A hybrid of East and West, traditional and modern, the Hong Kong city is a sight on its own. — Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board
Start your day with a stroll around the Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui. Noisy, vibrant and permanently overpopulated, this is the commercial heart of the Hong Kong north of the harbor. It's also the most ethical diverse part of the city with large South Asian and African communities. Note the exceedingly busy block building on Nathan opposite Peking Road. This 17-story structure is the infamous Chung King Mansion which houses more than 80 hostels, a few amazing Indian restaurants and two levels of wholesale stores selling everything you can and cannot think of.
Then walk towards the Victoria Harbour and enjoy a relaxing walk along the waterfront Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade. This is probably the most popular attractions among the tourists from mainland China largely due to its unobstructed view of the water and skyline and the stretch called Avenue of Stars. Try to look for the green-and-white double-deck boats shuttling between the two sides. These are Star Ferries, a classic and ever-popular way of crossing the harbor and a symbol of the city. Two big museums, Hong Kong Museum of Art and Hong Kong Space Museum, are right behind you.
Walk the walk of famous on Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront. — Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board
Afterwards, head west towards the Tsim Sha Tsui Pier to check out the Clock Tower. The 44-meter-tall brick-red building is the only remaining structure of the now-demolished Kowloon-Canton Rail Terminus. This was the original railway to have connected Hong Kong with mainland China. Millions of mainland Chinese immigrated to Hong Kong through here between 1910-1949 before the Communist China shut its door to the outside world for the next 30 years. The railway station is now relocated to Hunghom.
Turn north and cross Salisbury Road, you will find two outstanding colonial-style houses. The 1881 Heritage on the crossroads of Canton Road is a gorgeous Victorian style mansion built in 1881 as the former Marine Police Headquarters (until 1996). The white-stucco building is now the home of high-end boutiques, luxury hotel Hullett House, five restaurants and bars and an exhibition hall.
Keep walking on Salisbury Road, past the YMCA building, you'll find The Peninsula Hong Kong, or The Pen as known by the locals. The grand colonial building holds the most famous Hong Kong-born hotel brand. The lower part of the structure was built in 1928 and is worth a browse in details. If budget allows, have your lunch in either 1881 Heritage or The Pen, both serve topnotch Chinese and Western food. Otherwise Lei Garden on Mody Road does good affordable dim sum and Tsui Wah on Carnarvon Road produces good Hong Kong cafeteria food.
Ladies Market in Mongkok is a highly popular open-air street market in Hong Kong. — Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board
After lunch, take the subway to Mongkok to visit some buzzing street markets. Opening everyday for noon, Ladies Market on Tung Choi Street is an open-air one-stop souvenir shopping destination featuring fun bargaining experience. Some 10 minutes walk to the north, you will find a big goldfish market selling colorful and live goldfish. A popular Flower Market is located another five minutes or so on Prince Edward Road.
To wrap up your day of sensory bombardment, cab to the International Commerce Centre in West Kowloon and take the lift to the Sky 100 Observation Deck on the 100th floor to have a 360-degree aerial view of the skyscraper-packed city, the crystal blue water and the outlying islands.
From here, you're about 10 minutes drive to the Ocean Terminal and 15 minutes drive to Kai Tak Cruise Terminal.