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  • The backpacker’s guide to Hong Kong

    Hong Kong is one of the flashiest cities in all of Asia, and despite featuring tons of attractions, the most exciting attraction is the city itself. Hong Kong has a double personality: one the one hand it is very much the Chinese, from its traditional parts to its modern towers, but the British influence can still be felt practically everywhere.

    The crowded and busy streets have earned Hong Kong the nickname of Hong Concrete, in sharp contrast with the wilderness of the surrounding mountains. As a backpacker, you can have absolute freedom in Hong Kong. The best attractions in the city are free, and they hide in corners best explorer with only a travel bag on your shoulder.

    hng kong streetMost of the city itself is packed tightly along the northern shore of the island, where the British colonists first erected their settlements. The colonial flavour of the city is the strongest in the Central district, and if you want to see some rather impressive architecture, this is the place to go. Hong Kong’s Soho district is just as posh as the one in London, and as you go to higher altitudes, the neighbourhoods become more and more exclusive.

    You can take a walk through the Mid-Levels, the residential neighbourhoods, and finally The Peak, where the cream of Hong Kong society and politics reside. The Peak is obviously the tallest point of the city, and if you want to see some amazing harbour views, just take the Peak Tram.

    When it comes to transport, the cheapest way to get around is by using the public transport system, because no matter how much you like walking, Hong Kong is much too large even for the most the most obstinate walker.

    You can buy an Octopus pass, an electronic card which you can use on the city’s public transport network, which will even grant you discounts on certain trains and buses. The fastest way to get around is by fast transit trains, though. Renting a car can be a pretty bad idea if you don’t know the city well, since traffic can become downright hellish.

    The best way to discover the city is on your own, without bothering with any tours and such. Hong Kong is very safe considering its size and population, and unless you wander into some particularly seedy neighbourhood, you won’t have any trouble.

    There ‘s an amazing variety of museums in Hong Kong, and one of the most interesting is the Dialogue in the Dark, a museum where everything is submerged in complete darkness, so you’ll have to use your other sense to ‘see’ the exhibits.

    Nightlife in Hong Kong is very lively, as expected from the city’s status as Chinese pop-culture centre, but alcohol is not very popular with the locals, so you’re more likely to be able to have a pint in a restaurant rather than a bar. Instead, you can sample the city’s quite impressive tea menu.When it comes to cuisine, Hong Kong is a foodie’s paradise.

    There are plenty of high-class restaurants in the city, but you are just as well off (taste-wise) if you get some Hong Kong style fast food – for example winter melon soup, beef cake and rice. The street food is not to be missed: countless variaties of fish balls, sui mai, octopus legs, offal and soup.

    And if you get tired of the urban landscape, just take the train outside the city, and visit one of the many nature reserves or beaches. Lantau Island, Sai Kung peninsula or Vistoria Peak are great places for a bit of hiking and nature walking.

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