trails at the top, too.Tian Tan Buddha. Part of the Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island, this bronze Buddha is one of the world’s largest. There are lovely beaches on Lantau Island, too.
Markets. The Ladies’ Market (not for ladies only) is the place for designer knock-offs: you’re expected to bargain. Temple Street is a night market, with great street food and lots of stall to browse through.Hong Kong’s high season is September through December, when the weather is the best: sunny, dry and cool at night. You may want to avoid June, July and August: it’s typhoon season, and often hot, humid and rainy.
For more information about Hong Kong and cruises that include this wonderful port, talk with a Cruise Specialist travel expert.