The attractions of the island are endless. Hong Kong’s financial centre is here, along with an antiques and curios district, ferry terminals for the islands, beaches and coastal resorts, the Wanchai nightclub area, Victoria Peak (reached by a hillside tram), and some fabulous shopping, dining, and entertainment possibilities. Getting about is easy using either the bus system or the metro (known as the MTR -the Mass Transit Railway).
Bays and Beaches
The island’s south coast is dotted with resorts and some fine beaches, although the resorts can be pretty crowded, and typical Hong Kong tower blocks are never far from view. In addition, the water is polluted enough to make one think twice about stepping into the invitingly azure sea. The fishing port of Aberdeen, with its junk-crowded harbour and floating restaurants, is a picturesque sight, and nearby are the Ocean World aquatic theme park, the beaches of Repulse Bay, and the coves of Stanley, also noted for its market. The south coast resorts and beaches are reached by bus from the underground station at Exchange Square, between the Star Ferry and the Vehicular Ferry Pier.
Fung Ping Shan Museum
This museum contains a good display of Chinese art, organised chronologically, so that it acts as a good introduction to the bronze, ceramics, and painting exhibits. There is also a very unusual collection of bronze crosses from the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368).
Hong Kong Park
This beautifully designed oasis of green has fountains and pools, an aviary, a greenhouse, a visual arts centre, an amphitheatre, and tai chi exercises in the mornings. In addition, there is all-important shade and fragrant air. The excellent Museum of Tea Ware is located inside the park. Main park entrance: Supreme Court Rd. Tel: (0852) 2530 0154. Open: daily 7am-llpm. Free admission. Museum of Tea Ware. Tel: (0852) 2530 0154. Open: Thu-Tue 10am-5pm. Closed: Wed. Free admission. MTR station: Admiralty.
Man Mo Temple
Dedicated to an unlikely combination of the calligraphy-creating God of Literature and the sword-bearing God of War, this large Taoist temple is an important religious foundation dating from the early years of British rule, and situated next to the steeply rising staircase of Ladder Street.
Tiger Balm Gardens
Also known as the Aw Boon Haw Gardens, this theme park of pagodas, grottoes, and scenes from Chinese folktales and legends was founded by Aw Boon Haw, who made his fortune from inventing Tiger Balm, the cure-all ointment used all over Asia.
The spectacular view of Hong Kong from the top of Victoria Peak would be reason enough to make the journey, but getting there by the Peak Tram railway makes the experience doubly entertaining. Once there, a curious fountain with dancing water-jets, and an up-market shopping gallery are about the only attractions, although you can follow the tarmac-covered path all the way round the peak for dizzying views in every direction.