Avenue of Stars is one of the most popular attractions in Hong Kong — Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism BoardFirst time in Hong Kong? Find out how to get the best view of the city, where to find the perfect dim sum and why everybody is heading to Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade.
Most travelers kick-start their urban safari in Hong Kong with one of these two things: tramming up the Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island or strolling down the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade on Kowloon Peninsula.
At 552 meters tall, Victoria Peak is the highest point of Hong Kong Island and is a link between the city's past and present. One century ago, the diligent peak tram shuttle British officials between their city offices and their rural homes; today, the 125-year-old transport guides tourists to the best panoramic view over the renowned jungle of high-rises.
Near the summit at 396 meters high, there is an entertainment and viewing complex called Peak Tower, where travelers can snap that perfect souvenir photo. A Madame Tussauds Museum (featuring wax figures of Jackie Chan, Jet Li and various other Asian celebrities) stands in the complex. There are also several routes to hike up the peak, including the Old Peak Road. Hikers can surpass the observation deck and reach the less crowded peak. Take the iconic tram up Victoria Peak for an awe-inspiring view over the city — Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board
Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
From Central, hop on a Star Ferry, the locals' favorite means of harbor-crossing. After 20 minutes, visitors will find themselves setting foot on the city's most visited strip, Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade. Stretching eastwards from Hong Kong's very own “Big Ben" - the Clock Tower - this waterside provides the front-row seats to the theater of glass-walled skyscrapers across the harbor. This is also a vantage point to watch Symphony of Lights, a spectacular multimedia show starting at 8 p.m. daily, in which laser lights and digital fireworks shoot out from 45 buildings along the Victoria Harbour.
A part of the Promenade, from Salisbury Garden to the New World Centre, is dedicated to a separate attraction, the Avenue of Stars. The 440-meter harbour-side walkway is Hong Kong's answer to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and features statues, hand prints and signatures of Asian movie stars like Bruce Lee and Michelle Yeoh. In addition, the Promenade is home to the Hong Kong Space Museum and the Hong Kong Museum of Art.
Across Salisbury Road in the north, The Peninsula Hong Kong is the most prestigious local-grown hotel, and its Spring Moon Cantonese restaurant serves mesmerizing dim sum and other Cantonese food staples. (If you're on Hong Kong Island, then try Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong's Lung King Heen, the first Chinese restaurant to get three Michelin stars.) Dim sum brunch is a delicious tradition of Hong Kong — Photo courtesy of The Peninsula Hong Kong
Shopping, nightlife and other fun
Nathan Road outside the Peninsula is the backbone of Kowloon. Along the 3.5-kilometer thoroughfare, tourists can find attractions such as infamous hostels cluster Chung King Mansions, the city's tallest shopping mall The One, souvenir haven Ladies Market and Temple Street Night Market, as well as the quirkier bazaars like Goldfish Market.
On the Hong Kong Island, throngs of tourists head to the mall-clad Causeway Bay every day for a hearty shopping spree, while seafood fans are picking the best dried abalone or scallops on Des Voeux Road West in Sheung Wan.
After nightfall, Lan Kwai Fong in Central becomes the center of the universe, where customers regularly spill out to the narrow streets from some of the city's best pubs, clubs and restaurants.