Hong Kong means ‘fragrant harbour.’ It is one of the two special administrative regions in China (the other is Macau). I have travelled frequently to Hong Kong in the last five years, and over this short period itself things have changed for the better. The road infrastructure has improved with a lot of flyovers and underpasses. Its airport rail express is fantastic and takes you into the heart of the city within minutes.
I usually stay at Conrad Hong Kong, which soars above Pacific Place, an upscale retail and entertainment mall. You can easily access the Mass Transit Railway or the Star Ferry.
Another hotel I frequent is Mandarin Oriental, which overlooks the Victoria Harbour and is located in the heart of Central, the business district.
One of my favourite restaurants is Kung Tak Lam on Tsim Sha Tsui street, which I especially recommend to the vegetarians. Even though I am a non-vegetarian, I enjoy the food there. Actually the food looks like non-vegetarian but isn’t! I also like to go to the coffee shop at Conrad, for continental cuisine.
Close to Kung Tam Lam and the Star Ferry terminal is the Harbour City mall. I particularly recommend the book shop there. It also has good electronic outlets and I usually buy watches and perfume for my family from here. Hong Kong has various street markets and theme-based shopping streets. Among the street markets, the ladies’ market on Tung Choi street is popular for bags and accessories for women. The theme-based shopping streets provide more variety. There are specific markets for birds, fish and flowers!
I would also recommend the boat trip to Macau, especially in the evening, when you can take in the excellent skyline. It is a good way to relax after a hectic day. Tips
Though the twin city of Kowloon is known as a shopping paradise, especially for electronic items, I would avoid the place. The quality of goods is not reliable and there is a high chance of you getting conned. It is also notorious for Mong Kok, a crowded area known for sleaze and gambling dens.
One of the best ways to get around Hong Kong is by using the Octopus payment card. It can be used for any public transport except taxis and even in restaurants. It has a three-year validity, which means you can use it the next time you visit Hong Kong. (As told to Prince Mathews Thomas)
(This article is excerpted from the latest Forbes India 18 June, 2010 issue which is now available at news stands and book stores. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com)