Hong Kong is the most urbanized country in the world, according to a recent report by The Telegraph. With Singapore falling in a close second. But it’s more than meets the eye. Did you know that Hong Kong is also city of mountains, forests, small fishing villages, lovely beaches and hundreds of islands? Celebrate the budding romance with your spouse in this concrete jungle (Manhattan of the Orient, they say) because it is a memorable and rewarding journey.
Nourished plenty by the meeting of East and West, there is actually a lot more to the allure of Hong Kong than the Peak Tram and Happy Valley races. Keep your eyes peeled for a colorful, stylish hodgepodge of nightclubs, restaurants, tea rooms, tailors’ shops or furniture artisans in each of the storeys of what looks like just another ordinary building in Kowloon. Aside from an awesome harbour, gleaming skyscrapers and breathtaking vistas (and all that cosmopolitanism), what many tourists also love is the countryside, which surprisingly makes up 70 per cent of the land mass. You can take a long walk with your partner over the hills, through forests, past reservoirs and deserted villages and come across a host of interesting wildlife. On the other hand, If you giddy love birds would like some alone time, it has also been remarked that you could traipse for hours through the national parks along the well-marked trails, and not see a soul. Finally, try some locally caught seafood in the culinary capital of the world, and return home flushed, with maybe some holiday weight and possibly more in love than you could have imagined.
Best time to visit Hong Kong: Although Hong Kong is a year-round holiday destination, the best time is between October and December, if you wish to avoid the stifling heat and humidity of the summer.
These are the things you need to absolutely do and mark off your checklist on your marvellous honeymoon in Hong Kong:
RELAXING SAMPAN RIDE ALONG THE HARBOUR IN ABERDEEN FISHING VILLAGE FOR A TASTE OF EXTREMES
The afloat and dreamy Aberdeen Fishing Village is not far from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong, but it sure feels like a whole different place and time. A Sampan ride through the Harbour is a fantastic way to see the very important fishing port of Aberdeen in action, among the floating villages. Aberdeen Fishing Village and the Harbour are a feast for photographers and you’ll see exactly why. Get a sense of the way that things once were in this business hub and how tradition has clearly been hard to shake in this island. That’s what makes Hong Kong so unique.
Go here and glide past the vibrantly coloured fishing boats and the floating village, for an incredible insight into a different way of life, and you can’t help but notice the contrasts with the famous floating Jumbo Kingdom in the centre of the harbour. When you start from the promenade, you’ll see rows upon rows of old-fashioned junks and sampans, some house boats where the fishermen and their families still live and are busy going about their daily routines – playing mahjong, cleaning and putting away fishing gear, etc. On either side of the water are towering buildings as far as the eye can see, and traffic zipping along in every direction.
Watch the New and Old literally sit alongside each other as the traditional fishing boats and sampans fall under the shade of ultramodern edifices and tall buildings. Another contrast and picture of harmony: Modern yachts moor along traditional fishing boats. The gentle breeze and lapping of water you hear beneath you hush the hubbub of life in Hong Kong, as you look on. The Aberdeen Promenade that runs along the coast is the beginning of the action. Taxis, public and tourist buses will drop you off here. The rides – 25-30 minutes long – zips you from the docks and around the harbour for a closer look at the floating village, amongst the ferries, trawlers, junks, fishing boats traversing the waters, and boat-dwellers cheerily enjoying a cup of tea. Welcome this little patch of tranquillity in this dynamic city every turn of the way.
LANTAU ISLAND FOR DISNEYLAND AND PO LIN MONASTERY. AND LOTS MORE
One of the most popular day trips from Hong Kong combines several of Hong Kong’s largest outlying island Lantau’s most popular attractions: The Big Buddha, the Ngong Ping Cable Car, the Po Lin Monastery and the Tai O Fishing Village. Take a cable car tour to visit the Tian Tan Big Buddha Statue at the PO Lin Monastery and take a boat ride to explore Tai O, a quaint fishing village where the houses are on stilts. Ngong Ping 360 is the ideal springboard from which to explore Lantau Island.
Head to the theme park of Disneyland with your partner to relive memories of your childhood and bond. But guess what? Other than the well-known Hong Kong Disneyland, Tai O fishing village and the Big Buddha, there is actually much more to do and see on Lantau Island. Take the hidden gem of Tung Chung Fort, for instance – a historic military fortress that has survived to the present day. Take spiritual respite, if you will, at Wisdom Path, a serene hillside tribute to the Heart Sutra prayer. The path traces a series of 38 wooden steles (upright monuments) containing verses from the centuries-old Heart Sutra — one of the world’s best-known prayers revered by Confucians, Buddhists and Taoists alike. These steles display the Chinese version of the prayer and are arranged in a ∞ pattern, which is the symbol for infinity.
Now that we know that Hong Kong isn’t all skyscrapers and concrete, it would be most worthwhile to head to the beaches for a different kind of romance. Less than an hour from the city center, you’ll come into some gorgeous beaches, reached easily by taxi, boat, or public transportation. Shek O Village is one of the most popular beaches, along with stretches of sand in Stanley and surrounding Repulse Bay. If you are looking for a more secluded experience, head to Lo So Shing Beach on the hiking trail from the Yung Shue Wan pier, or mosey into upsoiled Tai Long Wan on the eastern coast of Sai Kung Peninsula, one of the most beautiful places in all of Hong Kong. The sun-kissed Hong Kong beaches are major tourist attractions that should be covered on a honeymoon. Relax on the rocky outcrops of Turtle Beach, or surf the waves with your adventurous spouse at Kwun Yam Wan Beach.
In a city studded with Michelin star restaurants, sizzling woks and aromatic street food, it’s difficult to know where to begin your food journey. With influences from all over the world, Hong Kong food is a fusion of flavours and you will want to sample as many as possible on your glorious honeymoon. Get a beef brisket at Kau Kee Restaurant – noted as the best by all the top chefs! You could also go on a private food tour in the culinary capital of the world, to know where all the cool kids eat and to customize your options based on what you may be in the mood for.
Something quirky and absurd like cheap Michelin starred food? You got it! Tim Ho Wan – cheapest Michelin starred joint in the world – rewards visitors for braving long lines to try their legendary dim sum, for just over 6 USD. The food scene is very dynamic, with new restaurants opening all the time. The 65,000 known establishments stand witness to how Hong Kong Chinese are food obsessed! What also makes Hong Kong special is how it manifests a fusion of culinary cultures.
Did you know that Chinese chefs work closely with top chefs from places like France and Italy (when they come to Hong Kong to run a pop-up restaurant) and cleverly meld together the new and different flavours and techniques to present to you adapted, unique traditional Chinese dishes in their own restaurants. The best food and some of the finest meals of the world are surprisingly affordable in Hong Kong. Moreover, 58 of the city’s restaurants have been awarded Michelin stars and recommendations – and even those are cheaper than the restaurants of similar quality at other metropolitan towns. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to eat well in Hong Kong; Hong Kongers don’t care for pretentious dining. Walk the trail of no-frills noodle and dumpling restaurants on Wellington Street and have your mind blown by cluster of cheap, delicious dining options; hobnob and share a seat (elbow-to-elbow, a lot of the time) with local foodies. For a taste of molecular gastronomy, head to Bo Innovation. Grab a seat at one of the long communal tables at Tsim Chai Kee and marvel at the prettiness of plump homemade minced fish balls and hand-pulled noodles. Catch a celebrity at Luk Yu Tea House on Stanley Street, a legendary institution known for its culinary authenticity that is low key at the same time.
There are hundreds of private and public parkland beaches you can hike to for alone time.
The Dragons Back Trail, particularly, has been named the best urban hike in Asia by TIME magazine and has opened up the worlds eyes to the wonderful trekking opportunities that beckon in Hong Kong. Easily accessible from the city and with beautiful coastal scenery, the Dragon’s Back is a popular escape with a trail that provides stunning views of Shek O, Tai Long Wan, Stanley, Tai Tam, and the South China Sea.
In commercialized Hong Kong, Sai Kung Country Park is superb for a romantic stroll seeing as how this park remains a bastion of natural beauty. This unspoiled seaside area features hiking trails dotted with informative visitor centers. Locals say eating seafood in this town is a must. Alternatively, hike out to the easterly beach of Tai Long Wan for solitude. Some of really good hiking trails of Hong Kong can also be found in Lantau. Two of them with majestic views are: Tung Chung to Tai O (coastal route), Ngong Ping to Lantau Peak (uphill route). The Tung O Ancient Trail was once a key route for villagers to commute between Tung Chung and Tai O. This route (you’re walking for 4 hours) shows you different views of Hong Kong Airport and unbeatable sea views. Lantau Peak is the second highest peak in Hong Kong, and is also a popular place to watch the sunrise and take some great photos. Many sunrise watchers stay overnight in Ngong Ping to catch the beautiful scene. The entrance to this section of Lantau Trail is right next to the Wisdom Path.
FLY & DINE ON A HELI-TOUR OF HONG KONG
Seize the opportunity to fly and get an exhilarating, sky high view of Hong Kong from 80-year old Peninsula Hotel’s helicopter. The pilot commentary talking you through the breathtaking sights of the city helps create beautiful memories that you can treasure as newlyweds. You can book a fly and dine or fly and relax package with the Peninsula, incorporating lunch or dinner, or even a massage and afternoon tea. The hotel houses the China Clipper — a swanky lounge from where guests are escorted to a rooftop helipad and into choppers for jaw-dropping aerial tours of Hong Kong.