Culture + Style

See Where Past and Present Collide in Hong Kong’s Neighborhoods

High rises tower over Victoria Harbor. (Photo: Gavin Hellier / Alamy)

A trip to Hong Kong feels very much like a visit to the future. The city’s iconic skyline is downright Space Age thanks to cutting-edge glass and steel architecture. But modernity is only one facet of this extraordinary territory.

The ancient world and a complex Colonial history also pervade here. It’s not uncommon to cross paths with Buddhist monks at a temple or get cultured at a Cantonese opera. Discover where to find the melting pot of past and future on this remarkable island.

A History Lover’s Playground

If you are feeling adventurous, visit the Island of Lantau and explore the largest Buddhist monastery in the Lantau Hills. Stop for a bite to eat after enjoying the picturesque views at the monastery; you’ll probably be hungry after climbing the 260 steps to the top.

Lamma Island
The Tian Tan Buddha sits above Lantau Island. (Photo: Sean Pavone / Alamy)

Another must-do is a visit to the Man Mo Temple. You’ll be met by great clouds of smoke wafting from incense paper that has been lit by worshipers. Wong Tai Sin is another temple where people come to pray for healing, help with their finances or to have their fortunes told. Clairvoyants line the entrance to the temple ready to read your face, palms or even draw up your astrological chart.

Accessing Aberdeen

The town of Aberdeen lies along Hong Kong’s south shore and, in a nod to Colonialism, was named after George Hamilton Gordon, the 4th Earl of Aberdeen. While traversing the area you can see floating villages and dine at some of the best seafood restaurants in Asia.

Board a ferry to Lamma Island or hop in a boat and take a tour of the scenic Aberdeen Harbour. You’ll find some of the Hong Kong’s best views from this vantage point and can marvel at the fishermen busy at work. If you do stop for a meal, grab a table at the Jumbo Kingdom floating restaurant, where you can dig into the house specials, drunken shrimp and sauteed crab with garlic and chili.

Snap Photos of Cruises and Cuisine

Hong Kong is an Instagram-lovers dream. You’ll find photo opps lurking throughout the island, but one of the best spots to snap photos is from the harbor. Embark on a night cruise from Victoria Island and capture the city’s twinkling neon lights dance upon the harbor water.

Temple Street Kowloon
Neon lights set Temple Street in Kowloon, Hong Kong aglow. (Photo: Juliet Ferguson / Alamy)

After the cruise returns, indulge in a delicious meal at the The Grand Buffet, a revolving restaurant on the 62nd floor of one of Hong Kong’s tallest buildings. When you’ve finished taking in the views at this one of a kind Hong Kong restaurant, you can stroll down Temple Street Night Market in Kowloon.

Dining on Dim Sum

dim sum
Stuff yourself silly on dim sum. (Photo: Steve Vidler / Alamy)

A Hong Kong holiday wouldn’t be complete without sampling dim sum, a Hong Kong delicacy. These are little bite-sized portions of food, like dumplings and rice noodle rolls. You’ll find dim sum served just about everywhere, but the best places to visit are Yung Kee, Tsui Hang Village, and Western Market.

Celebrate the Arts

Hong Kong’s love of festival culture is unparalleled. The Hong Kong Arts Festival runs for a month each winter and offers entertainment such as theater, dance, film, and live music.