Heights and History in Hong Kong

There is no city in the world like Hong Kong. Perhaps that is because Hong Kong is not technically a city; rather, it is a special administrative region (SAR) of China. Now a dazzling tourist destination with soaring modern skyscrapers and a booming economy, the slick surface of the “Pearl of the Orient” belies a turbulent and fascinating history.


It’s no doubt that the city’s recent ascendance from territorial battleground to bastion of prosperity has drastically improved its allure as a travel destination. Today, Hong Kong is in high demand with our clients who are looking for culture, history, and the metropolis with the most skyscrapers in the world (1,223, to be exact).

For a recent client, we booked an incentive travel group at the Ritz-Carlton, the tallest hotel in the world. The Ritz occupies the 102nd – 118th floors of the International Commerce Centre. The hotel features sleek, modern rooms with breathtaking views of the cityscape, looming mountains, and the famous Victoria Harbor.

The beautiful vistas aren’t only available from the confines of the hotel, however. We took our clients on a tram ride up The Peak, the tallest mountain in Hong Kong. The trip allowed everyone to take in the natural wonder of Hong Kong before arriving at the summit, where even more majestic views of the city, land, and sea awaited. It’s hard to believe that the first Peak Tram was running in 1888.

Hong Kong is famous for its shopping. Particularly, faux-shopping. Visitors who are both brand- and bargain-conscious enjoy the best of both worlds here, where imitation Rolex watches, Luis Vuitton handbags, and more designer duplicates can be procured with ease.

The self-described “Must-Go Attraction” really is one. That’s Jumbo Kingdom, a combination of restaurant and water vessel. Actually, it’s two restaurants: the Jumbo Floating Restaurant and the connected Tai Pak Floating Restaurant. The two eateries-on-water cast off from Aberdeen Harbour every day except Sundays and holidays.

And no trip to Hong Kong is complete without a little good old-fashioned enlightenment. So we climbed the 240 steps to the Tian Tan Buddha in Lantau Island of Hong Kong. Also known as “The Big Buddha,” the statue is 112 ft tall and weighs 250 metric tons. Visiting the temple within this giant structure is a humbling experience and a relieving respite from the hustle and bustle of downtown Hong Kong.

To cap off the trip, we chartered a traditional junk ship from Queens Pier for a cocktail cruise. The ship featured three red sails that mimicked those of ancient junk ships. While the ship was actually powered by motor, it was a nice touch, and just another example of how history and modernity achieve harmony in the unique destination of Hong Kong.