Sam's Exotic Travels: There's More Than Steel & Glass to Hong Kong Island - An Extended Look
The following map shows Hong Kong Island and the different communities and areas that make it up:
If you want to see street and/or area maps of any of the boxed areas "vectors", you can do so by visiting http://www.vectormap.com/eng/english.htm. It's a pretty impressive site.
- Central District - The area from Central to Causeway Bay, collectively known as the Central District, is the financial and economic hub of Hong Kong. This is the area that has it all - restaurants, shopping, nightclubs in addition to Hong Kong's Government buildings, city parks and foreign consulates - all located along the harbour across from Kowloon on the opposite shore.
- Causeway Bay - In addition to a picturesque harbour with a great view of the Convention Centre, Causeway Bay is the home of the shop-aholic. It is said that if you can buy it, Hong Kong will sell it, and if Causeway Bay doesn't sell it, it probably doesn't exist. Honk Kong has many upscale malls, but the best is Times Square, a high-rise named after New York's famous crossroads. Causeway Bay's picturesque bay contains the exclusive Royal Yacht Club. It's Noon Day Gun is still fired every day. A map follows:
- Central - If Hong Kong is the financial center of all of Asia, then Central is the equivalent of Wall Street to New York. It is the home to the leading banks and investment firms, but also houses Hong Kong's government (Government House), many of the foreign consulates (including the US) and upscale shopping and restaurants. If you take a walk to Government House, which used to be on the harbour, you can easily see how much land has been reclaimed in the last 30 years. A map follows:
- HK Convention & Exhibition Centre - The Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre is one of Hong Kong's defining landmarks, with its distinctive curved three-tier roof and vast expanse of glass walls creating a dramatic vista.
- HK Zoological & Botanical Gardens - The Zoological and Botanical Gardens sit just off Garden Rd., up the steep hills past Lan Kwai Fong and St. John's Cathedral. Established in 1860s, the gardens still retain formal Victorian elements such as a wrought-iron bandstand and an unusual greenhouse. The zoo houses 223 bird species. Except for The Peak, it is the highest public point above Central. To me the best reason for climbing up is the view of the skyscrapers below, which looks a lot more personal than from "The Peak" above.
- Lan Kwai Fong - Lan Kwai Fong is located up the hill from Central. An area once dedicated to hawkers before the Second World War, it underwent a renaissance in the mid 1980s and is now the most popular expatriate haunt in Hong Kong for drinking and dining. It is one of the few areas where English is the overwhelmingly predominant language, although many of the Chinese who are there are most likely to be bilingual. Walking its streets is reminiscent of walking in the hills of San Francisco.
- Victoria Peak - Victoria Peak is 554 meters high and the highest point of Hong Kong Island. From its summit, you have an unobstructed view of the myriad of skyscrapers, Victoria Harbour and Kowloon on the opposite shore. At night, the whole area becomes a dazzling spectacle of lights. A ride with the famous Peak Tram (a funicular railway) up to Victoria Peak is one of the "musts" of any visit to Hong Kong. From the Peak Tram Terminal at the Peak Tower you can take a (approximately 1 hour) walk to the top along Mount Austin Road to the lovely Victoria Peak Garden or choose longer hikes down the southern side of the Island.
- Sheung Wan - Sheung Wan is an area in Hong Kong, located in the north-west of Hong Kong Island (in between Central and Kennedy Town). It is part of the Central and Western District. The name can be variously interpreted as Upper District (occupying relatively high ground compared to Central and Wanchai), or Gateway District (perhaps a reference to the location where the British first entered and occupied Hong Kong).
Southern Hong Kong Island
- Aberdeen - Located on the south shore of Honk Kong Island , Aberdeen, also indigenously known as Heung Kong Tsai (Hong Kong Minor), is one of the oldest settlements in Hong Kong. It has been transformed from a small fishing village, with the high-rise building developments of the 1980ís and 1990ís into a modern and vibrant waterfront resort. Most of the sampans and boat people, who crowded the harbor through much of its existence, now live in the high-rise low-income housing, and most of the remaining sampans are used to ferry tourists to the floating restaurants anchored in the Aberdeen Harbour.
- Ocean Park - Ocean Park is one of the biggest entertainment complexes of its kind in Asia. Its reef aquarium, giant pandas, roller-coasters, Kid's World and Discovery of the Ancient World combine to offer a fun-filled day.
- Repulse Bay - Repulse Bay is one of the most accessible and picturesque beaches on the south side of Hong Kong Island. You can immediately identify it because of the square hole in the large apartment building on the mountain opposite the small, well-looked-after beach. The hole has, according to local gossip, been left for the following reason: the Chinese believe that a dragon (who are in Chinese mythology basically benevolent creatures, but easily irritated) lives in every mountain and that dragon needs an unrestricted view of the sea, or else.... The hole was left so that the dragon can still look out. Repulse Bay got its name when the British Navy "repulsed" the pirate ships that used to cruise its waters in the 19th century. Today, it is a charming place with a clean yellow sand beach (complete with showers and changing rooms), a lovely Mediterranean style pink club house and a nice view of the sea and the small islands in the bay.
- Stanley Bay - Stanley was formerly a fishing port, the main street of which is close to the Stanley Bay, and today features a number of restaurants and public houses. Some of them provide open air tea houses for customers to enjoy the picturesque scenery of the Stanley Bay, cultivating an atmosphere of European continent. There is an open air bazaar, which properly sells ready made clothes of different trade marks, souvenir and art ornaments. Along the Stanley Street, there is a temple called Tin Hau Temple (the temple of the Queen of Heaven and Protectress of Seafarers which was built in 1767. During the First World War period, villagers took asylum from war in this temple.
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