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Hong Kong in 48 hours

12:00 AEST Thu Jan 12 2012
If you're lucky enough to be in the buzzing metropolis of Hong Kong but unlucky enough to have just 48 hours there, don't worry, Dermott Brereton can show you how to get the most out of it.

Hong Kong, on the south coast of China, is made up mainly of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories. With around 7 million people living there, it's one of the world's most densely populated areas. It has a deep natural harbour and a stunning skyline.

Staying somewhere fabulous is a great start, and it doesn't get much better than the five-star Langham Place Hotel in Mong Kok. As with all Langham properties, it's luxury all the way. It rises 42 storeys above the epicentre of Kowloon and has spectacular views of the city and harbour.

Mong Kok is where old meets new and the hotel is a short walk from the old markets. It's part of a huge, modern shopping complex — the Langham Place Shopping Mall — so you can experience both worlds.

It's not for the squeamish, but you should visit Kowloon's wet market. It's an open-air butchery and live fish market, busy with housewives and chefs seeking the freshest of ingredients. You may prefer a visit to the flower market!

Hong Kong has markets for everything. Four minutes from The Langham is Fa Yuen Street, known as Sports Shoe Street. There are more than 50 shops selling sport shoes and clothing. You will also find bargain-priced trendy fashion and casual wear.

One end of the road is closed to traffic and stalls are set up selling a boggling range of exotic fruits and vegetables.

Sai Yeung Choi Street is crammed with shops selling electronic products, cosmetics and books.

Temple Street, also known as Men's Street, has the busiest night flea market in the territory. It's where tourists and locals go for cheap merchandise — much of it counterfeit — and food. There are fortune tellers, Cantonese opera singers and herbalists.

Dermott came across the Tung Choi Street goldfish market. Fish play an important role in the ancient Chinese feng shui as they are believed to bring good luck. The market sells everything from a simple goldfish market to rare, exotic tropical species costing thousands of dollars.

From the Kowloon side of the harbour, views across to Hong Kong Island are breathtaking. High-rise buildings house the beating economic heart of Hong Kong and there are some pretty spectacular apartments. The Island is home to Hong Kong's most popular tourist destination: The Peak.

The Star Ferry service across the harbour is efficient and cheap. The crossing takes seven minutes and 70,000 people make the journey every day.

The Peak is reached by a seven-minute, steep ride in the Peak Tram. One of the world's oldest funicular railways running since 1888, it rises 396m above sea level. There's plenty to do at the top. Visit the wok-shaped Peak Tower, see work of local artists, some very unusual souvenirs and eat! You camera is assured of a heavy work-out!

Hong Kong is Asia's culinary capital with around 11,000 restaurants, but Dermott was prepared to sacrifice a couple of his 48 hours to visit one in particular. Tim Ho Wan is the world's cheapest Michelin-star restaurant.

It's nothing flash from the outside — a traditional hole-in-the-wall Chinese eatery — and the service is on the gruff side, but people can't get enough of it. Their pork buns, prawn dumplings and dim sum are part of the reason people happily accept a Post-it note with a scrawled number, knowing they could be still waiting in three hours!

Try to make time to take a 30-minute metro train ride from Kowloon or The Island to the Ngong Ping 360 cable car. A 25-minute ride gives views of the South China Sea and rolling grassland slopes of North Lantau. From the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong, the serene and natural surrounds of Lantau provide an amazing contrast.

Lantau is home to the Tian Tan Buddha statue. There are 268 steps that need to be climbed to reach the bronze statue and at 34m tall and weighing 250 tonnes, it's most impressive.

Back in Kowloon, a cocktail in one of The Langham's bars is a good place to rest your feet and decide what to do next.


The magic of Hong Kong.

For further information

Langham Place Hotel
555 Shanghai Street
Hong Kong
Ph: +852 3552 3388
Fax: +852 3552 3322

Tim Ho Wan Restaurant
G/F 9-11, Fuk Wing Street
Sham Shui Po
Hong Kong

Hong Kong Tourism Board
Hong Kong House
Level 4, 80 Druitt Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
Ph: (02) 9283 3083 or 1300 886 610
Fax: (02) 9283 3383

Visa: Not required for stays of up to 90 days.

Electricity: 220V at 50Hz.

Time zone: GMT +8.

Currency: The Hong Kong dollar.

International dialling code: +852.

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