This city of 7.3 million on China’s southeastern coast is one of the world’s most dazzling and cosmopolitan. Hong Kong's skyscrapers are stacked like dominos on its steep slopes, and there’s nothing like sailing in and out of Victoria Harbour at dusk to enjoy the view. Under British rule until 1997 and long a banking hub, Hong Kong is celebrated both for its five-star hotels and its great dining. The city is also as one of the region's most popular cruise ports with many itineraries in Southeast and East Asia starting or ending here.
What We Love
Riding the Star Ferry: Many times a day these classic green-and-white ferries make the short trip across choppy Victoria Harbour between Hong Kong Island and the cruise ship pier in Kowloon, on the mainland side. Most date back to the 1950s and 1960s and are wonderfully retro.
Shopping: There are many ways to spend your Hong Kong dollars, from traditional silk robes or custom suits in the shops and tailors of the Tsim Sha Tsui neighborhood, to designer labels, gold jewelry, and high-tech electronics in luxury malls.
Best Known For
Mid-Levels Escalators: How many places in the world have outdoor escalators? This city does and they climb up steep Hong Kong Island, covering a distance of 2,600 feet and an elevation of nearly 450 feet.
Victoria Peak: Should you luck out with clear weather, the views from the top of Victoria Peak can go on for miles, and you’ll have a terrific look at Hong Kong’s famous skyline and harbor. To get there, use the Mid-Levels escalators and the old funicular railway that gets you to the very top, where there's a walking path and several cafés.
Hong Kong Disneyland: If you’re traveling with young kids, they'll be thrilled to visit with Mickey and friends; the park is small enough to see in a day and it’s only about a 30-minute taxi ride from downtown.
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Who It's Best For
Foodie Couples: With its great restaurants and nightlife, Hong Kong is a vibrant, adult-friendly playground.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
The Pollution Can Be Bad: There’s a good chance you'll encounter heavy smog floating over from factories on the mainland.
Heidi Sarna is a Singapore-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Condé Nast Traveler and USA Today.