Ngong Ping 360 cable-car ride // © 2010 Hong Kong Tourism Board
Tai chi master William Ng // © 2010 Hong Kong Tourism Board
The Aqua Luna // © 2010 Hong Kong Tourism Board
The Temple Street Night Market // © 2010 Hong Kong Tourism Board
Hong Kong is one of my favorite cities to visit in Asia, simply because it offers so much in the form of culture, cuisine, activity and adventure. It seems to have it all: a bustling modern city; lush green lands; beautiful beaches; and sacred temples. For me, personally, Hong Kong also holds special significance as the place where my grandparents and parents lived for a time, before emigrating to the U.S. in the 1950s. Although the Hong Kong of today is very different from the Hong Kong that they knew, it still possesses a unique allure all its own — the same one that drew my family there years ago and, likewise, myself, today. Narrowing down my list of favorite Hong Kong activities was difficult to do but, somehow, I managed to do so. Here they are, in no particular order:
Getting Centered With Morning Tai Chi
Tai chi, often referred to as shadow boxing, is something that my grandmother used to practice early in the mornings at home. When I was younger, and I watched her go through the deliberate, yet unhurried motions, I didn’t quite understand them. Now, however, having taken an actual tai chi class with master William Ng in Hong Kong, I can actually appreciate the moves she tried to teach me as a young girl. Ng and Pandora Wu, another acclaimed tai chi master, hold free tai chi classes in the Sculpture Court of the Hong Kong Museum of Art in Kowloon’s Tsim Sha Tsui neighborhood every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8-9 a.m. The classes are free and are open to 40 people per class. You can book your clients for a class by calling the Hong Kong Tourism Visitor Hotline at 852-2508-1234.
Getting Stuffed at Yung Kee Restaurant
When I am in Hong Kong, I want to experience it as fully as the locals do and, well, for most locals, that experience involves food — and lots of it. Perhaps this is why many observers suspect that Hong Kong natives are born with a second — or third — stomach. Needless to say, Hong Kong is a veritable food lovers’ paradise.
While you or your clients have likely previously encountered roast Peking duck, chances are that you have not tasted roast goose before. Yung Kee Restaurant, located in Central Hong Kong , is famous for its delectable roast goose which, like Peking duck, possesses a crunchy-sweet skin and succulent meat.
Getting a Bird’s-Eye View of Hong Kong
Seeking higher elevation in Hong Kong, as your clients will discover, is not difficult to do. Whether you do so from the comforts of a sky-high skyscraper, a cable car or the top of Victoria Peak, the views are truly breathtaking and unforgettable. If I had to pick a favorite method for aerial sightseeing in Hong Kong, however, it would have to be the Ngong Ping 360 cable car ride. It takes riders on a 3½-mile journey across Lantau Island, traveling from the site of Hong Kong’s Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Giant Buddha, to the Tung Chung Town Centre at the northern tip of the island. You can read more about my Lantau Island experience and cable car ride in an article published last year.
Getting to Be in the Middle of the Symphony of Lights
Every night at 8 p.m., more than 40 buildings located along both sides of Victoria Harbour light up the night, quite literally, with a light-and-sound performance that has become known as the “Symphony of Lights.” While you can catch the nightly show from most anywhere near the harbor, nothing quite beats feeling like you’ve got a front-row seat from the comforts of your very own harbor cruise ride. My suggestion is to book your clients on an evening cruise aboard the Aqua Luna, a handcrafted traditional Chinese junk boat that boasts excellent food and drink as well as a luxurious ambience.
Getting a Lesson in Bargaining at the Markets of Kowloon
If there were anything that I learned while perusing the famous street markets in Hong Kong’s Kowloon neighborhood, it’s that I am absolutely clueless when it comes to getting a good deal. Nonetheless, I loved finding all sorts of fascinating items to purchase — from beautiful jade necklaces at the Jade Market to kitschy Mao clocks at the main Temple Street Night Market. There are a total of six markets to choose from in Kowloon — the Ladies’ Market, the Goldfish Market, the Flower Market, the Bird Market, the Temple Street Night Market and the Jade Market — and whichever one your clients choose, I am certain they will find something that strikes their fancy.