Hong Kong, China’s Island City

Hong Kong, China’s Island City

In southern China, an island juts out from the waters of the South China Sea to contain Hong Kong, the 7-million-strong metropolis that belongs to the administrative region of the same name. This modern metropolis combines the seemingly impossible, modern architecture with historical and cultural monuments, panel construction with unspoiled nature and wealth with poverty.

History of Hong Kong’s founding

In ancient times, Hong Kong was a pirate base and later a small fishing village. However, the area was the subject of several disputes between China’s Ming dynasty and the Manchu Qing dynasty. The first Europeans to visit the area were Portuguese sailors led by Jorge Alvarez in 1513. They eventually settled in nearby Macau, where they established a trading post. In 1699, the British East India Company began trading in China. The British settled in Hong Kong permanently, and the area became a British colony in 1842 after the First Opium War.

Hong Kong - Island City of China

History of Hong Kong’s Formation

However, in 1997, Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule and is now one of the special administrative areas of the People’s Republic of China . It has a high degree of autonomy and is independent of China’s socialist, economic and legal system. China’s central government in Beijing has sole responsibility for international politics and the armed forces. Hong Kong has one of the most liberal economies in the world , it is a major economic, tourist and commercial center of the country.

Layout of the city

Hong Kong’s total land mass consists of the Kowloon Peninsula, Hong Kong Island, the New Territories and about 230 other islands. It covers an area of 1,098 square kilometers and has about seven million inhabitants. Thus, it is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Hong Kong Island is literally dotted with skyscrapers and somewhat reminiscent of New York’s Manhattan. The name Hong Kong from Cantonese can be translated as “fragrant harbor”.

Hong Kong attracts visitors with its unique modern architecture and ancient streets with many monuments, excellent shopping opportunities, and a friendly population. Ancient history mingles with a promising future so that, on the one hand, you can explore the ancient traditions of China while, on the other, you get to know the bustling modern face of Hong Kong, made up of huge shopping malls, banks and the world’s biggest institutions.

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The main attractions, cultural attractions, stores and eateries are on the north coast of Hong Kong Island, the southern tip of Kowloon. Between Kowloon Island and the border with China lie the New Territories, consisting mainly of modern high-rise buildings.

Hong Kong - Island City of China

Layout of the city

When visiting Hong Kong, the first thing you will be drawn to are the modern skyscrapers towering in the Central district. This is where government offices, banks and well-known stores are located. You can admire ultra-modern buildings such as the Hong Kong Bank, Citibank Plaza, or Bank of China. Another attraction worth paying attention to is HSBC (Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation), built according to the principles of feng shui.

The heart of the neighborhood is Statue Square, where you can see houses built in the old colonial style. However, they are few in number because most of them have already been demolished to make way for modern buildings. To the northwest of Statue Square is Hong Kong’s tallest building and the third tallest skyscraper in the world, the 88-story International Financial Center, which stands 415 meters tall. Wanchai, the oldest district, offers many fine restaurants, bars, and hotels. Part of the district is one of Hong Kong’s most impressive and also the tallest skyscrapers, Central Plaza.

Victoria Park

For relaxation it’s worth visiting Victoria Park in Causeway Bay, which is the largest public park in all of Hong Kong. Not far from the harbor is the so-called Noon Cannon, which has been fired at noon since the 1840s. It’s worth a visit to the top of Victoria Peak for panoramic views of the city, the harbour and the distant islands.

Hong Kong - Island City of China

Victoria Park

In the 19th century, wealthy merchants and governors built their homes here, making Victoria Peak a luxury address in Hong Kong . The Peak Tram cable car was built in 1888, which allows you to get to the top of the hill in 10 minutes. At the cable car’s terminus is the unique Peak Tower shopping mall.

Lan Kwai Fong Street

Hong Kong - Island City of China

Lan Kwai Fong Street

For entertainment, it’s worth going to Lan Kwai Fong Street, home to some of the trendiest pubs and entertainment venues. Antiques buffs will find themselves back on Hollywood Road with stores selling ceramics, carvings, coins, and lots of kitschy trinkets. You can also buy traditional goods such as silk lampshades, etc. At Sheung Wan Market , you can buy anything you can think of. However, one of the largest and most visited markets in Hong Kong is the Temple Street Market, which has fake fashion brands, shoes, souvenirs, and many other goods.

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Hong Kong Temples

At the corner of Ladder Street stands the impressive 1847 Man Mo Miu Temple, dedicated to two deities, the god of literature and the god of war. Their statues can be seen at the back of the main hall. Inside the temple are huge aromatic spirals hanging from the ceiling. Another interesting temple, this time in the Kowloon area, is the Wong Tai Sin Temple, the Temple of the Great Immortal Wong. It is one of the largest, busiest and most interesting places of worship in Hong Kong. It includes shrines to Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian deities.

Hong Kong - Island City of China

Hong Kong Temples

Various museums await visitors to Hong Kong. Of particular interest is the Hong Kong Museum of Art, which features traditional Chinese watercolours, calligraphy and beautiful handicraft artefacts from southern China and Asia. However, visitors with children will enjoy the Hong Kong Science Museum much more, with its many entertaining interactive exhibits explaining natural phenomena and demonstrations of various machines and engines.

Ocean Park

One of the most visited attractions in all of Hong Kong is Ocean Park, which is one of the largest amusement centers in the world. The centerpiece of Ocean Park is the Ocean Theatre which hosts spectacular shows featuring dolphins and sea lions.

Hong Kong - Island City of China

Ocean Park

This meticulously landscaped park has several thematically different sections. You can visit the dinosaur pavilion, water paradise, roller coaster rides, etc. There is also an aquarium with sharks and a coral reef, where you can see 400 different species of underwater animals. However, the pride of the entire park is the two large pandas.


Hong Kong’s coastline is dotted with beautiful beaches, with Repulse Bay being one of the most famous and attractive. It got its name after the British repelled numerous pirate attacks in this area in the 19th century.

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Hong Kong - Island City of China


Today, in the immediate vicinity of the beach is an upscale residential area, directly disposed to recreation, beach sports or visiting restaurants. The beach consists of bright golden and fine sand, which is washed by the azure waters of the South China Sea. Water temperatures range from 16 to 26 degrees Celsius all year round.

Hong Kong on a world map with sights

As an autonomous special region of China, Hong Kong occupies a leading role on the economic map of the world. It is one of the main financial centers throughout Asia. In fact, it is a separate state with its own administration, legislation and political system. China only provides military security and controls foreign policy issues with the world.

Hong Kong

Geographic location

Hong Kong is located in the south of China occupying the Kowloon Peninsula and the surrounding islands that are washed by the South China Sea. To the north, the border of the region runs along the Pearl River. On the opposite shore is the city of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone. To the west, across the strait, is another special administrative area, Macau.

Transport in Hong Kong

Maps of roads, tunnels and bridges link all the major islands. In Hong Kong you can find almost all kinds of logistical communications. The public transport system is highly developed:

  • MTR, which includes subway, commuter and domestic electric trains;
  • Many bus routes;
  • ferries between islands;
  • streetcar routes on which branded double-decker trains run;
  • a system of escalators and travalators, facilitating the movement of pedestrians through the hilly terrain;
  • a funicular railway that runs from the center to the top of Mount Victoria.

Hong Kong

The subway system

One of Hong Kong’s most convenient modes of passenger transport is the subway. The Airport Express line connects Hong Kong International Airport with the mainland and the island. The Express line duplicates the Tung Chung line almost entirely, but you can’t take it to the airport terminal. But at Sunny Bay station there is a train connection to the local Disneyland, which is very popular with tourists. A subway map in Russian or English is a must for tourists to track their movements.

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For communication from Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula, there are 2 more lines across Victoria Bay:

  • Tsuen Wan after goes to the northwest;
  • Tseun Kwan O line serves to connect the island to the east and Junk Bay.

A third branch of the East Rail tunnel is planned to be completed soon. It now connects the northernmost settlements on the border to the center of the mainland. From the Lo Wu terminus one can transfer to a train going to Shenzhen and on to the Guangzhou region.

The Island Line, which runs along the north shore, is used to move around the island area. The South Island Line connects Admiralty Station to Ocean Park and the South Horizon area. With the New Territories to the northeast, downtown is connected by the West Line, which is duplicated at the end by an extensive light rail network.

Hong Kong

The subway runs to all of the country’s significant landmarks.

Ground public transport

It is advantageous to go underground for traveling long distances or when time is of the essence. Bus and streetcar fares are lower and there are many more places of interest to see along the way.

All ground transportation runs according to a certain schedule, which you can find at the stops. The information boards show an approximate route map, the time of arrival of the next bus and the final station. Time deviations are insignificant and happen only during rush hours. Buses are mostly modern and comfortable, but KMB, the New Territories transit company, has some non-air-conditioned models.

Hong Kong’s streetcar fleet consists of historic double-decker cars from the 1930s. Some routes run their modern counterparts, which fully replicate the look and decorations of the old ones. This type of transportation is the cheapest – the fare costs about 2 Hong Kong dollars.

Hong Kong transport

Fares can be paid either in cash at the entrance or with the Octopus card. This is a single pass for all modes of transport in the capital. In the subway, you need to validate the card both at the entrance and at the exit. Fares depend on the mode of travel, the operator and the route.

Regional map

A satellite map of Hong Kong in Russian is the most convenient way for Russian tourists to get around the country. If you have a smartphone, you can easily find all the objects of interest and build the best route to them.

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To reduce the time spent searching for places of interest, it is recommended to map routes and cultural sites in advance. Online navigator can show you the best way.

Hong Kong

Administrative divisions

Hong Kong is divided into 18 boroughs, each of which offer a variety of attractions. The island area is divided into 4 parts:

  • Central and Western, where the Admiralty, Victoria Peak and entertainment districts are located;
  • East, with many parks and a promenade;
  • South;
  • Wanchai, which is a tourist center.

Another important district for tourists is the Islands. It has an international airport and major shopping malls. It is the most sparsely populated part of Hong Kong. It’s also home to Disneyland and several historical sites such as the statue of the Big Buddha on Lantau Island. In total, the Islands consists of more than 20 islands.

The remaining 13 counties are located on the mainland.

Resort recreation in the region

Despite the high density of development and the constant noise, tourists can also find a variety of beaches.

The main resort area of the island is the Southern District. There are the beaches of Ripals Bay, Turtle Bay, Shek Beach, and Big Wave Bay Beach. The shoreline of all beaches is maintained in perfect order, and a large number of coastal cafes and restaurants with good food add to the pleasant emotions.

Hong Kong is not just a metropolis. The regional government does not want to turn the area into a stone jungle and pays a lot of attention to the greening of the city. Anyone who finds themselves here will find a pastime to their liking: whether it is a visit to cultural monuments with a map, trips to the mountains, walks through the living city or relaxing by the sea.

A must-see! Hong Kong's famous planetarium.

Tourism in Hong Kong is designed for people with a high level of income and living in the city is quite expensive, even compared to European capitals. But a small amount of time is enough to feel the spirit of the city and plunge into its life.

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