Hong Kong is one of the most exciting cities in the world with an urban landscape that is breathtaking by day and dazzling at night.
The cost of living in Hong Kong compares to other major cities such as London, Sydney and New York. Hong Kong is an incredibly easy city to navigate and the many forms of transport are excellent value for money. They include taxis, trams, buses and the MTR (an underground train network) as well as, of course, the ferries that cross Victoria Harbour, including the icon of Hong Kong – the Star Ferry. Eating out in a top restaurant or hotel can be expensive and beer and wine can be pricey at these venues; however, there are lots of good restaurants and bars that are really good value for money. There are a variety of supermarkets (local and imported goods) that cater to all budgets as well as the traditional Hong Kong markets.
Hong Kong has a vibrant culture and is truly cosmopolitan; there is a multitude of local and international entertainment on offer. With a variety of performance venues (the Academy for Performing Arts, Asia-World Expo, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre), Hong Kong caters for everyone’s tastes from West End shows to international music artists. There are also top rate sporting venues that offer a great range of sports from horse racing to football, including the highlight of the sporting calendar – the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens! Sports clubs play a major role within Hong Kong’s social scene and are a good way to get to know people.
The year is punctuated with public holidays that illustrate how proud Hong Kong is of its Chinese heritage; they include Chinese New Year, the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day that culminates in a stunning fireworks extravaganza over the harbour. However, there are also more understated cultural events such as the mesmerising evening dance of the 67 metre-long ‘Fire Dragon’ made from thousands of incense sticks that takes place in Tai Hang (close to Victoria Park in Causeway Bay) during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
People new to Hong Kong are certainly aware of the skyscraper skyline, but may not be aware that a large proportion of the region is National Park land. Hiking is a popular pastime and there are some incredible walks with breathtaking scenery. There are also a variety of beaches dotted around Hong Kong and once away from the beating pulse of Central, life becomes much more relaxed. An example of this is the outlying island of Cheung Chau that can be reached by a short ferry ride and is characterised by its beach restaurants, easy walking and ban on cars. The Hong Kong Tourism Board (www.discoverhongkong.com) is very helpful in outlining the region’s attractions and events.