Exploring Hong Kong

By Virginia Shannon
This item appears on page 14 of the January 2016 issue.

Hong Kong is one of my favorite spots to visit, and I’ve stayed in hotels there in most years since 1969. A Special Administrative Region of China, on its southeastern coast, Hong Kong is a multicultural city.

One of the best locations to stay in the city is the Victoria Harbour area of the mainland’s Kowloon Peninsula, where I stayed during my one-week visit, July 4-10, 2015. 

The hotel I chose was the Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel (13 Canton Rd., Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong, P.R. China; phone +852 2113 0088 or visit www.marcopolohotels.com/en/index.html and look under “Find a Destination”). This was my 43rd stay at this hotel. I paid $250 per night, which included breakfast.

From Hong Kong’s modern airport, you’ll need to take a bus, taxi or hotel shuttle into the city. On my July visit, the taxi ride took me about 20 minutes, due to dense traffic, but I saw two beautiful bridges (we crossed over one of them) and much water traffic below. 

Surrounded by lovely, exclusive shops, the hotel is located on the waterfront near the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, which houses a Grand Theatre, a Concert Hall and a Studio Theatre.

In Mong Kok, not far to the northwest on the peninsula, visitors can see a bird garden, the Goldfish Market, the colorful Flower Market and the Ladies’ Market. At the Temple Street Night Market, a 6-minute taxi ride from the hotel, you can buy all kinds of toys and curios, and there are food stalls as well as sit-down eateries.

A short walk from the Marco Polo Hongkong Hotel is the Star Ferry, which I took south to Hong Kong Island for a nominal fee. (It’s free to senior citizens.) The island offers beautiful views as well as shopping.

From the nearby bus terminal on Hong Kong Island, bus No. 6 took me to Stanley Market, where shopping is inexpensive. The view along the bus route was magnificent.

Another place of interest on Hong Kong Island is Aberdeen, where people live on fishing junks. On the deck of one junk, I saw an old, manual-style sewing machine being used to make Christmas ornaments, like fake poinsettias.

In Ocean Park (phone +852 3923 2323, www.oceanpark.com.hk), which is located on the south side of Hong Kong Island and includes the world-class Aqua City,  people can swim in either indoor or outdoor pools and see shows as well as fish on exhibit. You can even see ocean fish underwater from a type of sub.

The Space Museum, located near the Star Ferry, is a white-domed building with a modern planetarium. (The Space Museum is closed for renovations until March 1, 2016. — Editor)

Victoria Peak, on the western side of the island, is a premier attraction offering breathtaking views. You can reach the top by riding the Peak Tram, a funicular railway that’s been in operation since 1888.

Another nearby island, one of hundreds that are part of the city, is Cheung Chau, tiny and densely populated.

Lamma Island, reached by ferry, has beaches and hiking to offer. 

Also reachable by ferry, Lantau Island, with mountains and beaches, is a major tourist attraction and home to the world’s largest outdoor, bronze statue of a seated Buddha.

About 35 miles away, Macau (another Special Administrative Region of China) has a colorful mix of cultures. It can be reached by ferry from Canton Road in Kowloon. TurboJET (high-speed ferry service) also is available.

Hong Kong does get typhoons, but they are infrequent. In other respects, Hong Kong has one of the best safety and security records in the world. 


Naples, FL