The one minute summary on Hong Kong
This is it: one minute to the best info on Hong Kong. This info alone will put you ahead of 99% of foreigners visiting Hong Kong, garner the admiration of the locals who will instantly want to be your friends, and the envy of your fellow travelers. Read on. You’ll make friends faster that way, become a traveler instead of simply being a tourist, and also enjoy your travels a lot more.
Occupied by the UK in 1841, Hong Kong was formally ceded by China the following year; various adjacent lands were added later in the 19th century. Pursuant to an agreement signed by China and the UK on 19 December 1984, Hong Kong became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China on 1 July 1997. In this agreement, China promised that, under its “one country, two systems” formula, China’s socialist economic system would not be imposed on Hong Kong and that Hong Kong would enjoy a “high degree of autonomy” in all matters except foreign and defense affairs for the subsequent 50 years.
That was it. I promised one minute.
For other condensed info check also my other posts on local culture (don’t make the mistakes I made), local food or local drinks. And when you call your friends to tell them you were by far the most knowledgeable at the party, do that with confidence that you’ll not get hit with a 6.99 per minute bill. You’ll also pick the local food from the tray, and order a local drink with confidence.
- Cultural Mistakes To Avoid in Hong Kong
- Does my current phone work in Hong Kong ? Tips to cell phone usage in Hong Kong
- Local food you should try in Hong Kong and No miss drinks in Hong Kong
Now, cheers to the most Hong Kong aware person at the cocktail party.
What are the key history moments for Hong Kong?
Archaeological findings date the first human settlements in the area back to more than 30,000 years ago. It was first incorporated into China during the Qin Dynasty and largely remained under Chinese rule until 1841 during the Qing Dynasty, with a brief interruption at the end of the Qin Dynasty, when a Qin official established the kingdom of Nam Yuet, which later fell to the Han Dynasty. In January 1841, as a result of the defeat of the Qing Dynasty of China in the First Opium War, the Chinese government agreed to cede Hong Kong Island in perpetuity to the British Crown under the Convention of Chuanpee, beginning the British administration of Hong Kong.
The agreement was later rectified in August 1842 in the Treaty of Nanking, after which the Crown Colony of Hong Kong was established with Victoria City (present day Central) as the capital. After the defeat of China in the Second Opium War, the Kowloon Peninsula was ceded to Britain in 1860 in the Convention of Peking, adding to the Crown Colony. A 99-year lease of additional land on the mainland (the New Territories) and surrounding islands for defense and further development was granted in 1898 as the colony’s final territorial change.
When World War II broke out, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared that Hong Kong was an “impregnable fortress.” However, it was only a reality check for the British as most of their troops were tied down fighting the Germans in Europe, and Hong Kong was not given enough resources for its defence. As a result, after just slightly more than two weeks of fighting, Hong Kong was surrendered to the Japanese on 25 December 1941, making it the first time the British lost a colony to an invading force. After the war, despite American assurances that Hong Kong would be restored to China, the British moved quickly to regain control of Hong Kong. However, they had lost their aura of invincibility and could not continue to rule Hong Kong the way they used to before the war and all restrictions on non-Europeans owning property on prime real estate land were lifted.
Hong Kong’s post war recovery was astonishingly swift and within 2-3 months all post-war economic restrictions were lifted and Hong Kong became a free market once again. After the communists took control of mainland China in 1949, many Chinese people, especially businessmen, fled to Hong Kong due to persecution by the communist government. Unlike the restrictive policies imposed by the communists in China, the British government took a rather hands off approach in Hong Kong, as proposed by former financial secretary John James Cowperthwaite, which led to a high degree of economic freedom. Under such conditions, businesses flourished in Hong Kong and its economy grew rapidly, earning it a place as one of the East Asian Tigers. In 1990, Hong Kong’s GDP per capita surpassed that of Britain, the first time a colony’s GDP per capita surpassed that of its colonial masters. Hong Kong is now the world’s fourth largest financial centre after London, New York and Tokyo.
The first Boundary Stone along the Anglo-Chinese Boundary at Chung Ying Street The massive influx of mainland Chinese refugees led to the rise of the Kowloon Walled City, which was a horrendous convolution of maze-like alleys, utter darkness, cramped space, and unsanitary conditions. Reports claim that dog meat was served (something which is quite common in Mainland China, but considered intolerable by the British) and that unlicensed physicians practised there.
The Walled City was evacuated and subsequently demolished in 1993, and the Kowloon Walled City Park was built on the site. After negotiations between China and Britain in 1984, it was declared that the New Territories and outlying islands were to be given back to China in 1997. As Hong Kong developed, these regions became heavily integrated with the permanent cession. As a result, by the time the lease was approaching expiration, it was considered highly impractical to separate the colony into two. Initial British proposals for joint administration of the entire colony were rejected by China, and in 1984 the Sino-British Joint Declaration created a “one country, two systems” policy on the Question of Hong Kong, giving Hong Kong back to China on 1 July 1997.
Hong Kong thus became a SAR of the People’s Republic of China. Under the principle “One Country, Two Systems”, Hong Kong is to be granted a high degree of autonomy for at least 50 years after the handover, including remaining in charge of its own capitalistic economy, maintaining a separate border and immigration control from China, and not being affected by various restrictions that apply in mainland China such as news censorship and foreign exchange controls. In accordance with the Joint Declaration, the Basic Law was enacted to serve in effect as a mini-constitution for the Hong Kong SAR. In theory, Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy in most matters except foreign affairs and defence. In practice, it is more complex than that. On the one hand, Beijing exerts much influence, on the other, there are increasing calls pushing for a more democratic regime and universal suffrage.
In fact, the campaign for full democracy has been a major issue for China regarding Hong Kong in recent years, with protests drawing hundreds of thousands of residents demanding for full elections and denouncing the Chinese Communist Party, with some even proposing outright independence from China. In many respects, little has changed since the handover to China in 1997. A chief executive, chosen by an elite electoral college, has replaced the Colonial Governor; Beijing’s man has replaced London’s man. What was once a British colony now looks like a Chinese colony. Although part of China, Hong Kong operates like a tiny country with its own currency, laws, international dialling code, police force, border controls and the like. It is also a member of international organisations that are normally restricted to sovereign states such as the WTO, APEC and the IOC.
The one minute summary for Hong Kong geography
Best places to see in Hong Kong
Hong Kong doesn’t have street benches to sit down. Whilst “sitting down areas” are around, these are generally infrequent. Additionally, restaurants (especially cheap and quick ones) will prefer quick table turnover. All this adds up to spending a considerable amount of time on your feet in any given day. Make sure you have a pair of comfortable shoes, as even a good pair of shoes will still leave your feet sore after a full day on your feet. Itineraries A week near Hong Kong this itinerary has suggestions for travel from Hong Kong to nearby destinations Hong Kong Culinary Tour gives a short tour to discover the unique cuisine of Hong Kong Hong Kong in a day an insight of everything; from laidback, rural life in the outlying islands to the bustling metropolis Overland Kunming to Hong Kong covers one route to or from Hong Kong Guided walk Hong Kong Tourism Board offers many walking tours. Starting from 1 October 2010, the following participation fees have been implemented: Duk Ling Ride $100 per person Architecture Walk $200 per person Chinese Cake-Making Class $30 per person.
Victoria Peak Get a stunning view of Hong Kong Island on Victoria Peak atop the giant, wok-shaped Peak Tower! Ever since the dawn of British colonisation, the Peak hosted the most exclusive neighbourhood for the territory’s richest residents, where local Chinese weren’t permitted to live until after World War II. At the Peak, the Peak Tower serves not only as an observation platform, it also doubles as a shopping mall offering shops, fine dining and museums. The Peak Tram runs from Central to the bottom of the Peak Tower.
Although views of Kowloon and Victoria Harbour can be stunning, be prepared for the view to be spoilt by air pollution. There is no point in spending extra money to visit the observation deck of the Peak Tower. There are a number of nice walks around the Peak Tower that offers similar, if not nicer, views of all sides of the island. One of it is the Lion Pavilion Lookout on Findlay Road, about one minute walk from The Peak Tower.
You will be able to catch a laser show at 8PM every night. On sunny days, you can find an old man outside the pavilion, offering rickshaw ride along Findlay Road. A 10 minutes ride costs HK$100. Although the Peak Tram offers a direct route to The Peak, a more picturesque and cheaper (though slower) way of reaching it is by taking bus 15 (not 15C) from the Star Ferry pier in Central. Not only is it cheaper but, as the bus snakes up the mountain, you can enjoy beautiful views of both sides of Hong Kong island and passing the territory’s priciest neighbourhoods.
For hikers, nature lovers and other adventurous folks: you can also go up walking the Old Peak Rd. which starts just south of the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens, is steep at times, but from the gardens it can be conquered all the way to the Peak in about 30 minutes (the path can be found clearly in Google maps). Be aware that night times and weekends are considerably busier and you may be waiting for an hour or so to get up to the top via the Tram. Also, if you see a high proportion of Mainlanders in line, you may wish to visit at another time, as this likely indicates that there is a Mainland Chinese guided tour, which can generally be inconvenient to the normal traveller as they tend to move en masse through the area, often without a great deal of concern for their fellow tourists.
Horse racing The racing season runs from September to July, during which time racings take place twice weekly, with the location alternating between Shatin in the New Territories and Happy Valley near Causeway Bay MTR station. Both racing locations are easily accessible by MTR but Happy Valley is the more convenient, historic and impressive location (races usually take place here on Wednesday nights). For only a $10 entrance fee, a night in Happy Valley can be filled with rowdy entertainment. Get a local Horse racing fans ( or gambler) to explain the betting system to you and then drink the cheap draft beer.
Be sure to pick up the Racing Post section in the South China Morning Post on race days to guide you. A beer garden with racing commentary in English is available at Happy Valley near the finishing line where many expatriates congregate during the races. One good tip: bring your passport and get in at the tourist rate of just $1. Betting can also be placed at any of 100+ branches of the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Expect long lines and big crowds. The Hong Kong Jockey Club is a nonprofit charitable organization and the only institution permitted to conduct legal horse-racing in the territory. Local life The most effective way to know how Hong Kong people live is to observe the local life of an ordinary Hong Kong resident. Just wander and observe – and don’t worry – all areas are safe. Traditional heritage Stilt Houses in Tai O There are many traditional heritage locations throughout Hong Kong.
In New Territories you will find Ping Shan Heritage Trail passing by some of the most important ancient sights, the walled Hakka village of Tsang Tai Uk, Fu Shin Street Traditional Bazaar as well as a number of temples including Che Kung Temple, Man Mo Temple and the Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas. In Kowloon you will find the Kowloon Walled City Park at the location of the former Kowloon walled city. And on Lantau you will find the Stilt houses in Tai O, Po Lin Monastery and the Tien Tan Buddha Statue. Churches St Johns Cathedral is the oldest surviving Western ecclesiastical building in the city. St Andrew’s Church is Victorian-gothic and it is cruciform in shape. Kowloon Union Church was founded in 1927, is an English missionary in Hong Kong interdenominational Christian church, was listed as a Grade I historical building in Hong Kong.
Museums There are a variety of museums in Hong Kong with different themes, arguably the best museum is the Hong Kong Museum of History in Kowloon, which gives an excellent overview of Hong Kong’s fascinating past. Not the typical pots-behind-glass format of museums you find elsewhere in China. Innovative galleries such as a mock-up of a colonial era street make history come to life. Allow about two to four hours to view everything in detail. Admission is free on Wednesdays.
There is an audio tour available for HKD$10. Kowloon also includes a number of other interesting museums including Dialogue in the Dark, which is an exhibition in complete darkness where you should use your non-visual senses with the help of a visually impaired guide, the International Hobby and Toy Museum, which exhibits models, toys, science fiction collectibles, movie memorabilia and pop-culture artifacts from around the world, Hong Kong Museum of Art, which is a fascinating, strange and elusive place exhibiting Chinese ceramics, terracotta, rhinoceros horn and Chinese paintings as well as contemporary art produced by Hong Kong artists, Hong Kong Science Museum, primarily aimed at children, and Hong Kong Heritage Discovery Centre. Central also has its share of museums including Dr Sun Yat-sen Museum, Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences, which shows how the healthcare system evolved from traditional Chinese medicine to modern Western medicine, and Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre. New Territories has the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, which will appeal to those who have a serious interest in Chinese culture, and the Hong Kong Railway Museum.
Nature Dusk in a country park Contrary to popular belief, Hong Kong is not all skyscrapers and it is worthwhile to go to the countryside (over 70% of Hong Kong), including the country parks and marine parks . Many are surprised to find that Hong Kong is actually home to some stunning landscapes and breathtaking scenery. Lantau Island is twice as big as Hong Kong island and is well worth checking out if you want to get away from the bright lights and pollution of the city for a spell. Here you will find open countryside, traditional fishing villages, secluded beaches, monasteries and more. You can hike, camp, fish and mountain bike, amongst other activities. In the waters just off Tung Chung on Lantau Island, live the Chinese White Dolphins. These dolphins are naturally pink and live in the wild, but their status is currently threatened, with its current population estimated to be between 100-200.
The Sai Kung Peninsula in New Territories is also a worthwhile place to visit. Its mountainous terrain and spectacular coastal scenery make this a special place. There are both challenging and more relaxed routes. Hong Kong Wetland Park in New Territories is a relaxing park set amidst an ecological mitigation area. One can stroll along a network of board walks or explore the large visitors centre/museum. North East New Territories is also famous for its natural environment. Yan Chau Tong Marine Park is in the North East New Territories. A few traditional abandoned villages are connected with hiking trails in the territory. North East New Territories is one of the famous hiking hot spot for the locals. Short hiking trails (2 hours) can be found on Hong Kong Island and the New Territories. You can even hike up to the Victoria Peak. There are some outlying islands also worth to visit, e.g.: Lamma Island, Cheung Chau, Ping Chau, Tap Mun, Tung Lung Island. Theme parks The entrance to Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. Hong Kong Disneyland Resort opened in September, 2005. It is on Lantau Island, about 12km east of Hong Kong International Airport.
The resort also features a Disneyland park, two resort hotels and a lake recreation centre. Though significantly smaller in size than other Disneyland-style parks elsewhere, the park has undergone an expansion to offer more attractions (including the recent-opened Toy Story Land and Grizzly Gulch).
It offers some great attractions and short queues most of the year (except the week of Chinese New Year, Easter, Halloween and Christmas season). It is also considerably cheaper than Tokyo Disneyland, Euro Disneyland or those in the USA – in fact, it’s much cheaper than most theme parks for entry and food. Ocean Park is on the southern side of Hong Kong island, and is the park that grew up with many local Hong Kong people. With roller coasters and large aquariums altogether, it is still packed on weekends with families and tourists.
The cablecar is an icon, though for those who are scared, there is now a funicular railway underneath the mountain that emulates a submarine dive. For many, the chance to see Hong Kong’s pandas would be a deciding factor. Young adults will be attracted to the wider range (and more adrenalin-pumping nature) of rides. Ngong Ping 360 on Lantau Island is a Buddhist themed park that features Imperial Chinese architecture, interactive shows, demonstrations, restaurants and coffee shops. The highlight of this trip is the longest cable car ride in Hong Kong that affords stunning views. The ride also takes you to the largest outdoor seated Buddha. For details how to get there see also  Seeing different sides of Hong Kong by Public Transport Travelling on a bus or a tram is ideal for looking at different sides of Hong Kong. Not only it is cheap to ride on a bus or a tram, it also allows you to see completely different lifestyles in different districts in a short time. Below are some recommended routes. Bus KMB Route 270A. starts from the downtown in Jordan, Kowloon.
It goes along Peninsular Kowloon and heads through the New Territories. Then it goes into Sha Tin. Afterwards it goes through Tai Po Road, where you can see many traditional Chinese villages and the scenic Chinese University of Hong Kong. The bus further goes to Tai Po and you can see the traditional Market. After Tai Po, the bus again passes through the countryside and eventually reaches its terminus at Sheung Shui (below Landmark North), which is near the Hong Kong – Shenzhen boundary. The journey takes 80 minutes and costs $13 for the whole journey with a air-conditioned bus. The Hung Hom bound train back to the city can be taken from Sheung Shui. NWFB Route 15  starts from Central (Exchange Square) to The Peak. It is an alternative way for getting to The Peak by bus rather than by Peak Tram.
Your journey to Hong Kong will not be complete unless you have visited Victoria Peak. You can see the beautiful view of Hong Kong Island, Victoria Harbour and Kowloon Peninsula along the Stubbs Road during the journey. When you arrive, there are two shopping malls: The Peak Tower and The Peak Galleria, which provide restaurants, a supermarket, and souvenir shops for your convenience. In addition, you can visit Madame Tussauds Hong Kong  and see if the mannequins look to be the real deal. Direction: you can take MTR and get off at Hong Kong station. You can approach Hong Kong station by the underpass from Central station. After that, follow the exit B1 to Exchange Square and you will see the bus terminus. You can also get off at Admiralty station. Then, follow the C1 exit towards Queensway Plaza. Make a right after you exit the station, and you will see the bus stop. After you get on the bus, just stay on until it arrives to The Peak bus terminus.
The bus fare is $9.8 and it takes about 30 minutes for the journey. Citybus Route 973  Route 973 starts from the Tsim Sha Tsui East Bus Terminus which is located at the Concordia Plaza, which is directly opposite the Science Museum at Science Museum Road. It goes along Salisbury Road, where the Avenue of Stars, The Space Museum and the Art Museum are located. Later it goes to University of Hong Kong, which is the most prominent and the oldest university in Hong Kong after crossing the Western Harbour Crossing. It later passes through the countryside of the southern part of Hong Kong . It will reach the Hong Kong southern side, where the Jumbo/Tai Pak Floating Restaurant  is located at Aberdeen. Not long after, the bus passes by a football field, from which it is a 5-10 minutes walk to Ocean Park.
Finally, the bus passes by the beautiful sandy beach of Repulse Bay, before it finally arrives at its terminus station at Stanley Village, where the famous Murray House and the Stanley Village Market are located. The fare is $13.6 and it takes about 95 minutes for the journey. NWFB Route H1, H2 These two are rickshaw-themed double deckers going to main heritage spots on Hong Kong Island, such as the Court of Final Appeal (previously LegCo) in Central and the University of Hong Kong. A day pass costs $50, and you can hop on and hop off at any stop. Tram Trundle across Hong Kong island for $2.3 Take a tram journey on Hong Kong Island.
The Hong Kong Tramways  are a slow yet special form of transport running on Hong Kong Island. It has been operating since 1904 and is an obvious relic of the British administration – the only remaining double-decker tram line in the world. A trip on a tram is a perfect way to have a leisurely tour around Hong Kong Island’s major streets and to have a glimpse of the local life. Fares are relatively cheap, just $2.3 per trip for an adult and one dollar for Senior citizens (aged 65 or older) and children pay $1.2. It is recommended to ride from as far as Kennedy Town in the west, to as far as Shau Kei Wan in the east, in order to get a strong contrast of “East meets West” and “Old meets New”. A new, modern, tram system operates in the north west New Territories and serves New Towns between Yuen Long and Tuen Mun. Few tourists will be inspired by these trams but they may appeal to trainspotters. Avenue of Stars and A Symphony of Lights Hong Kong’s version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Avenue of Stars  celebrates icons of Hong Kong cinema from the past century. The seaside promenade offers fantastic views, day and night, of Victoria Harbour and its iconic skyline. This is the place to have your picture taken by a professional photographer who is experienced in night photography. The Avenue can be reached from the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station or the Star Ferry.
The Avenue of the Stars is also a great place to see A Symphony of Lights , a spectacular light and laser show synchronised to music and staged every night at 8:00PM. This is the world’s “Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show” as recognised by the Guinness World Records. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, the light show is in English. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday it is in Mandarin. On Sunday it is in Cantonese. While at the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, spectators can tune their radios to FM103.4 MHz for English narration, FM106.8 MHz for Cantonese or FM107.9 for Mandarin. The same soundtrack can be accessed via mobile phones at 35665665 for the English version where normal telephone rates apply. However, the light show is for many a disappointment and unless you are already in the area it’s probably not worth going out of your way to see – many tourists leave before it’s finished in fact. But during festival times the light show is supplemented by fireworks that are worth seeing.