Friends who’d travelled with me know I’m a super kiasu (‘afraid to lose’) traveller who’s also a control freak. I will always try to cover as many places as possible and plan my itinerary with a time schedule stating what time for morning call, activity allocation, and what time to sleep. Is this a holiday or some tourist bootcamp they ask me. My answer is : “Let’s work hard at relaxing!”
Although I’ve been to Hong Kong previously, I hadn’t really researched nor find out more about the place.
To me, Hong Kong is always about shopping, Ocean Park, Lantau Island, and exercising dietary indiscretion. So I was really surprised to find so many things to see and do while preparing for this upcoming trip.
The thoughtful folks at the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) assembled a very comprehensive info kit for us so it was real easy to find places of interest, what to expect, and how to get there.
I believe these brochures, flyers and maps are available at the Hong Kong airport so do pick up a copy. They are REALLY very helpful. I also supplemented my research with HKTB’s website at discoverhongkong.com.
My favourite is the blue coloured Hong Kong – A Traveller’s Guide. It acts like a quick tourist reference bible and very handy.
From the booklet, I got a quick history lesson about how Hong Kong became a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China under the ‘one country, two systems’ principle. Hence, the proper name to refer to the island destination is actually Hong Kong SAR.
• Pre-1842 – Hong Kong was a ‘barren rock’ with a collection of fishing villages
• 1842 – Britain claimed Hong Kong Island after the First Opium War with China under the Treaty of Nanking
• 1860 – Britain claimed Kowloon Peninsula and Stonecutters Island
• 1898 – Britain granted a 99-year lease of the New Territories and 235 outlying islands
• 1997 – Hong Kong was returned to China
So with 150 years of colonial influence embroidered into China’s 5,000 years of rich traditions, the resulting tapestry is a fabric I’m tailoring to fit my vacation whims and fancy! I’ve formed a rough idea of the places I want to visit and will be planning a full itinerary soon… with what time to wake up, play, eat, and sleep!
Meanwhile, here’s a map I find really useful as it clearly puts into geographical perspective the places to go in Hong Kong, Kowloon, Lantau Island and New Territories. I’m visiting some of these places next week. Don’t be jealous…