Hong Kong is a cluster of mountainous islands that include the main Hong Kong island, the bustling Kowloon peninsula and a portion of mainland China. Leafy, tropical mountains contrast with long stretches of busy port areas. The steep slopes anchor the skyscrapers that rise defiantly out of their surroundings. Ferries that cut through miles of water are an essential part of life for the Hong Kong resident in search of the city’s best seafood or a favourite beach.
Hong Kong is the town hall of Southeast Asia. For decades the city’s economy and its easy communion with western business have attracted workers from across the region: people from China, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, India, Nepal and Malaysia all flock to Hong Kong in search of employment or to take advantage of the city’s easy life. This has given rise to a vibrancy of food, culture and entertainment that is unique for the continent.
Most of Hong Kong’s food is imported, meaning prices are high. But the quality and variety of its dishes make the city a gourmand’s heaven. Come the afternoon and evening, the city’s streets light up and millions of Hong Kong dollars exchange hands, with restaurant after restaurant packed with diners gossiping over their favourite snacks. “I’ve worked in many places and Hong Kong is the only one where everyone takes a one-hour lunch break,” says one local financier.
A western hub in Asia
For businesspeople keen to take advantage of the growing spending power of emerging Asian consumers, Hong Kong offers an accessible port of entry. Its colonial history and diverse population mean English is spoken by a majority of people in the city — unlike in mainland China and other countries in the region.
Hong Kong’s well-developed infrastructure — free internet, good schools and sophisticated financial markets — make it an easy place to do business.
A ride on a junk is as compelling an experience as any in Hong Kong. The history of these vessels dates back roughly 1,000 years to China’s Song dynasty, but some of the modern versions have the amenities of a five-star hotel, and are popular for party excursions at sunset
Related article: A taste of Hong Kong
Photographs: Alamy; Dreamstime; Paul Souders/Alamy; Kjersti Joergensen/Alamy