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Hong Kong.
Temples to Skyscrapers.

With its eclectic mix of parks, ancient temples, bustling markets and soaring skyscrapers, Hong Kong offers a little something for everybody. It’s one of the most densely populated areas in the world and has some 6.8 million residents scattered about Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, Lantau Island, the New Territories and more than 200 other smaller islands.

Hong Kong has four main areas that most appeal to—and are easily accessible by—tourists. Hong Kong Island features Central, the main business district, and the impressive Times Square, an ultra-modern mega-mall with some 230 shops lavishly spread over 16 floors. When walking around these areas, be careful not to bump into others, as you’ll naturally want to scan buildings and eye the futuristic designs of high-rises and skyscrapers.

Kowloon, which means “nine dragons,” has become a major hotspot for tourists. Here you’ll find a vibrant collection of hotels, shops and restaurants, some of which feature Cantonese specialties like pan-friend lobster and shrimp boiled in Chinese rice wine. You won’t miss Lantau Island, as it’s Hong Kong’s largest island and, more importantly, the site of your first destination: the international airport. The newest home of Mickey Mouse—Hong Kong Disneyland—is only a short subway ride away. But you can’t really say that you’ve seen Lantau until you’ve wandered through at least one of the island’s tiny fishing villages. The scene will be unlike anything you’ll ever discover in Hong Kong’s urban areas: every day locals hawk fresh seafood and the homes that border the water sit atop stilts to stay well above rising tides.

Once full of farmland and rural villages, the New Territories has increasingly become littered with government housing projects to take care of Hong Kong’s fast-growing population. The Sham Chun River separates the New Territories from Mainland China, and even though some areas are hard to reach by the city’s efficient subway lines, the bus system is worth navigating for daytrips to heritage museums and quaint views of mountainous areas.

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