A City or A Country?
Hong Kong has a complicated and long history. This gives it an irresistibly interesting vibe, and draws visitors from all around the globe, making it one of the most visited cities in the world. However, it’s not quite a city! Officially, Hong Kong is known as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, and it is in many ways an autonomous region, in the sense that it is independent from China.
Hong Kong used to be a colony belonging to the British Empire, however, during the late 1990s, it gained independence from the British Empire.
Hong Kong has its own currency, the Hong Kong Dollar, and it has its own Olympic team. Additionally, Hong Kong residents have their own passports, and if you acquire a visa to visit Hong Kong, you have to acquire a separate visa for China. As for language, the majority of Hong Kong residents speak Cantonese, which is a derivative of Chinese language, and English.
But when it comes to government, a part of Hong Kong’s parliament is elected, while another part is appointed by Beijing.
More Than a History
While at first glance Hong Kong’s rich history seems to be its most captivating aspect, there’s so much more to the city. Throughout the years, Hong Kong has acquired a unique blend of both Eastern and Western cultures, having been exposed to both at varying intervals and under special circumstances. From the East, Hong Kong’s culture holds a strong appreciation for family values, and from the West, it has committed to proper education, a strong rule of law, and economic freedom for individuals and businesses. Adding to its unique identity that sets it apart from China, Hong Kong’s population is actually comprised of various nationalities, and it owes its post-war economic revival mostly to migrants, who escaped to Hong Kong during the Chinese Civil War, which took place during the late 1920s and until the late 1930s.
Another eye catching aspect of Hong Kong is its extremely efficient public transportation systems. According to statistics, over 90% of daily commuters use public transportation every day.
Despite Hong Kong being densely populated, crimes against foreigners are virtually unheard of. While crime rates there are one of the lowest in the world, tourists are often advised to take measures against pickpocketing, which can be common in crowded areas.
Hong Kong is famous for its skyscrapers. Having above 1200 skyscrapers decorating its skyline, it holds the record for the most skyscrapers in the world. Hong Kong’s beautiful skyline can be viewed in its entirety from The Sky Terrace, situated in one of its highest skyscraper, known as The Peak Tower. One interesting fact about Hong Kong is that its known as the world’s most “vertical” city, as a result of a lot of Hong Kong residents living or working at levels higher than 14 floors – more than any other country in the world.
Another interesting place in Hong Kong is its harbours. Victoria Harbour hosts the Symphony of Lights, which is the world’s largest permanent light and sound show according to Guinness records.
Other famous tourist attractions include DisneyLand, and the award winning Ocean Park, as well as several street markets, including Temple Night Street Flea Market, Fa Yuen Street Market, Stanley Market, and the amazing Yuen Po Street Market, famous for its birds, flowers, and goldfish.
Other famous attractions include spiritual sites like Wong Tai Sin Temple, and the Man Mo temple which is the oldest Taoist temple in Hong Kong.
And for wildlife enthusiasts, Hong Kong has a lot to offer as well. Hong Kong Wet Land Park is one of the most visited attractions in Hong Kong, and it houses a collection of birds, fish, butterflies, and other unique animals.
The Best of Both Worlds
Undoubtedly the most enjoyable aspect about Hong Kong is its balanced and positively textured mixture between two cultures. The diversity of nationalities as well as the unique economical and cultural atmosphere makes it one of the most researched and discussed countries of our centuries.
While Hong Kong has a subtropical climate that is characterized by hot and humid summers, a perfect time to visit it would be between September and December. The most important aspect to consider before visiting Hong Kong is doing research. As it is one of the most packed destinations for tourists, with hundreds of options for accommodation, cuisine, and activities, it will require heavy preparation to guarantee an enjoyable trip.