- Pisac’s Market is More than I Bargained for
- Machu Picchu–Better than Imagined
- Ise-Shima Famous for Shrines, Pearls and Female Divers
- Beyond Tokyo and Kyoto
- JNTO offering a Free Trip to Japan: The Winner chooses a World Heritage Site
- John Lennon in Karuizawa
- Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak Always a Draw
- A 12th-century Buddhist Utopia in Japan
- Kume & Kobe Refound
- Two New Tokyo Hotels, Worlds Apart
- Memories of Isla Amantani, Peru
- Japan’s Koban–Public Relations Ambassadors
- Rocky Mountain High
- My Favorite Cuban Town Blasted by Hurricane Matthew
- Colonia del Sacramento Preserves its Past in Uruguay
- A Face in the Crowd
- Spain Leaves its Mark at St. Augustine
- Patagonia is a Slice of Paradise in Chile
- Mesa Verde Vertigo
- Hotel Reviews in Forbes Travel Guide
Tag Archives: Hong Kong
I consider Hong Kong one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Not, necessarily, on street level, where there’s such a jarring juxtaposition between the profound and the mundane, the grand and the gross, it’s hard to take in the whole picture.
Take the Peak Tram to The Peak, however, and you’re met with a sweeping panorama of the harbor, the high rises of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, and undulating hills in the distance. There are plenty of restaurants and shops in Peak Tower and Peak Galleria, but my favorite thing to do is take the circular, 2-mile hike around the peak, which offers different views along its shaded path and glimpses of millionaires’ mansions.
Because of the differences in what you see, I recommend going to The Peak twice: during the day and again at night, when the city lights up like few others do. If it’s cloudy or rainy, however, don’t bother. In fact, pollution over the years has become so ubiquitous, if you have a clear day consider yourself very fortunate.
I discovered this article about The Peak, which quotes from my Frommer’s Hong Kong:
Almost every time I’ve been in Hong Kong–and I can’t even count how many that would be over the past 30-some years–I’ve spent at least part of a day in Stanley, on the south end of Hong Kong Island. It’s
long been known for its market, meaning, of course, that it’s no longer the place to go for bargains. In fact, whereas years ago the market dealt only in clothing, over the past couple of decades souvenirs have crept into the mix–which can only mean one thing: tourists.
But although Stanley Market has changed, I still love going there. Part of it has to do with the wild ride to get there, best done in a double-decker bus that careens around corners and races over hills, gradually revealing glimpses of the South China Sea. The village of Stanley, long a popular enclave for expats, is laid-back and trendy, with good restaurants and a beach popular with families.
For more on Stanley, see this article in Global Traveler:
My business in Hong Kong is to write about it so others can be informed
and hopefully spend most of their valuable time enjoying it to the utmost. I hit the bars, dine til I can eat no more at restaurants that have stood the test of time and at new ones that are the talk of the town, check out the latest attractions and then drop dead-tired in as many hotels as I can fit in my schedule.
And I’ve been doing it for 30 years. Hong Kong Makes Doing Business a Pleasure is a roundup of some of my discoveries, published in the March issue of Global Traveler. And it’s true, Hong Kong is a great place for business travelers. There are restaurants galore, some of the best hotels in the world, and a wealth of shopping and sightseeing opportunities that can be slipped into a busy itinerary no matter where you are. You can spend all day in a business meeting, go to dinner at a fabulous restaurant with views over the glittering city and then get up on your day off and hike the Dragon’s Back Trail right in the middle of Hong Kong Island.
But no matter how long your trip, it won’t be long enough. It never is for me.
I wrote an article called Hong Kong Food & Drink Tours for USA Today about four different local tours in Hong Kong that center on food and drink. Each tour is slightly different and therefore appeals to different types and ages of travelers. One company offers walking tours to small, family-owned restaurants, bakeries, soy shops and other establishments in traditional neighborhoods, while another specializes in private, customized food tours that can cover everything from exotic ethnic cuisine to the best Cantonese restaurants in town. For mainstream travelers, or for those with mobility issues, a well-established company offers a cruise to a village known for its seafood restaurants. And for younger people with a wild side, there’s the weekly pub crawl to bars and nightclubs; when you wish to call it a night is entirely up to you.
I’ve been writing about Sammy’s Kitchen for as long as I’ve been covering Hong Kong for Frommer’s (almost 30 years). When I first went there, in the 1980s, it was because I was searching for an establishment offering Western fare in a neighborhood dominated by restaurants serving noodles and other Cantonese fare, so that readers might have an alternative while following my walking tour of the Sheung Wan area. With its large sign out front, shaped like a cow, it was easy to find and hard to ignore.
What I found was a friendly, family-owned locale that stood out in an area known for its stalls selling dried seafood, ginseng and other traditional goods. In fact, Sammy’s offers an eclectic choice of both Western and Chinese dishes, some the original creation of Sammy Yip, who started out working in the kitchens of the Peninsula and Mandarin Oriental before opening his own restaurant in 1970. Today the octogenarian is assisted by his offspring in this dark and cluttered restaurant with its outdated decor. But while there are now nearby trendy Western restaurants along Hollywood Road and elsewhere offering better food and more chic furnishings, there’s something comforting about an unpretentious restaurant that’s been in business for so long amidst so much change in this former British colony. You can stop in a full-fledged meal or just a soda and ice-cream sundae.
Now, it seems, there’s a controversy over the restaurant’s old sign, which extends over the street and has been a familiar landmark for more than 30 years. It’s apparently against codes for signage, with city officials demanding its removal, according to this article that includes a quote from my Frommer’s Hong Kong guide.
And so time marches onward, even for a restaurant that seems committed to remaining exactly the same.
After occupying the plaza beneath the icon HSBC bank headquarters in the heart of Hong Kong’s financial Central district for the past 10 months, Occupy Central will have to disband within the next two weeks in compliance with a court decision last Monday. Although participation had dwindled, it still had life when I visited Hong Kong in May, especially on weekends when campers were joined by workers wishing to show solidarity for the movement.
Sadly, Hong Kong now has the biggest wealth gap in Asia, with some people so poor that their “homes” are nothing more than a bunk bed surrounded by mesh, in what is known as a cage bed. Many apartments that normally hold one family have been subdivided into many tiny rooms that are rented out to the poor.
My Hong Kong App, called Hong Kong Explorations, is now out on iTunes. Produced by Sutro Media, which has more than 200 apps out there, it covers about everything you can think of about Hong Kong, including lodging, dining, museums, sights, nightlife, and more. There are almost 200 individual write-ups and about 1,000 photos. It’s available at