"In the Big Leagues" Top 5 Page for this destination Hong Kong Island by mikey_e

Hong Kong Island Travel Guide: 280 reviews and 955 photos

Millenia in the making

I've often talked about Hong Kong with the idea that it was simply one large city with a number of outlying islands. In truth, Hong Kong Island is the heart of the metropolis, but there are numerous other areas of the Special Administrative Region that are highly developed and densely populated, rivaling the importance of Hong Kong Island. Although there were settlements on Hong Kong Island stretching back to pre-historic periods, the Island's rapid development as a metropolis began in earnest with the inclusion of the territory in the British Empire. Its strategic location as a trading hub between the East and the West allowed it to flourish as a commercial centre, with traders from all over the world arriving to do business. The Island bears witness to these two, interconnected aspects of its history. There are many buildings of staunchly British architecture, the remnants of Colonial rule, which dot the oldest part of the city. In addition, there are countless skyscrapers, the offices of some of the largest companies in the world, all of which are looking for a spot to do business in one of the busiest and fastest paced markets on the globe.

A culture of excellence

Hong Kong isn't all business and history, though. Indeed, for a city with so much concrete, there is a remarkable amount of parkland and leisure space. The city is notable for the large, lush gardens that are maintained in the centre of the commercial areas – thanks to the excessively humid climate – as well as the numerous cultural centres, museums, galleries and aviaries that are free and accessible to all of the city's residents and visitors. Hong Kong Island's cultural life is impressive, to say the least, and it offers something unusual and exotic for all tastes. From the stolidly expat bars and restaurants of Soho to the curio and antique shops along Hollywood, through the bustling shopping areas and lush gardens along the coast, right up to the magnificent views from the peak, it is hard to imagine ever being bored in this city.

Time to take in the big picture

The one complaint that I might offer about Hong Kong Island is the humidity. It is easily 10 degrees hotter her than in Kowloon! I have never sweated the way I did while I was on the Island, and I'm talking about trips out to dinner at 9PM. The pace of life can be a bit hectic, but there's nowhere better to experience city life than on Hong Kong Island, if that is what you like. Of course, shopping on HK Island is, as in Kowloon, an entirely different experience from anywhere. Stores run the gamut from purveyors of knock-off Gucci and Prada merchandise in the Causeway Bay area to the luxurious leather goods of Bottega Veneta and the world-renown bags of Louis Vuitton in Central and at Admiral Station. Food is also varied here, with every type and quality of cuisine on offer. In truth, however, the sense that you can indulge best when on HK Island is that of sight. A trip to the peak, with its breathtaking views, will confirm for any visitor the reason why so many people are drawn to this fascinating metropolis.

  • Last visit to Hong Kong Island: Sep 2010
  • Intro Written Sep 25, 2010
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