Once in a Lifetime: Hong Kong

By: Katie Manning

January 9, 2013

Shiny, glimmering, gritty and intense, to us, Hong Kong is the kind of city that’s everything to everyone. We love its incredible combination of Chinese and British cultures, and we think these top Hong Kong experiences will give you a taste for this Asian metropolis.

Big Buddha

Big-Buddha©Laszlo-Ilyes.jpgGiant Buddha, Hong Kong © Laszlo Ilyes

The Tian Tan Buddha is one of those things that always wows us – a large statue of Buddha Amoghasiddhi made up of 202 pieces of bronze artistically welded together. The imposing statue took 10 years to construct (it opened in 1993) and is the world’s tallest outdoor-seated Buddha. For an impressive way to get there, we adore the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car and usually opt for the glass-bottomed car, which gives an unparalleled view of the surrounding harbour and islands. Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, +852 2985 5248,, Daily 10am-5:30pm

The Peak

The Peak | Hong KongThe Peak Hong Kong The Peak

A visit to the Peak gives you a spectacular view of Victoria Harbour. Shopping and dining are the main highlights of this impressive tower structure erected at the top of Victoria Peak, which overlooks Hong Kong from the south. We’ve also tried exploring the nature trails and found it a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Of course, make sure to take a ride on the rickety Peak Tram funicular railway on the way up. Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Island, +852 2849 0668, Monday-Friday 10am-11pm, Saturday-Sunday 8am-11pm (Peak Tram, Daily 7am-midnight)

Stanley Village, Stanley, Hong Kong Island

Stanley-Village-©Robert_Lowe.jpgStanley Village, Hong Kong Island © Robert Lowe

We love the historic atmosphere at this sleepy former fishing village – its unique market is a great place to wander around and find unique souvenirs and clothes. We always grab a bite to eat at one of the charming alfresco restaurants and highly recommend checking out the gigantic Goddess of Mercy statue, as well as Murray House, Stanley’s beautiful three-storey colonial building, built in 1846.

The Duk Ling Experience

Duk Ling | Hong Kong

Duk Ling Experince © Duk Ling

Nothing typifies “˜Hong Kong’ in our opinion quite like the sight of a historic, red-sailed junk (a traditional Chinese sailing vessel) wafting across Hong Kong Harbour under gleaming skyscrapers. It’s possible to rent a private Duk Ling junk and sail through the islands of Lamma, Tap Mun or Lantau. A journey on a junk, many of which are around 150 years old, is a wonderful way to see the city. Hong Kong, +852 2573 5282,

Happy Valley Horseracing

Happy Valley | Hong Kong
Happy Valley Horseracing © Megan Eaves

Watching horseracing is one of the most popular and exciting activities to do in Hong Kong. Every Wednesday night, from September to July, you’ll see the racecourse packed with an enthusiastic, glamorous crowd cheering their hearts out and drinking beer. Gambling on the horses is encouraged because it’s believed to shower you with good fortune. Even if you aren’t a gambler, we feel the atmosphere of horses pounding the turf under the watchful eye of twinkling towers is an unmissable experience. Happy Valley, Hong Kong, Races happen from September to July, ordinary scheduled races start at 7:30pm.


Katie Manning

Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning

Categories: Our Places