Wednesday, February 8, 2012

City At Glance-Hongkong

Hong Kong is a paradox – a high-tech cosmopolitan city steeped in old world Chinese charm.
By Michele Koh Morollo, executive summary by Darmansjah

Travel Essentials
Transport: The best way to get around Hong Kong is by riding the MTR metro subway. On Hong Kong Island, trams are a slow but pleasurable way to move takes a while to figure the bus system and you’d do well to avoid taxis during rush hours.

Seasons: From March to mid-May, expect cool weather between 18-27’C. Summertime from late May to mid-September brings sweltering temperatures of around 26-33’C. Late September to early December is the best time to visit, as the humidity is lower han usual and temperatures are cool. From mid-December to February, temperatures can drop to as low as 10’C, so bring along jackets and winter woolles.

This is a place where silvery skycrapers rub shoulders with mould stained Guangzhou-style shophouses and trendy French cafes share walls with Chines ma-and-pop shops. With a dazzling array as well as a surprisingly abundant choice of hiking trails and beaches, Hong Kong is a city that will keep a traveller well entertained. The skyline here is ever changing and one of the newest addtions is the International Commerce Centre the tallest building in Hong Kong and the fourth tallest in the world. Though rapid urbanisation has transformed much of Hong Kong in the last 40 years, the city’s rich oriental heritage is a live and well, and worth enjoying before it disaspppears.

A Room From The Past
The Hullet House, which opened in April last year, conjures memories of old Hong Kong. Each of the suites, which come with terraced balconies overlooking Hong Kong’s Victoria harbour, is designed to reflect a distinct period in the city’s history. Located in the former marine Police headquarters – a white-stucco colonial building built in 1881, this is the place to stay if you want to relive Hong Kong’s elegant past.

Cheung Chau Island
Full of interesting rock formations, this small dumbbell-shapped island 10 kilometers southwest of the central business district is a lovely escape from the city. Here, you’ll find Tung Wan and Kwun Yam Wan beach, two of Hong Kong’s prettier beaches. Swim and sunbathe here while snacking on refreshing frozen fruit sticks and local desserts from the many vendors in the town square. Cheung Chau is a 45-minute feery ride from Central Pier. Tickets cost US$1.60 and ferries depart every 20 minutes.

All Day Dim Sum
Hong Kong is famous for dim sum; unfortunately, most places only serve it for breakfast or lunch. So what should one do if dim sum cravings strike after sundown? Dim Sum Square on 88 Jervois Street in Sheung Wan serves fresh  out of the steamer, ridiculously cheap, mouthwatering dim sum from 10am to 10pm on weekdays and 8am to 10pm on weekends. Be sure to order their crispy BBQ pork bun crystal shrimp dumplings and Cantonese sponge cake.

Get Know The Land, Wison’s Way
Named after David Wilson, former Governor of Hong Kong from 1987 to 1992, the Wilson Trail, which was built in 1994, is a 78-kilometre long walking trail that runs through eight country parks in Hong Kong’s three districts – Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories, each of the parks has a district topography and character, which makes a hike thought the trail an interesting ways to get to know the expanse of the land, while getting some exercise.

Vintage Shopping
Soho, the zone bordering Sehung Wan and Central is packed with  antique shops and clothing boutiques. If you like your fashion antiquated, head to Select 18 on 18 Bridges Street, a second hand consignment store with retro sunglasses, clothes, shoes, accessories and rare items like a 1960s calculator and Polaroid cameras. For vintage dresses, beaded bags, antique clocks, watches and toys, try Amours Antiques on 45 Staunton Street.

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