Hong Kong is situated in East Asia, Hong Kong Island itself is situated east of Pearl River and southeast of Canton. The island is detached from mainland China by a natural harbour also surrounded by the South China Sea.
There are four distinct seasons, with the climate influenced in winter by the north-eastern monsoon and in summer by the south-west monsoon. Summers are very hot, with the rainy season running from June to August. Spring and autumn are warm with occasional rain and cooler evenings. Winter can be cold but most days are mild.
One should be prepared when flying in from other parts of South East Asia – Hong Kong can be quite a bit cooler during the winter than Bangkok, Manila or Singapore.
Facts and Figures
1098 sq km (424 sq miles)
7,061,200 (2010 estimate).
Chinese and English are the official languages, with Cantonese most widely spoken.
Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist, with Christian and Muslim minorities, but there are also places of worship for most religious groups.
GMT + 8.
Hong Kong Island is the original centre of the territory. Today the island is the centre of the economic hub with the newly erected Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank Building in the middle.
The fishing ports of Aberdeen and Stanley are certainly worth a visit. Repulse Bay, Big Wave Bay, Shek O and Clear Water Bay are the best beaches on the island.
Hong Kong Central’s main attractions are; Tiger Balm Gardens, Chinatown, Causeway Bay, The Peak, Zoo & Botanical Gardens (especially in the morning to see people exercising with traditional Chinese shadow dancing). Kowloon boasts hotels, night clubs, row upon row of shops and a maze of skyscrapers. The Ocean Terminal, next to the Star Ferries, is one of the best places to shop.
Main attractions include the Space Museum, Lei Cheng Uk Tomb & Museum, Museum of History and Sung Dynasty Village.
Over 200 islands are sprinkled around Hong Kong – Lantau, double the size of Hong Kong island itself, has several attractive walks through rural Chinese countryside. Silver Mine Bay is the best beach on the islands. Cheung Chau is a fun island with a Mediterranean atmosphere and a fishing community that is shared with commuters trying to escape the high accommodation prices on Hong Kong island. Tin Hau’s 1792 temple is well worth a visit.
Hong Kong is a fast, exciting, colourful and mysterious place that fascinated the British for hundreds of years. Tapped onto the south eastern mass of China this working symbol of capitalism has an immense amount to offer in addition to the neon lights and helter-skelter lifestyle – sandy beaches, rural hills, exotic restaurants, picturesque islands, green ferries, red rickshaws and polished Rolls Royces all combine to offer visitors an exciting and ever changing view into Hong Kong’s unique lifestyle.
Hong Kong Island is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. A paradise for high-end shopping, packed with world class hotels and towering skyscrapers, the city epitomises the beauty of modernity. Its past makes it a remarkable mix of eastern and western influences, something of a sensory overload when you first arrive, but the city is remarkably safe and fantastically well organised, giving you the opportunity to explore every corner of this tiny, jam-packed region.
European trade with Hong Kong goes back as far as the 1600s. By the 1700s probably the world’s biggest and most successful drug pushing operation was up and running, as opium, grown under the tight control of theBritish East India Company in Bengal, was successfully traded for more useful spices, precious metals and silk. Such trade turned thousands of relatively peaceful Cantonese citizens into opium addicts whilst the British enjoyed a prosperous number of years trading.
The British broke the Chinese tea monopoly, by setting up their own tea growing plantations in India, managed to come out on top of two ‘Opium Wars’ and finally, in 1860, to take possession of the Kowloon peninsula thus adding another 7 square miles of colony. In 1898 a 99-year lease was granted on the 593 square mile New Territories.
The time under British rulegreatly influenced the current culture of Hong Kong, often described as “East meets West”. China eventually resumed control in 1997, and since that point the Chinese influence on the city has increased ten-fold. Hong Kong today is a city state and a SAR (Special Administrative Region) of the People’s Republic of China. It is governed on the unique principle of ‘one country, two systems’, which allows it to hold itself apart from China, enjoying enormous autonomy; it has a legal system based on common law, retains its freedom of speech and free trade.
The city remains one of the world’s leading international financial centres, with a major capitalist service economy.
Interested in Hong Kong? Call +44 (0)20 7604 4408 for expert holiday advice