Hong Kong Island is the financial home of the region and the place where you will find banks, offices, restaurants, and all the other parts of big city living. If you like cities and want more of the same then central Hong Kong Island will suit you well, but if you want to explore a bit more then there are some areas that are less touched by shopping malls and bars.
Victoria Peak was cultivated by the British during the colonial period as a hill station to get out of the heat in the summer months. In the smoggy air of the lower areas of Hong Kong it can still be a great place to come to breathe a bit more easily. You can go up to Victoria Peak by road but by far the best way to get here is to take the Peak Tram (actually it is a funicular and not a tram) to the top. Once there you will find some nice little walking trails around the summit, as well as a few shopping malls, and if you go at night the views over Hong Kong are breathtaking.
Happy Valley Racecourse
There are no casinos in Hong Kong and gambling is mostly illegal although horseracing is allowed, and in the middle of Hong Kong you might be surprised to find a large racecourse. Set in Happy Valley, just along from the centre of Hong Kong Island, races are usually held on Wednesday nights. You can place a bet if you are feeling lucky, or just watch the spectacle whilst having a drink and snack from the viewing areas. Certainly the course surrounded by high rise buildings is a very unusual sight and this is one of Hong Kong’s most beloved events.
Hong Kong Island is most well known for its central skyscrapers, but the south of the island is home to the cute town of Stanley, and a bus ride over will take you to another land entirely. Stanley is a little waterfront town that has a market running along the water where you can pick up some souvenirs, and there are also bars and restaurants where you can watch the sunset with a drink or two. As well as shopping and dining Stanley also has some good museums like the unusual Hong Kong Correctional Services Museum. The temples are also worth checking out and you can easily stroll around the entire central area in a few hours.
Hiking may not be the first thing that comes to mind in Hong Kong, but it is actually one of the region’s favorite activities, and there are trails all over the place, including the Dragon’s Back, so named because the path looks like a dragon’s backbone. The trails starts in Shek O and finishes at picturesque Big Wave Bay and takes about 4 hours to hike with stunning views over some of Hong Kong’s finest beaches. When you arrive in Big Wave Bay you can either cool off by going for a swim or recover by enjoying the beach. If you need anything, there are also a few restaurants and cafes to buy something to eat or drink.
Hong Kong Island is world famous, but it is also a place that holds a few surprises if you are willing to look for them. Just outside of the main areas you will find beaches and waterfront dining and shopping, and even in the centre of the action there are still unexpected finds like a fully operational racecourse in between the apartment blocks.