- Wander around the city streets and check out the mix of west and Asian cultures. It's quite the dichotomy.
- Take a boat ride on the harbor to check out the breathtaking views of the city with mountains in the background.
- Take a tram to the top of the mountain to get an equally spectacular view.
- If you enjoy pure chaos in the form of a city, then head to Kowloon, the peninsula to the north of Hong Kong Island. It's one of the most densely populated areas in the world and has a multitude of places to sleep, eat, and shop.
- Head to the New Territories just north of Kowloon. You can actually get away from the crowds and into a little bit of nature.
- Go to Lantau and check out some great beaches (along with Disneyland).
- Pick up an Octopus Card for all your transport needs (they can also be used in many convenience stores, vending machines, and even chain restaurants (though eating at a McDonald's while in Hong Kong should be considered a crime.
- If you're a foodie, there's no shortage of culinary tours to take.
- For an interesting cultural experience, check out horse racing from September to June. You can go to either Shatin in the New Territories or Happy Valley.
Why you should add to your RTW travel list
- The gateway to China, but explore HK good first
- Floating restaurant, Big Buddha, dragon boat races – and that's after the good stuff
- Wander bustling streets, check the latest gadgets and eat noodles at a street vendor
- Make friends with 6 million locals
- See how the world's most free-wheeling economy deals with being communist?
- Take your pick: Cantonese food, moonlight horse races, ancient templates, relentless nightlife...
- Make a pit stop in Hong Kong to recharge your traveling batteries. It makes for a great stopover on RTW flights.
Why you should not add to your RTW travel list
- Hong Kong can be completely overwhelming if you're not into big cities.
- While Hong Kong can be done on a budget, spending can also spiral out of control pretty quickly.
Hong Kong is a contradiction. On the on hand it is an economic dynamo that fully embraces capitalism and wealth. On the other hand it is a political state of a communist country. It has tall glass towers that would be the envy of any city. It also has the same squalid apartment buildings found the world over. It is both western and Asian, modern and ancient, quiet and busy, urban and green.
And most of all it is fascinating to visit.
The first thing anyone notices when visiting Hong Kong is the city's setting. Situated on the "fragrant harbor" that separates the island of Hong Kong from Kowloon Peninsula, the city's buildings rise to great heights that are only dwarfed by the mountains behind them. It is a breathtaking scene to look at the city from a boat on the harbor or to ride to the top of the mountain on a tram.
While Hong Kong island is ritzy and clean, it is the Kowloon Peninsula where you will find things that will make you look twice. Its long open air markets feature streets where only birds or toilets are sold. Its noodle shops hum with business and smell of MSG. Its crowded sidewalks come to life at night when the intense heat breaks. You will be asked more than once if you want to buy a shirt or have a suit made for you.
For all its wonders, Hong Kong does have some disappointments. The weather can be outright brutal with a humidity that will leave you spent. If the cheaper end accommodations are full you will likely have to spend a bundle to sleep in a hotel. Your dining options are generally either cheap fast food or really expensive gourmet meals.
Even with these challenges, everyone should experience Hong Kong at least once in a lifetime.