Hong Kong is a metropolis of culture and complexities that continue to defy definitions. With an amalgamation of colonial relics, Buddhist temples, lofty skylines and enchanting wilderness, it remains one of Asia’s most passionate and vibrant cities. Today, Hong Kong is a playground for artists, designers, chefs and entrepreneurs hoping to create new and exciting grounds for art, culture and cuisine. As a city that never sleeps, Hong Kong is also the perfect place to explore the future through its supersonic modernity, and on the other end of the spectrum, its indelible history. Hong Kong’s captivating diversity offers visitors an experience like never before, manifested in a singular philosophy of a life well lived.
Trail Hong Kong’s backbone
Often mistaken as a dense and grey conglomeration of buildings and towering office blocks, one might be surprised to find that Hong Kong is in fact painted in strokes of emerald and azure, fringed by gold sandy beaches. In fact, woods, mountains, beaches and wetlands make up 73% of Hong Kong’s diverse landscape.
For a day, explore the road less travelled at Nam Sang Wai’s rustic terrains. The landscape boasts glistening fish ponds, surrounded by waving tall reeds and river red gum trees — a picturesque spot for picnickers, cyclists, birdwatchers and the occasional newly-weds capturing their momentous matrimony.
Closer to the city, the five-mile Dragon’s Back hike offers striking views of fishing villages and spotless beaches. This undulating 8.5km hike just a stone’s throw from bustling Central has been named the world’s best urban walk and is a popular spot to watch paragliders float and glide across the sky. At the end of the hike, head for Shek O village or Big Wave Bay for a dip in the blue sea and a rewarding seafood feast.
Turn down the pace
While known for its breakneck speed, Hong Kong also offers pockets of space that transport visitors to a different time and even a different pace.
Located in the city’s busy Central district, Foxglove is a nifty time machine disguised as a swanky bar. Entering the bar itself is an adventure of its own — one would have to walk through an inconspicuous boutique with narrow aisles and brass-edged wall cabinets that showcase silver-handled umbrellas. Then, visitors must touch a specific umbrella handle to grant them access to the bar. Once inside, they are greeted by a charming interior inspired by vintage aeroplanes and cars that hark back to the golden age of classic cocktails and jazz. Here is the perfect place to wind down after a long and bustling day.
For a dose of art and culture, head over to the Empty Gallery, located at the edge of Aberdeen Harbour in the south of Hong Kong. Deemed an unconventional art gallery by many critiques and visitors, the Empty Gallery favours darkness over light. In fact, the entire space is painted black. Here, there is more to it than meets the eye. In the quiet and intimate space, the darkness heightens one’s senses so that in experiencing art, one is more aware of what is being seen, heard and felt.
Enjoy quality cuisines
Hong Kong is a melting pot of delectable local delicacies, and high-end and curated cuisines are also getting popular in the city.
For something traditional and easy on the wallet, head for Mui Kee’s Cookfood Stall in the famous Tsim Sha Tsui district. Here, the fried spare ribs, stuffed cuttlefish and ice beer served in kitsch ceramic bowls are a must-have.
For the real-deal dai pai dong (traditionally open-air food stalls), head over to the local favourite, Sing Heung Yuen, located in downtown Central. Here, you can get your quick fix of Hong Kong’s staple snacks, milk tea and toast — a perfect way to start off your day.
For those who are in the mood to splurge and indulge, there is Mr and Mrs Fox. This 110-seat dining space is helmed by Executive Chef Joey Sergentakis, who runs a kitchen that serves up hearty dishes with a focus on premium meat and seafood. Dining 12,000ft above the ground, expect dishes like dry aged wagyu, lobster curry and seafood platters that are both visually striking and palatably phenomenal.
Focus on good design
When it comes to shopping, Hong Kong is notable for its electronics, luxury goods and luxury goods rip-offs.
Now, visitors can expect various artisanal and independent products that focus on good design. Two years ago, the city’s “Police Married Quarters” was re-established as PMQ, a hub for independent designers and creatives to venture into their own crafts and passions. Visitors can find just about anything and every other thing that may not at first come to mind.
For instance, Open Quote stocks a large selection of curated cards, CDs and books by local authors; Smith & Norbu specialises in bespoke eyewear made from buffalo and yak horns; and Good Design Store specialises in Japanese goods, ranging from sake cups to tenugui towels. And the list goes on ...
Live the fisherman’s life
Located in a remote bay on the verdant, hilly Lantau Island, Tai O is one of the last surviving fishing villages in Hong Kong and it is as far as you can get from the city centre for a pristine and placid atmosphere. In this idyllic village, the community lives in wooden homes on stilts built above the tidal flats. Fishermen start their day early, and stalls selling shrimp paste and dried seafood are aplenty. Here, one can appreciate Hong Kong’s past and its landscape well before its transformation into a global marketplace and commercial centre — Tai O remains a sleepy outpost.
When you travel, you amass memorable, meaningful and rewarding experiences that epitomise the very philosophy of living well. Discover with Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon what #lifewelltravelled means to fellow passengers and explore the ways in which they create their own exciting experiences at lifewelltravelled.cathaypacific.com.
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