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Hong Kong

If you’re planning a visit to Hong Kong – the home of Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon – get ready for an exhilarating adventure. Comprising 70% pristine countryside and mountains, and with an intense metropolitan epicenter featuring the world’s largest number of skyscrapers, Hong Kong’s communion of city and natural landscape has the kind of visual appeal that hooks you from the get-go. While best encapsulated by the sight of a shimmering Victoria Harbour skyline, the spread of nature’s fingers is never far from view even in urban pockets. Stroll around bustling neighbourhoods and you may stumble across century-old Chinese banyans growing out of stone walls, offering shade and shelter to passers-by.

From shopping to bar-hopping, Hong Kong’s urban pleasures are world-class and plentiful – not least for the famous breadth of cuisine, ranging from local classics like dim sum, wonton noodles and pineapple buns, to chefy Michelin-star offerings. But this is not all. Hong Kong also offers abundant opportunities for hiking, cycling, surfing, camping, and dragon boat racing, often not more than an hour away from busy downtown areas. Trips to beaches, mountains, and outlying islands are rendered seamless by efficient transport links, from an excellent metro system to buses, ferries, minibuses, and a 110-year-old tram service nicknamed ‘Ding Ding’. 

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One of the world’s culinary capitals, Hong Kong has bagged an extraordinary number of Michelin stars. It’s not only big-name Cantonese or French chefs thus honoured, but also noodle shops and barbecue joints. The city’s Chinese heritage, international character, and the locals’ passion for food make for some of the most memorable and varied eating experiences in the entire world. The dominant cuisine here is Cantonese and you’ll find tantalizing examples all over the city. Dim sum and seafood, in particular, are exceptional. Other regional Chinese and non-Chinese cooking styles are also well represented. Broadly speaking, Central and Sheung Wan offer authentic European and Asian fusion of the upmarket variety. Wan Chai is foodie heaven for mid-range dining while Causeway Bay is known for its Japanese establishments. In Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui lays claim to the peninsula’s most competent and versatile kitchen. While neighbourhoods further north are home to cheap but delectable local fare. New Territories is the home of hearty walled village cuisine. 

Hong Kong’s trendiest party zone is centred around Hollywood Road, which is connected to Central’s financial heart by the Mid-Levels Escalator, the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator system. Watering-holes here run the gamut from British-style pubs through wine and whisky bars to hipster cocktail lounges. Increasingly, fashionable bars and cafes are sprouting further west, in Sheung Wan and Kennedy Town. Wan Chai has an eclectic assortment of drinking venues that include Irish pubs, hidden dives, even hostess bars from a bygone era. Tsim Sha Tsui is where to go for a more local drinking experience.    

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A city where Asian and western cultures have engaged with each other for centuries, Hong Kong lays claim to a plethora of sights and landmarks reflecting those unique experiences. You will find here splendid temples and monasteries of a Buddhist or Taoist persuasion, enchanting old shops and sprightly markets. Traditional festivals, some Unesco-crowned, are very much alive, with an impressive number of young people taking part in celebrations. Yet Hong Kong is also home to some of the world’s most awe-inspiring skyscrapers and buildings in Neo-classical, Gothic, and a glut of other colonial styles dot the landscape. Some retain their original functions, others have been repurposed into art hubs, museums and hotels. Also remnants of colonial days are the Star Ferry, the tram service, and the Peak Tram – three modes of transport that are wonderfully scenic, full of history, and eco-friendly to boot. Hong Kong is a city that thrives on contrast and complexity. To help put things into context are dozens of museums on topics from pre-history, through art and teaware, to coastal defence and Hong Kong cinema. 

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Hong Kong presents a thousand ways to relax and invigorate. Luxury spas at five-star hotels offer an array of relaxation and beauty treatments in elegant environs. At the city’s massage parlours, you can opt for a ‘feel-good’ kneading session, or indulge in something intense like deep-tissue or acupuncture-point massage. Foot reflexology is very popular here. The regimen works under the theory that there are various reflex zones on the soles of our feet, each corresponding to an organ in the body, and that rhythmically pushing and prodding the zones correctly restores energy flow to the organ. Lesser known therapies like cupping, acupuncture and skin scraping are also available, should you wish to try.

Some say there’s nothing like nature to restore one’s inner balance or qi. Opportunities to do so abound in Hong Kong, from fine beaches and parks where you can read, swim, meditate or simply go for a nice long walk, to nature reserves where you can see indigenous flora and fauna on full display and migratory birds in action. If wellness for you means being engaged, you can hone your yoga practice at a studio, or take lessons in martial arts, for its mind-balancing benefits if nothing else, from a real master. 

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Mention ‘day trip’ in Hong Kong and Macau, the charming former Portuguese colony on the South China coast, springs to mind. The city is only an hour’s bob on the hydrofoil from Hong Kong. You can certainly spend days there, gorging on fried bacalhau and pastéis de nata, exploring Unesco-listed monuments, and checking out the art and music scene. You can also try your luck at the mega casinos that gave Macau the nickname ‘Vegas of the East’. That said, you can just as easily spend half a day or more in Hong Kong. Hiking here is world-class with trails cutting through subtropical woodlands, over windy ridges, and past villages and beaches. Heritage trails in the New Territories invite you to immerse yourself in the city’s early history; while outlying islands, reachable by ferry, await with idyllic settlements and glorious seafood. You can also explore the seaside communities in and around the historic Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter or those of charming Sai Kung. If you prefer to experience Hong Kong by sea, join a relaxing harbour cruise or a kayaking trip that combines sightseeing and sports. And of course, a tour of the mind-blowing Hong Kong Unesco Geopark would be the highlight of any trip.  

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Hong Kong’s reputation as a retail heaven needs little introduction. All international brands you can name and some you can’t, have outlets here, likely in a shopping mall. Upmarket malls are very sleek and carry top-tier brand-name boutiques and luxury stores. Occupying the other end of the spectrum are mini-malls dedicated to gadgetry, antiques, fashion, or some deliciously obscure collectible. They are supplemented by the street-level shops and boutiques of local retailers. Sheung Wan is your best bet for art and antique browsing, while the most interesting fashion can be found in Central, Sheung Wan, Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui. If shopping isn’t quite your thing, Hong Kong’s lively entertainment scene will definitely have something you like. The schedule of imported music, theatre and dance is stellar and features a multitude of styles and genres. The Hong Kong Arts Festival (HKAF), the Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF) and Clockenflap music festival are annual highlights. Adding to this is a weekly line-up of exciting shows by local artists and performers. You may also want to have a go at watching Cantonese opera – it is, after all, inscribed on the Unesco Intangible Heritage list. If you happen to be here on a Wednesday, don’t miss the exhilaration of night-time horse-racing at the Happy Valley Races.

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Passengers departing the UK, and aged 12 to 15, are exempted from the UK Air Passenger Duty (APD) Tax, effective 1 March 2016. Passengers booking online can request an APD Tax refund by contacting the local reservations office or Global Contact Centres.

Booking of more than six passengers is currently not available online. Please contact your local reservations office.

Booking of more than four passengers is currently not available online. Please contact your local reservations office.

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Please note that for online bookings, infants under two will not occupy their own seat. To book an infant-occupied seat, or if your infant turns two during your trip, please contact your local reservations office.