Hong Kong Colors Of The Far East

HONG KONG IS A CITY OF SUPERLATIVES: THE MOST COLORFUL STREET MARKETS, THE LONGEST BRIDGE, THE TALLEST ESCALATOR... ALL THESE AND MORE ARE HERE. AND THE SKYSCRAPERS SPROUTING UP AMONG THE LUSH PARKS MAKE FOR THE MOST BEAUTIFUL VIEWS BY NIGHT.

When I last went there, I thought of Yahya Kemal Beyatlı as I gazed on Hong Kong from the 59th floor of a hotel. ‘Yesterday I looked down at you from a hill, dear Istanbul,” says Beyatlı, and here too the buildings and the colors, and the contrasts, made a deep impression on me. A crowded, bustling metropolis on the one hand, and cheek by jowl with it a quest for peace and calm. HongKongers engage in group exercise in the morning, then race around like crazy during the day, and at evening the city becomes a sea of color. The spell culminates in the light and laser show that starts at 8 p.m. when dream and reality become virtually indistinguishable.

Dubbed the Pearl of the East, Hong Kong has changed hands several times in its history. Most recently, the British turned the city over to China in 1997. Today it is China’s hub of tourism and industry. Modern and traditional are inextricably intertwined here where futuristic business headquarters stand side by side with remnants from the past. Tea drinking is a ritual in this city. The world-famous teahouses of Hong Kong are modern-day reflections of an ancient culture. The best are in the city center. Besides aiding the digestion, the green tea that is drunk before and after meals in Hong Kong circulates through your body like a river of green. If your travels take you to this gourmet heaven of a city, be sure to try a good selection of Dim Sum, the main attraction of South China’s Cantonese cuisine. Enjoy too an everyday meal in one of the back street noodle shops frequented by the natives. And for the epitome of desserts, cap off the evening at one of the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants.

Named for the peninsula on which it lies, Kowloon Park has served the public since 1970 as one of the city’s most popular escapes from the madding crowd. With nature, sports, museums and children’s areas, it offers more than any child could want. The first thing most travelers to the city do is board the famous tram and head for Victoria Hill. Just as Istanbul has its Asian and European sides, Hong Kong too is bisected by a strait. If you are staying on the Kowloon side, you can cross on the Star Ferry. Starting from the city center, the tram ride up to the top of the hill takes several minutes. You can go up by bus as well, but a ride on the 120-year-old vintage tram is something else entirely. The whole city lies spread before your feet at the bottom of this approximately 550-meter-high hill. Don’t miss the resplendent night view. A counterpart of London’s world-renowned Madame Tussaud’s opened recently on Hong Kong’s Victoria Hill with wax likenesses of more than 100 famous figures like Bruce Lee, Picasso, David Beckham and Muhammed Ali. Hong Kong’s first theme park, Disneyland opened in 2005. Upwards of 30,000 people a day visit this park with its six separate themed areas. Another center of attraction is Ocean Park in the city’s southern district. Eight hundred seventy thousand square meters in area, it attracted some 7 million visitors in 2011. One of Hong Kong’s most pleasant venues, it also boasts a spectacular view. Don’t be fooled by the name. There’s a lot here besides aquatic species: pandas, polar bears, and rain forests, to mention just a few. Some of Hong Kong’s absolute musts are its street markets. Set up on the street of the same name at night, Temple Night Market is open until midnight with over 100 stalls and a staggering variety of goods. Singers add color to the atmosphere. But the biggest and most famous of the street bazaars is Ladies Market. To explore it from end to end, you’ll need to walk the one-kilometer segment along Tun Choi Street. Smaller than the others, Stanley Market is oriented towards shoppers looking to buy gifts for friends and loved ones. Dubbed an antiques market by some and a flea market by others, Cat Market is ideal for shoppers enamored of old things. Electronics shopping in the city is also some of the best in the world, and you can pick up the latest in technology on the cheap at the Golden Shopping Arcade on Fuk Wa Street. In short, between its markets, its streets and its cuisine, city of colors Hong Kong definitely has a lot to see.

In its mirrored skyscrapers, luxury shopping malls and cosmopolitan cuisine, Hong Kong resembles New York City. Boasting one of the world’s busiest deep-water ports, the city offers a unique synthesis of new and old, modern and traditional. But a wise serenity lies hidden beneath its western face. In this amazing contrast, it’s not difficult to come across a quiet restaurant tucked away among the city’s ultra modern buildings.

One of the cities with the highest number of antique luxury cars per capita in the world, Hong Kong is a city of surprises at every moment. Like Hong Kongers staging open air shows on streets decked with brightly lit signs, the city is pure paradise for travelers with a discriminating palate. The steamed dishes served with a variety of tasty sauces in the city’s restaurants are a long-standing Hong Kong tradition.

CITY OF FESTIVALS
It’s a good idea to bone up on the festival program before you go to Hong Kong, because if you play it right you can take in some very enjoyable and colorful scenes. The Chinese New Year is celebrated for several days at the beginning of February. In April there’s the Ching Ming Festival and at the start of June the Dragon Boat Festival. The Mid-Autumn Festival is in the second half of September, and in mid-October is the Chung Yeung Festival.

Hong Kong boasts some lovely bays and beaches. You can add a different twist to your holiday in these secluded corners in the heart of nature.

If the weather cooperates, you can even swim. And if your budget permits, a Chinese yacht cruise can be a fabulous experience.

Some of the city’s best hotels are located on the Kowloon coastline. And the view from the roof is worth a lifetime.

Hong Kong also boasts the world’s tallest escalator and moving sidewalk system. Built in 1993 and close to 800 meters in length, it is lined with cafes.

Soho is synonymous with entertainment in Hong Kong. Besides restaurants and cafes, there are art galleries, antiques dealers, elegant stores and shops selling everything you can think of.

TAYLAN KÜMELİ
(Dietician)

“Hong Kong cuisine includes some of the most refined flavors of the East. The backbone of Hong Kong cuisine, Chinese cooking divides into four main groups: Mongolian-influenced Peking, sweet and sour Shanghai, hot and spicy Szechuan, and the Cantonese cuisine of South China. In the Canton region especially, seafood reigns supreme.