Hong Kong Travel Guide -> Sightseeing -> Central District & Victoria Peak

The Central District on Hong Kong Island is  the financial and economic hub of Hong Kong. First impressions are of an organic mass of glass and concrete, a veritable forest of tall skyscrapers with the green hills behind them. Most spectacular among the many extravagant buildings  is the 180 m high tower of the Hong Kong Bank, designed by Norman Forster. If your hotel is in Kowloon you should take the Star Ferry to cross the harbour - the Star Ferries are  famous symbol of Hong Kong. The green-and-white boats have been in use since the 1880s - and the fare has not changed since that time! (It is still HK$ 1,70 for the upper deck and HK$ 1,40 for the lower deck). The trip with the ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island takes about 7 minutes and should not be missed, because you get a very good view of the harbour as well as an impression of daily Hong Kong life.
 
Cental District, Viewed from Kowloon
 The Skyline of Central District

The ferry pier in Central District is a good starting point for sightseeing tours  on  Hong Kong Island. A pedestrian underpass leads from the pier to Statue Square where you have a good view of the many impressive business buildings that make up the skyline of Hong Kong. To the left of Statue Square you see the Mandarin Oriental hotel; one of the best and most luxurious hotels in the world (though you would never guess it from its rather dull exterior). The enormous glass Tower of the Hong Kong Bank is also near Statue square. You can walk inside and have a look at the interior.  After you have left the  Hong Kong Bank you should walk to the left until you reach Ice House Street where you find the Landmark Centre, a large shopping centre full of exclusive fashion boutiques (despite the grand names, however, many of the clothes offered are of rather poor quality - it is a good idea  to check the seams and the buttons before you buy anything!).
 

Fruit Market in one of the small streets in Central District
 Little Fruit Market in a Small Street in Central District

After you have left the Landmark Centre, you can go on walking along Queen`s Road Central. Queen`s Road is the Central District`s main street, since the 1840s. (At that time, the street was directly on the waterfront, but now it is several blocks back from the harbour, due to successful land reclamation projects.) On both sides of Queen`s Road are networks of smaller streets where you find elegant fashion boutiques as well as small stalls that sell inexpensive  women's clothes, including silk wear, jewellery, and accessories.

Traditional Chinese businesses become more and more dominant as you follow Queen`s Road West. At the corner to Queen Victoria Street is the Chinese Central Market.  It is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fruit and vegetables are sold on the second floor; a visit to the floors below cannot be recommended for tender souls, as  fish, poultry and other animals are butchered there. Big baskets with live ducks and chicken are carried around and sides of beef and pork are hung up on the walls. When you have after leaving the Central Market  reached Queen`s Road West (it starts after Morrison Street) you can take a steep, but short walk up the hill to Hollywood Road. There are a lot of shops that sell antiques, and also a  Man Mo Temple, one of the oldest and most interesting temples in Hong Kong.  It has a beautiful marble altar with a statue of Man Cheong, the god of literature to the right, and a statue of Pao Kung, the god of justice, to the left.

A ride with the famous Peak Tram (a funicular railway)  up to Victoria Peak is one of the "musts" of any visit to Hong Kong. The trains leave at regular  intervals at Garden Road (on Sundays and holidays there are usually long queues) and arrive about eight  minutes later at the top of the hill. Buses drive from the Star Ferry pier to Garden Road, or you can take a taxi. Victoria Peak is 554 meters high and the highest point of Hong Kong Island.   From the Peak Tram Terminal at the Peak Tower you can take a (approximately 1 hour) walk to the top along Mount Austin Road to the lovely Victoria Peak Garden, where you can sit among flowers and butterflies while enjoying the view. Too lazy? The Peak Tower and the Peak Galleria at the tram station have large viewing terraces that are easily accessible.
 

View from Victoria Peak
 View from Victoria Peak
 

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Last Updated 10.02.2008