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Top Destinations for 2017: Hong Kong

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Known as the 'Pearl of the Orient', Hong Kong is a vibrant fusion of East and West.

Shop for a bargain, admire the stunning skyline or relax by the ocean – you’ll find just about everything you desire in this incredible destination.

Where to go

Hong Kong doesn’t really have a capital, but the business district Central is about as close as it gets. During the British colonial period, Victoria was the de facto capital, but these days Central has eclipsed it. This area is where most of the skyscrapers can be found, including the angular Bank of China building. You can't miss it, it's the one that looks like a Mortal Kombat weapon.

Bank of China looking like a sword you have to unlock in Mortal Kombat

But there’s more to do in this district than look at the architecture. If you’re in the mood for a little more greenery, take your pick from Hong Kong Park and Hong Kong Zoo and Botanical Gardens. The former is a relaxing oasis of palm trees, water features and delicate ponds, with the latter a louder haven for several types of primates, birds and reptiles, but both are a welcome break from the hulking towers of glass and steel surrounding you.

Once the sun starts setting, head to Lan Kwai Fong. Located just a few minutes from Central MTR Station, it may be small but it’s a serious hotbed of restaurants, bars and clubs. This is the place to be after dark, when locals and tourists alike combine to create one big thumping street party.

If you need a cheap place to stay and you’re not finding much luck trawling through the bars and clubs, a 15-minute walk will take you to Sheun Wan, a nice little area full of hostels and budget-friendly hotels.

Another popular spot is Tsim Sha Tsui, found in Southern Kowloon. Here, you're directly opposite Central, meaning you can get all those incredible views from a new perspective. You can also visit Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong’s own version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee have both been honoured here, amongst many other celebrities in the Hong Kong film industry. Come back at night to see the amazing Symphony of Lights show, where dozens of lights and laser beams light up the sky.

What to do

Admire the world’s busiest skyline

With more skyscrapers than any other city on the planet (70 more than second-place New York), it would be a crime not to step back and just admire the skyline. One of the best places to do so is Victoria Peak, the highest point on Hong Kong Island. The panoramic views from up here are almost too good to be true. The best way to get there is the Peak Tram, which costs around £5. These Victorian trams carry over 10,000 people a day so book your tickets in advance.

Shop ‘til you drop

Hong Kong is well-known as a shopper’s paradise, and it’s a reputation that’s thoroughly deserved. For big brands, Harbour City should be first on your list. Spread out over two million square feet, you'll find over 450 shops, 50 restaurants, two cinemas and even a few hotels inside. But there are plenty of bargains to be had in the smaller, lesser-known stores. Not only can you find some of the more unique gifts here, you can also almost always haggle with the vendors over the price (try and aim for half of what was originally asked). The street markets on Temple Street and Tung Choi Street are good places to start.

See Big Buddha

Turn your attention away from the city and head for Lantau Island. On the western side of the beautiful island is where you'll find Tian Tan Buddha, the world's largest seated bronze Buddha statue. Nicknamed Big Buddha by the locals, the immense statue stands over 100ft in the air, weighs 250 tons and can be visited from 10am -5:30pm.

Take in a show

Forget Broadway, the spectacular Hong Kong Cultural Centre is where it’s at. Both the concert hall and the grand theatre have room for around 2,000 people, and you can sit down to a variety of performances, from operas to dance shows.

Cool down by the beach

Come summer, this corner of Asia gets extremely humid, so eventually you'll want to visit one of Hong Kong’s many beaches to cool down, such as Repulse Bay. Don’t let the name fool you – surrounded by award-winning restaurants ad designer shops, this is the perfect spot for tanning and ice creams.

Release your inner child

Fans of amusements parks are in luck – Hong Kong is home to Hong Kong Disneyland, where a one-day adult ticket costs about £50. If Disneyland doesn't take your fancy, head to Ocean Park, Hong Kong's less famous but surprisingly more successful theme park. Covering almost one million square metres, Ocean Park has 44 rides and costs just under £40 for a day ticket.

Eat like a local

A visit to Hong Kong isn't complete without trying the local dim sum. These tiny, traditional dishes could be described as China's answer to tapas. For a while, the dim sum served at Tim Ho Wan earned it a Michelin Star, especially unbelievable since just about everything on the menu cost less than a Big Mac. Even cheaper is the option of eating something you've never heard of from one of the many sizzling street food stalls that are dotted around this electric city.

Dig in.

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