Hong Kong has a complexity that defies definition. It’s the only place where I can be searching for colonial military relics near the Chinese border, lunching with a Buddhist at a Sikh temple, trying to decipher the aesthetics of Chinese Revival architecture, or splurging on a set of knives – all within five hours – followed by a night of Cantonese opera, karaoke or poetry, anywhere I choose. Hong Kong is so intense and so full of possibilities that I’m glad there’s the rule of law (and an awesome transport system) to stop it from whirling into chaos.
MACAU Macau is a city with two faces. On the one hand, the fortresses, churches and food of its former colonial master Portugal speak to a uniquely Mediterranean style on the China coast. On the other, Macau is the self-styled Las Vegas of the East. And while that comparison might sound overblown, it’s not. During the past few years charismatic-but-sleepy little Macau has experienced the sort of boom usually associated with cities like Shànghai. But rather than skyscrapers and office towers, the construction here is all about Vegas-style mega-casinos and hotels. The reason, of course, is that casinos are legal in Macau, while in China and nearby Hong Kong they’re not. It’s a big market… There is, however, much more to Macau than gambling. The peninsula and the islands of Coloane and Taipa constitute a colourful palette of pastels and ordered greenery. The Portuguese influence is everywhere: cobbled back streets, baroque churches, stone fortresses, Art Deco buildings and restful parks and gardens. It’s a unique fusion of East and West that has been recognised by Unesco, which in 2005 named 30 buildings and squares collectively as the Historic Centre of Macau World Heritage Site. There are also several world-class museums. Especially if you’ve been in China for a while you’ll also find there is a distinctly different feel to Macau. While about 95% of residents are Chinese, the remainder is mostly made up of Portuguese and Macanese (people with mixed Portuguese, Chinese and/or African blood). It’s this fusion of Mediterranean and Asian peoples, lifestyles, temperaments and food – oh, the food – that makes Macau so much fun.
HONG KONG ISLAND Hong Kong Island is the island that gives the territory Hong Kong its name. Although it is not the largest part of the territory, it is the place that many tourists regard as the main focus. The parade of buildings that make the Hong Kong skyline has been likened to a glittering bar chart that is made apparent by the presence of the waters of Victoria Harbour. To get the best views of Hong Kong, leave the island and head for the opposite Kowloon waterfront. The great majority of Hong Kong Island’s urban development is densely packed on reclaimed land along the northern shore. This is the place the British colonisers took as their own and so if you are looking for evidence of the territory’s colonial past, then this is a good place to start.
HONG KONG DISNEYLAND Hong Kong Disneyland is located on reclaimed land inPenny’s Bay, Lantau Island. It is the first theme park located inside the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. The park consists of six themed areas: Main Street, U.S.A., Fantasyland,Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Grizzly Gulch and Toy Story Land. The theme park’s cast members speak in Cantonese, English, and Mandarin. Guide maps are printed in traditional and simplified Chinese as well as English, French, and Japanese. To all who come to this happy place, welcome. Many years ago, Walt Disney introduced the world to enchanted realms of fantasy and adventure, yesterday and tomorrow, in a magical place called Disneyland. Today that spirit of imagination and discovery comes to life in Hong Kong. Hong Kong Disneyland is dedicated to the young and the young at heart – with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration, and an enduring symbol of the cooperation, friendship and understanding between the people of Hong Kong and the United States of America. -Michael D. Eisner and Donald Tsang, 12 September 2005
SHENZEN Shenzhen is located in the southern portion of the Guangdong Province, on the eastern shore of the Pearl River Delta. Neighboring the Pearl River Delta and Hong Kong, Shenzhen’s location gives it a geographical advantage for economic development. In 1980, the first Special Economic Zone of China was built in Shenzhen. From then on, the city become a highlight of China, one known for its rapid economic growth. More than thirty years ago, Shenzhen just was a small fishing village called Baoan County. In 1979, it was renamed Shenzhen City. When the Special Economic Zone was built, the city was divided into six zones, four of which are located in the Special Economic Zone. While Shenzhen City does not have as many historical attractions as other famous cities in China, it has created a number of excellent theme parks which entertain while teaching visitors about China and the world. Splendid China and China Folk Culture Villages introduce visitors to China’s long history and varied cultures, while Window of the World will take you to every corner of the world in one day. Additionally, if you want to make your stay even more luxurious, visit Happy Valley, the largest of the theme parks in the city, situated on a picturesque coastline. More attractions are: Dameisha & Xiaomeisha Scenic Area, Meridian View Center, Minsk World, Overseas Chinese Town East, Shenzhen Safari Park, Xiaomeisha Sea World and Xili Lake Resort. Come enjoy the coastal view, the theme parks, the city, and especially the people of Shenzhen.
KOWLOON Kowloon “nine dragons” in Cantonese is the peninsula to the north of Hong Kong Island. The mountains that overlook Kowloon account for eight of Kowloon’s nine dragons while, as the story goes, the ninth dragon refers to the emperor who counted them. Of the eight mountains that overlook the crowded city, the most famous is Lion Rock, which when seen from the right angle, really does deserve its name. Kowloon has a matching array of places to shop, eat and sleep. Tsim Sha Tsui pronounced “Tzeem Sah Jeui”, the tip of the peninsula, is Kowloon’s main tourist drag and has a mix of backpacker and high-end hotels. Further north, Mong Kok (??) has a huge choice of shops and markets in an area of less than a square kilometre.
LANTAU ISLAND Lantau Island (also Lantao Island; Chinese: ), based on the old local name ofLantau Peak (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: Làntòu; lit.Ragged Head), is the largest island in Hong Kong, located at the mouth of the Pearl River. Administratively, most of Lantau Island is part of the Islands District of Hong Kong. A small northeastern portion of the island is located in the Tsuen Wan District. Lantau Island is often referred to as “the lungs of Hong Kong”, because of its abundance of indigenous forest and relative scarcity of high-rise residential developments which characterise Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. The largest country park of Hong Kong, Lantau South Country Par