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Hong Kong

Hong Kong: “Fragrant Harbour”, Hong Kong’s English name derived from two Chinese character, Heung and Gong, usually translated to Fragrant Harbour. Originally it was a small settlement neat Aberdeen, the main fishing villge of pre-colonial Hong Kong Island. Hong Kong consists of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories, and 235 outlying islands. Hong Kong Island is 80 sq. km.; urban areas concentrated along the northern shore, its center and southern coast being dominated by mountains.

Kowloon is 45 sq. km but much flatter and more urbanized. The New Territories contain 965 sq. km, are rural but are growing. Hong Kong is situated on the southeastern coast of China, facing the South China Sea. To its north is Guangdong, formerly Canton. The climate is sub-tropical as it is just south of the Tropic of Cancer and shares the same approximate latitude as Hawaii, Mexico City, and the Bahamas.

Today Hong Kong is reunified with China. At midnight on the 30th of June, 1997, the Union Jack was lowered for the final time and the red banner of the People's Republic of China hoisted. As the royal Britannia sailed away, the pyrotechnics of the Gala Harbour fireworks explode across the night sky and the reunification with the motherland China was complete.

But then again, Hong Kong always seems to be celebrating some event. Hong Kong embraces both the modern and western cultures along side of the traditional Chinese culture. The people are obsessed with symbols, chance and the world of numbers, Traditionalists will refer to “feng shui”, a concept concerned with balancing nature’s elements for a harmonious environment. Based on 12th century classical Chinese writings, feng shui can determine the directions to be taken in interior design, gardening, as well as architecture. Hong Kong residents also practice herbal medicine and acupuncture techniques; they are active practitioners of martial arts, including tai chi. For them Chinese New Years occurs with the sighting of the new moon and marks a time when all accounts are to be paid.

It is said you could sample a different breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day and still not be able to sample all of the varieties that Hong Kong has to offer. There are more than 20,000 restaurants offerings that run from food stalls to some of the most elegant restaurants in the world. Hong Kong also offers hotels which provide basic accommodations to five star elegance. If the concept of “shop till you drop” wasn’t invented in Hong Kong, it should probably have been. this is where shopping has reached an art form. The best known shopping mecca’s are Central, Stanley’s Market, and Tsim Sha Tsui.

Getting around Hong Kong is a delight. There are British double decker buses, a subway system which is clean, efficient, a multitude of taxi cabs, and of course the “Star Ferry” which is a very inexpensive way to get from Hong Kong to Kowloon as well as one of the most beautiful ferries crossing anywhere. If you have never been to Hong Kong, stay an extra day, you certainly won’t regret it.