Take a look at how the old meets the new in the city
Hong Kong is a modern, forward-looking city where the East meets the West, and the old meets the new. Hong Kong, or 香港xiang gang, means fragrant harbor, and is a legacy of the city’s status as a bustling port, exporting a plethora of goods, including fragrant incense. A British colony for over a century, Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China in 1997 and has been governed by the principle of “one country, two systems”, giving the city a significant degree of autonomy for the foreseeable future.
With a population of more than 7 million, nearly all of them ethnic Chinese, Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated places in the world, with over 6000 people occupying each square kilometer. While it is probably most well known for its main Hong Kong island, it also includes the bigger Kowloon Peninsula, as well as the New Territories, with 260 smaller surrounding islands, offering a contrasting combination of the urban metropolis with rural areas.
As one of the world’s busiest business centers, Hong Kong is a unique combination of traditional and contemporary found nowhere else in the world. Here, historical buildings coexist alongside ultra-modern skyscrapers. Decades-old trams traverse the central business district above an efficient underground train system. Open-air food stalls, known as dai pai dong, are part of the culinary landscape together with the finest restaurants in upmarket hotels. Street markets come to life all over Hong Kong after dusk, and are as popular as Asian flagship stores of international luxury brands. While the hustle and bustle of life appears to personify Hong Kong, there are oases of calm in parks that dot the main island, in addition to dozens of breathtaking hiking trails in the wider Hong Kong area.
The people are the soul of Hong Kong. From homemakers shopping in the wet markets to school children buying snacks after school, and from bare-chested men transporting cartons of goods from their vehicles parked along the street to the office crowd grabbing a quick lunch, the city hums with energy as people go about their daily lives.
Cosmopolitan, multicultural and seemingly full of contradictions, Hong Kong attracts visitors to experience its intriguing character. The Pearl of the Orient offers something for everyone, including the most discerning of travelers.