Hong Kong Skyline
Hong Kong Skyline © Jim Trodel

Proudly proclaiming to be 'Asia's world city', Hong Kong is a unique territory where east meets west. Formerly a subject of British colonial sovereignty, Hong Kong is a 'Special Administrative Region' of China. Pockets of traditional culture and architecture punctuate a society heavily influenced by its former colonial rule, with different regions providing a surprising diversity of landscapes to explore.

Hong Kong Island is modern and wealthy, backed by Victoria Peak watching over the city. Site of the original British settlement, the island has developed rapidly to form the iconic skyline of the present day. Tourists flock here to experience endless shopping, exotic cuisines and a truly cosmopolitan culture. In contrast, the former fishing and farming community of Kowloon is gritty, chaotic and densely populated. It may not have the skyscrapers of Hong Kong Island, but it certainly offers the best vantage point, particularly from the modern high-rise bars of Tsim Sha Tsui.

The New Territories form a curious mix of farms, villages and towns. This region is all about experiencing life in rural Hong Kong. Sai Kung Peninsula in particular moves at a slower pace and is the gateway to the best countryside in Hong Kong.

Most of the 234 Outlying Islands, such as Lantau, are renowned for their beaches, with both locals and tourists frequenting the islands to relax away from the big city crowds. Formerly the domain of pirates, Cheung Chan now hosts windsurfers and sunbathers while Lamma is king for beaches, seafood and hiking.