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Hong Kong - the city of lights

Hong Kong Neon Hong Kong Neon Creative Common BY-SA

Where East meets West

Hong Kong is seen by many as a city full of skyscrapers and lights. That’s right, because it’s a metropolis that knows no sleep, resembling a giant anthill pulsating with endless energy of millions of lives. Although it belongs to the People’s Democratic Republic of China, it still looks like a separate country cuddled between the sea and the southern border of the Middle Kingdom. Crowded streets smell of dried fish and incense, and people flood through them just like another element of nature.

The diversity of views surprises tourists right after leaving the airport. Modern skyscrapers contrast with lush greenery covering the surrounding hills, and the noise of the streets – with the peace of nature. The city itself spreads on the mainland and some small and large islands, out of which two main are called Hong Kong and Lantau. As you can probably easily guess the first one is the business center full of futuristic buildings, expensive hotels and exclusive restaurants, while the second one attracts with majestic statues worshipping Buddha – including the characteristic statue of the prophet made of bronze. On Lantau we’ll also find beautiful temples subtly mingling into the greenery of the hills.

While in the city, it simply befits to visit Man Mo temple. It’s situated in the district of Shweung Wan on Hong Kong island and is the most famous, and certainly the oldest of the local temples. It was built in XVIII century, an till these days you can purge your mind inside it, breathing in the smoke from dozens of cone incenses suspended under the ceiling. On Diamond Hill you can see Chi Lin Nunnery, the biggest Buddhist nunnery in East Asia. It’s a real pearl of architecture and enclave of the past surrounded by the sea of skyscrapers.

Modernity, light show and noise

For many tourists Hong Kong is a place created to spending money. In this incredibly populated city we’ll find a number of places, where we can spend it. And we’re not talking about stealing (but you have to be careful, because as in every big city there’s a lot of pickpockets), but a whole bunch of stores, booths and stalls with trinkets and food, which look very interesting, but also suspicious. A good idea would be visiting Cat Street Market – one of the most popular markets in the city. Equally interesting is Goldfish Market, a cluster of stores specializing in selling aquarium fish.

For the residents of Hong Kong it’s probably the same, as Saint Mary’s Trumpet Call for Cracow inhabitants, however for tourists it’s a big attraction. We’re talking about the Symphony of Light – a light show which begins everyday at 8 PM. Exactly at this moment the sky above the roofs of high buildings lights up, and the skyscrapers blink with thousands of lights in the rhythm of music. Crowds of tourists take photos with their cameras, iPhones or standard cell phones, trying to catch the moment of lasers cutting the sky, or figures displayed on the facades of buildings.

What else will we encounter in Hong Kong – except of dozens of skyscrapers? Certainly the attention of technology enthusiasts deserve the world's longest escalator. Riding them can be called a tour version for lazybones, nonetheless it’s an interesting experience. During 20 minutes ride we can admire diners with provisional seats and a “chef” who prepares exotic food in front of the customers, as well as modern buildings and grab blocks of flats. We won’t also miss the billboards, which are absolutely everywhere.

One of the most beautiful panoramic views of the city stretches out not from the escalator, but from the Victoria Peak. To get there it’s best to use Peak Tram (a cable line) and ride the escalator. There’s an amazing view from the Peak, well known from many wallpapers. It allures especially in the evenings, when the buildings are properly highlighted.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, or tongue twisters

If you come to Hong Kong with kids, make sure you’ll visit the local Disneyland. There’re seven fairytales lands, where you can meet, among others, Snow White, Micky Mouse, and the “Toy Story” characters. Such trip will be very exciting for the enthusiasts of this kind of places, however those, who like the adults of "The Little Prince" in a child's drawing see the hat, not a snake devouring an elephant may feel a bit overwhelmed with colors and sounds.

Although it’s an amusement park based on themes of well known European fairy tales, you can easily feel the Asia there. It’s not only because of exotic trees growing around the castle Mystic Point, but also because of its architecture. Visitors can go back in time (Grizzly Gulch), find out what’s in the future (Tommorowland), move to the jungle (Adventureland), or make friends with fairies in Fantasyland. Here, the time ceases to be relevant. A standard 1-day ticket to Hong Kong Disneyland costs 450 HKD, which is about 44 Euros.

There’s also a place in which every girl can change into a little princess. It’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, located in Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. The styling, which includes, for example, a delicate make up, hairdo, and nails costs about 580 HKD. If our princess wants the full costume and accessories, the price rises to 1180 HKD.

The city that never sleeps

Regardless of whether you choose to visit Hong Kong because of its futuristic skyscrapers, or the peace of the temples, you won’t forget the time spend there. Here, the past meets the future, and this makes an impression on every tourists.

Translation: Karolina Strzałkowska

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