Friday, August 17, 2012

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5 Top Landmarks of Hong Kong

Hong Kong view from Victoria Peak

Hong Kong is one of the most dynamic places to visit in the world. The island of Hong Kong and its outlying islands are part of China, but function more as a semi autonomous province with a far more capitalist driven identity and global reach. Formerly a British colony, Hong Kong is divided into Central to Mid Levels, the peninsula of Kowloon, the New Territories, Lantau Island and the Outlying Islands. Hong Kong has a subtropical climate, and combines a densely packed urban center with areas of significant natural beauty. Some of the best landmarks to see if visiting Hong Kong include:

1 - Victoria Peak

One of the highest peaks in Hong Kong, this mountain stands at 1,811 feet, and is on the Western half of the island. Known locally as Mount Austin, or simply as ‘the Peak,’ the mountain offers excellent views across the whole city and islands, and attracts about 7 million tourists a year. The peak can be reached via a tram, as well as bus stations and long walks. The top of the Peak includes a Galleria, a Mountain Lodge that was the former residence of Hong Kong’s Governor, as well as rare wildlife, nature walks, and dining with views over the island.

2 - Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower

The Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower is located in Kowloon, and was formerly the timekeeper for the Kowloon to Canton Railway. Standing 44 meters in red brick, the Clock Tower includes a lightning rod, and can be scaled by a wooden staircase. Visitors can look out over Victoria Harbor from the top, as well as over Salisbury Road. The original station was built between 1915 and 1916, but became defunct when the Kowloon line moved to Hung Hom Station. A visit to the Tower can also take in the nearby Hong Kong Space Museum and the Museum of Art.

3 - Nan Lian Garden

This Classical Garden is located on Diamond Hill in Kowloon, and covers 3.5 hectares. Designed in the Tang Dynasty style, the gardens were built by the on site Nunnery, and opened to the public in 2006. The gardens offer a view over southeast Kowloon, and the mountain range behind it, as well as Hammer Hill Road, Lung Cheung Road, and Hollywood Plaza. Served by an MTR station, Nan Lian features designs that imitate natural formations, and also incorporate postmodernist architecture. Other highlights include a vegetarian a la carte restaurant, and artist exhibitions, which currently include a landscape in porcelain collection from Zhao Zhongliang.

4 - Happy Valley Racecourse

One of Hong Kong’s main horse racing courses, alongside Sha Tin, Happy Valley Racecourse can be found on Wong Nai Chung Road and Morrison Hill Road. The race course was opened in 1845 for British residents, and was expanded in the 20th century after fires and rebuilding processes. The current race course has been in place since 1995, and hosts the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Wednesday night events. Fields at the race course are also used for football, rugby and hockey. Visitors can take in an archive and museum, as well as exhibitions on the history of horses in Hong Kong, shopping and restaurants.

5 - Bank of China Tower

An unmissable sight on Hong Kong’s skyline, the Bank of China Tower is not the highest point of the city, but is certainly close at 1,066.6 feet high. The tower is located on Garden Road in the Central and Western financial district, and was built between 1989 and 1992 from designs by architect I.M. Pei. The tower covers 6,700 square feet, and includes an observation deck for the public on the 43rd floor. Designed by Pei around structural expressionist ideas, the Bank rents 23 floors, and leases the others to separate companies.

Sebastian is working alongside car and travel insurance provider DirectAsia. If you're taking a business trip or holiday, always make sure you have the correct level of coverage before leaving!

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