48 Hours In: Hong Kong

In association with Emirates

Old and new sit side by side as incense wafts out of temples sandwiched between skyscrapers. Cathy Packe visits a Chinese cracker of a city.


Hong Kong is buzzing again. There are constant new developments in the city, from the opening of Disney on Lantau later in the year to the ongoing redevelopment of the waterfront area.


You can fly non-stop from Heathrow to Hong Kong with British Airways (0870 850 9850; www.ba.com); Cathay Pacific (020-8834 8888; www.cathaypacific.com); Qantas (0845 774 7767; www.qantas.com.au); and Virgin Atlantic (0870 380 2007; ( www.virgin-atlantic.com). Emirates (0870 243 2222; www.emirates.com) flies from Gatwick, Heathrow, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow via Dubai. The Airport Express rail link (00 852 2881 8888; www.hongkongairport.com) connects Chek Lap Kok airport to the city centre. Fares cost HK$100 (£6.75) to the terminus (1) on Hong Kong island.


Hong Kong consists of a peninsula jutting out into the South China Sea that is fringed by more than 260 islands. Kowloon occupies the southern end of the peninsula, and its tip, Tsim Sha Tsui, is popular with visitors for its museums, hotels and shops. Across the harbour it faces Hong Kong Island, hub of the former British colony. It is dominated by Victoria Peak; on the north shore is the business district, known as Central, and a couple of miles east, the livelier district of Causeway Bay.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board (00 852 2508 1234; www.discoverkongkong.com) has offices in the Causeway Bay MTR station (2), and at the Star Ferry Terminal in Kowloon (3), which both open 8am-8pm daily.


Getting around the island - and between it and the mainland - is easy, thanks to the city's efficient public transport system, consisting of an underground, the Mass Transit Railway or MTR; the trams; and the Star Ferry (00 852 2367 7065; www.starferry.com.hk), whose boats shuttle between the terminals in Central (4) and Kowloon (3) from 6.30am until 11.30pm every day. The nine-minute journey costs HK$2.20 (15p).


Long-established as one of Hong Kong's luxury hotels, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel (5) at 5 Connaught Road (00 852 2522 0111; www.mandarinoriental.com) has rooms from HK$2,000 (£74).


Contrast modern Hong Kong with the old, oriental city by exploring the district of Sheung Wa. Start in Millennium Plaza (8), a typical small urban park dominated by tall buildings and a video screen showing the latest share prices to passers-by. But off here is Wing Lok Street, lined with traditional noodle restaurants, ginseng shops and stores selling dried fish. Carry on past the Sheung Wan market (9) and along Bonham Strand West, taking a detour into Ko Shing Street, where the stores sell herbal medicines. Back in Hollywood Road modern life resumes. This is the oldest street in the city, and on the left-hand side, the park (10) is on the site of Possession Point, where the Royal Navy planted the British flag in 1841. Close by is Man Mo temple (11) (00 852 2803 2916), built in 1847 and dominated by the smell of incense.


Turn off Hollywood Road into Graham Street, and, just before the bottom, turn into Stanley Street (12) and order a meal at one of the small restaurants, known as dai pai dongs, set up along the street. A plate of rice and a stir-fry is around HK$25 (£1.70). Or grab a sandwich at Cafe Landmark (00 852 2526 4200) on level one of the Landmark Centre (13).


The Museum of Art (14) at 10 Salisbury Road (00 852 2721 0116; www.lcsd.gov.hk/hkma) is the largest museum in the city, and has one of the best collections of Chinese fine arts in the world. Open 10am-6pm daily except Thursday, admission HK$10 (70p) - and free on Wednesdays.


The latest shopping mall is Two ifc, the tallest building in the International Financial Centre (15) on the Central Waterfront. Check out the Lane Crawford department store which opens 10am-9pm daily. It has a small but cool martini bar (00 852 2118 7600) in the menswear department. Elsewhere look out for branches of G.O.D., selling home furnishings and clothing. The largest is at the Leighton Centre on Sharp Street East (00 852 2541 1118; www.god.com.hk) (16), which opens noon-10pm daily. For electronic goods, visit branches of either Fortress or Broadway. There is one of each in the Harbour City complex (00 852 2118 8666; www.harbourcity.com.hk) (17) in Kowloon.


Follow the crowds, the lights or the music to find your way to Lan Kwai Fong. Currently in vogue is Stormy Weather (18).


The hottest place in town is Isola (00 852 2383 8765; www.isolabarandgrill.com), in Two ifc (15), which has caught the vogue for alfresco dining. Across the water, with superb views, is Hutong (19) at 1 Peking Road (00 852 3428 8342; www.aqua.com.hk), which serves traditional Chinese dishes with a modern twist.


Take the green MTR line to Wong Tai Sin and visit the temple, which is next to the station and clearly signposted. It is dedicated to the god of gamblers, which might account for its popularity. Around the edge of the complex are several dozen booths containing fortune tellers who will read your palm for HK$300 (£20). More traditionally, there are services every morning and throughout Sunday at St John's Cathedral (20) at 4-8 Garden Road (00 852 2523 4157; www.stjohnscathedral.org.hk), the oldest Anglican church in the Far East.


If the weather is clear, take the Peak Tram (00 852 2522 0922; www.thepeak.com.hk) from its base station at 33 Garden Road (21) to the top of the Victoria Peak, 400m above sea level. The tram operates every 10-15 minutes from 7am-midnight daily, and costs HK$20 (£1.35) single, HK$30 (£2) return. If you fancy some exercise, there are some well-marked walking trails back down to the city.


The Peak Lookout restaurant at 121 Peak Road (00 852 2849 1000; www.peaklookout.com.hk) just opposite the Peak tram's upper station offers breakfast on the terrace at weekends and on bank holidays from 8.30-11.30am. Expect to pay HK$89 (£6) for an Asian noodle breakfast. But dim sum is to the Chinese what brunch is to the Americans, and one of the most traditional places to try these sweet and savoury dumplings is in Happy Valley. Dim Sum, at 63 Sing Woo Road (00 852 2834 8893), opens 11am-4.30pm and 6-10pm at weekends, from 11am on weekdays.


Hong Kong Park (00 852 2521 5041; www.lcsd.gov.hk) (22) is a small haven in the frenzied urban environment of Central district. With the striking Bank of China Tower looming above, this is a popular spot for wedding photographs to be taken.


Try out Hong Kong's most unusual form of transport, the Mid-Levels Escalator. Designed to take commuters between Central and the residential district of Mid-Levels, it starts opposite Central Market (18) and ends up on Conduit Road, by means of moving staircases and walkways. The whole journey takes 20 minutes, and the escalator operates downwards from 6am-10am and upwards from 10.15am-midnight every day.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreEXCLUSIVE The Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates one of his goals during the FIFA World Cup 2014 round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Antoine Griezmann has started two of France’s four games so far
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Arts and Entertainment
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Recruitment Consultant (Trainee), Finchley Central, London

    £17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...

    Day In a Page

    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
    Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

    Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

    They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
    The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

    20 best days out for the summer holidays

    From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
    Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

    All the wood’s a stage

    Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
    Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

    Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

    Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
    Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

    Self-preservation society

    Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
    Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

    Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

    We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor