Hong Kong Must-Dos

The Peak
1,800-foot-high (548 meters) Victoria Peak offers great views of Hong Kong's well-developed skyline. Climb beyond the point where the tram drops passengers off via Mount Austin Road to glimpse outlying islands, or stroll on other paths to enjoy views.

Horse Races
"This local passion takes place from September to June in the suburban town of Shatin on Saturdays and at the 55,000-capacity Happy Valley track on Hong Kong Island on Wednesday nights, the more exciting choice. The enthusiasm among the big-betting, chain-smoking punters is infectious."Top 10 Hong Kong (Eyewitness Travel). Reservations can be made for buffet meals and viewing from the upper boxes.

Central-Mid-levels Escalator
Longest outdoor covered escalator in the world, stretching from downtown Central business district up to the Mid-Levels residential area. "It kickstarted the gallery and dining area known as Soho."—John Batten, art gallery director. Begins at Queen's Rd., Central; numerous entry points along the way; art galleries and antique shops cluster around the Hollywood and Staunton Street exits.

Street Markets 
Chaotic places where much of Hong Kong shops for everything from daily provisions to designer knockoffs; often surrounded by good, cheap eats. Markets around Fa Yuen Street near Prince Edward MTR station, in Stanley and, at night, Temple Street in Kowloon, have many clothes and souvenir vendors. Others at Graham and Gage Streets and the one at Cross Street in Wan Chai are lively food markets. "The real street life of Hong Kong, where everything on sale can be bargained for."—Pete Spurrier, author of The Leisurely Hiker's Guide to Hong Kong.

Yum Cha
In Hong Kong, yum cha (or dim sum) is a social event and spectacle, not just a food dish. Watch the ritual unfold Sunday mornings at teahouses and restaurants across the city, as families settle in for long, boisterous gatherings.

Hong Kong Tramways
A great way to sightsee on Hong Kong Island; little has changed since 1904. Several lines traverse the western end of the island to the east, with one line going to Happy Valley.

The Great Outdoors
Outlying islands like Lamma and Cheung Chau, half an hour by ferry from Central, are great places to hike, swim, and sample seafood. Reach the town of Stanley on the south side of Hong Kong Island via a stunning coastline-hugging bus ride (number 6) from Exchange Square in Central. "It's like crossing into a different country and quite strange how suddenly you're in parkland."—Peter Moss, author of Hong Kong, What's In, What's Out.

Traditional Villages
Many area villages have been inhabited for centuries. Tai O, for example, is noted for its unusual stilt houses. Local operators there offer inexpensive cruises in glass-bottomed boats.

Star Ferry
At about 25 cents (U.S.) this is still the cheapest way to cross Hong Kong Harbor with the bonus of seeing dramatic walls of skyscrapers lining both sides. Time your crossing around 8 p.m., when the famous skyscrapers become part of a coordinated light show.