Aqua Luna Harbor Cruise
Central Pier 9, Central
Sure, there's something inherently cheesy about a harbor cruise but this one offers incredible views of Hong Kong's skyline (cocktails in hand) and is surprisingly worth it. You can reserve online; the boat is also available for special event private charters.
Bank of China Tower
1 Garden Rd., Central
Though it’s still a place of serious business, this iconic, I.M. Pei-designed masterpiece—impossible to miss on the Hong Kong skyline thanks to its triangle-flecked sides—allows visitors to its observation deck. When it was constructed in 1990, it was the tallest building outside of the United States—and while it’s now dwarfed by three other Hong Kong skyscrapers, it still provides sweeping views of the city. You’ll need to show your passport at the security desk.
Man Mo Temple
126 Hollywood Rd., Central
Though it’s not gilded and grand on the outside, when you step inside this temple—built in 1847—and look up, you’re met by a seemingly endless span of incense coils, all suspended from the ceiling. Each is about two to three feet long, and combined with the smell, makes for a powerful experience. Photo: Stripped Pixel
Repulse Bay Beach
Despite its name, Repulse Bay is actually one of the most beautiful beaches in Hong Kong (which at least partially explains the explosion in residential real estate prices here). The development of the suburb is relatively controlled to the area directly surrounding the beach, so views of the lush hills—and the ocean—make it a great spot for escaping the hustle-and-bustle of the city center. A few tips for newcomers: The beach is most busy in the summers, when weather is warm enough for sunbathing, and the neighborhood is actually not accessible by MTR, so you'll want to book a taxi or take one of the city's express public buses (which only take about 15 minutes from Central).
Central Star Ferry Pier, Man Kwong St., Central
For less than 50 cents, grab a Star Ferry from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon, a service that’s been in operation since the 19th century. It’s essential to get out on the water (you’ll see myriad fisherman motoring home with their daily catch), as there’s nothing quite like the view of Victoria Harbour from Tsim Sha Tsui—particularly at night. Despite the insane lightshow that happens post-sunset, you can almost imagine what it would have been like back in the tea trading days.
The China Club
Old Bank of China Building, 1 Bank St., 13th Floor, Central
If you happen to know a member of this club, hit them up for an invite (a good hotel concierge should probably be able to get you in, too): It’s the closest thing to a contemporary Chinese art museum in Hong Kong, with an unparalleled collection.
The Peak Terminus, 33 Garden Rd., Central
Hong Kong ranges along the water for many reasons: For one, it’s been a bustling harbor for centuries; for two, the center of the island is dominated by a giant mountain, which you can ascend, by funicular tram, for unparalleled views. It’s absolutely worth it on a clear day—and actually doesn’t take much time.
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