Hong Kong isn’t only the city with the most skyscrapers in the world. It has a unique culture thriving beneath those skyscrapers, not to mention a fascinating history at their foundations. Soak in the atmosphere of the Temple Street Night Market, course through the village of Tai O to admire the stilt houses, or marvel at the glittering skyline while strolling down Tsim Sha Tsui East Promenade. Hong Kong has many layers, and here are three ways to discover them.
Light up the Sky: Chinese New Year Fireworks
If you’re visiting the city in winter when Chinese New Year takes place, you’re in for a treat of epic proportions, because the skies come alive as part of a three-day festival. You can see the Symphony of Lights show on all three nights, with choreographed lasers and music. There are fireworks on New Year’s Eve, but it’s the massive display the day after, which is meant to ward off evil spirits, that will really blow you away. The thirty-minute extravaganza is witnessed by 300,000 spectators who watch from the Avenue of Stars or boats in the harbour.
Make a Wish: Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees
Do you have a secret wish you want to come true? Then these ancient wishing trees are the place to go. The two banyan trees are a shrine connected to an 18th century temple. People write their wishes on pieces of paper, tie them to an orange and throw them into the tree to catch on the branches – the higher up they catch, the more likely it is that they’ll be granted. It’s most popular to visit the shrine during Chinese New Year, but you’ll feel a special atmosphere here all year round.
Village Life: Tai Mei Tuk
If you want a brief respite from the urban bustle, there’s no better spot than the idyllic village of Tai Mei Tuk. Popular for barbecues and cycling, the village offers scenic views of the harbour and the surrounding mountains. Even getting there can be a pleasure as an easy cycling route takes you from the city through a waterfront park and an ancient temple into the village itself, where relaxing in local restaurants, flying kites on the beach or taking part in water sports are all available to you.