Hong Kong is divided into four main areas: Kowloon, Hong Kong Island, the New Territories and the Outlying Islands. Kowloon and the New Territories are on a peninsula of the Chinese mainland, north of Victoria Harbor; Hong Kong Island is on the south side of the harbor facing Kowloon; the Outlying Islands simply refers to any of the other 234 islands. The New Territories has a 12m (i20km) land border with Chinese mainland.
The city itself is centered around Victoria Harbor. The main business district is Central, on Hong Kong Island. East of Central is the Admiralty commercial district, then Wan Chai, known for restaurants and clubs and then Causeway Bay, a major shopping area. Towering above it all is the "Peak," Hong Kong's premier scenic outlook and residential district. From Victoria Peak, overlooking the world's busiest deepwater port, you can see a city teaming with 24/7 life, day or night human activity never ceases.
Despite its British colonial past, Hong Kong has always stuck to its roots ľ the city's soul is pure Chinese.
The British took control of Hong Kong in 1841 following the Opium Wars. Hong Kong was formally ceded by China the following year; various adjacent lands were added later in the 19th century. Hong Kong became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China on 1 July 1997. In this agreement, China has promised that, under its "one country, two systems" formula, China's socialist economic system will not be imposed on Hong Kong and that Hong Kong will enjoy a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs for the next 50 years.
Population: 6,916,000 Time Zone:GMT/UTC +8 (Hong Kong Standard Time
Area: 1,098 sq km
Flight times: Honolulu- 11 hrs, Los Angeles- 17 hrs, San Francisco- 14 hrs, New York- 21 1/2 hrs
Hong Kong is sub-tropic with temperate conditions half of the year. November and December are the best months to visit. Severe weather can affect Hong Kong and including tropical cyclones, strong winter monsoon winds, and thunderstorms between April and September.
Average Daily High/Low Temperature:
- Spring: High 87F/31 C, Low 70F/21 C
- Summer: High 90F/32 C, Low 72F/22 C
- Fall: High 87F/31 C, Low 68F/20 C
- Winter: High 73F/23 C, Low 47F/8 C
Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok on Lantau Island is one of the world's best and most modern airports. It is the main entry point to Hong Kong as well as being the gateway to China. Ground transport is easy, convenient and relatively inexpensive with the available taxi services, rail, buses, ferries to Tuen Mun.
MTR is the area's modern transit system and is far cheaper and often more efficient that taxis.
The bus system is more extensive but sometimes quite crowded.
Metered taxis are red with silver tops (and green with white tops in the New Territories).
Rental cars are available, but do not drive in Hong Kong. The complex highway system, clogged roads and limited parking will overwhelm you.
AREAS OF INTEREST
Located on Hong Kong Island's south side is home to about 600 junks which house over 6,000 boat dwellers.╩Originally the most important fishing port in Hong Kong before British rule, today it is one of the more popular tourist attractions.
An entertainment center with an oceanarium, an atoll reef, a marine park with penguins and performing orcas, a roller coaster, a 2,000 bird aviary, a butterfly house, and the Middle Kingdom ľ a passage through Chinese history from China's inception to the current era. Visitors can take cable cars to the top of Brick Hill from the park entrance, an experience that takes an hour from the entrance up to the top.
Once a pirate hideout,today it is a scenic fishing village that has become a tourist area mostly known for it's beaches, shopping and Stanley Prison.
The most popular beach in Hong Kong is found at Repulse Bay, on the southern part of the island.╩On weekends, the beaches are filled with people enjoying the sand and the views of some islands in the South China Sea.╩Best to visit on weekdays.
Tsim Sha Tsui
The Nathan Road area, located in Kowloon, is quite the shopping paradise. "The Golden Mile," is known for its great shopping plus colorful nightlife and restaurants. Other great shopping areas in Kowloon include Mongkok, and Yaumati.
Hong Kong Cultural Center
Found on Kowloon and opened in 1989. It is located across from the well-known Peninsula Hotel. The Cultural Center is home to the Hong Kong Museum of Art and has a theater, studios, and a concert hall plus an array of Chinese and Western restaurants.
There are several things to be experienced while at Victoria Park on Hong Kong Island. There is the Peak Tram, a historic landmark since it was built in 1888, that takes you from Garden Road to the Tower on Victoria Peak. The Peak Tower is about 410 meters (1,350 ft) and has an area for snacks or meals.╩The view on Victoria Peak is beautiful and well worth the money and time.