A mixture of Cantonese origins and British imperialism, Hong Kong culture is not home to many artifacts or landmarks that can be considered all too old, especially when compared to some of the ancient dynastic remnants of the Chinese mainland. Then again, those who swarm Hong Kong are interested more in the reputation that lingers from the 20th century and that being continuously created by the skyscrapers and tourist industry of the present.
The good news about Hong Kong is that the majority of the attractions will be found in a moderately small area that encompasses central Hong Kong and the Kowloon waterfront, both of which are separated by Victoria Harbour. In central HK, the best place to spend your time is near the harbor, although Statue Square, which lends a touch of serenity amidst the mega-buildings and City Hall (the cultural hub of the city) are the two biggest landmarks, are actually a few blocks away. Cross the harbor via Star Ferry to Kowloon, where the promenade along the waterfront (Tsim Sha Tsui) is arguably the most packed cultural area. Not only are salient structures like the Hong Kong Museum of History and the unarguably ugly (but great inside) Hong Kong Cultural Centre based here, but it is one of the best photo backdrops in the world, particularly at night when the towering shrines to global capitalism put out a display of light (accompanied by music and fireworks) that will weaken the knees of any incoming alien hordes. Other enticing cultural phenomena include the Avenue of the Stars (Westerners may not recognize anyone but Bruce Lee), and the very cool Dialogue in the Dark, an exhibition of sensory excitement that removes sight from the equation.
For those willing to brave further corners of the region around Hong Kong, there are the floating restaurants and fishing junks of Aberdeen Harbour in southwestern Hong Kong, as well as attractions of cultural significance on the number of islands in the city's vicinity. Lantau Island has the world's largest outdoor Buddha and a themed village that attempts to bring travelers in touch with the island's native culture, while Tao O is a fishing village on stilts that makes a more genuine statement about culture on Lantau. Look into traveling to any of the nearby islands and you'll see a simpler way of life than the bustling, forward-looking Hong Kong will ever give you.
For more information on what you may find when visiting Hong Kong, take a look at our activity listings or start a conversation in our community.