World ? Asia ? China ? Hong Kong

Hong Kong: In One Day

Seeing the top sights of Hong Kong in 1 day requires an early start, discipline, and a bit of stamina. This "greatest hits" tour begins with a stroll along the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront promenade and a dim sum breakfast, and includes two museum stops, shopping at a swanky Chinese emporium, a ride on the famous Star Ferry, a tram ride to Victoria Peak, and a stroll on Nathan Road to Kong's famous night market. Start: MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui.

1. Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade

If you only have 1 day to spend in Hong Kong, I feel for you. Start the day with an early-morning stroll along the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, from which you have a great view of the harbor with its boat traffic and Hong Kong Island. If it's Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, you might even want to join a free 1-hour lesson in tai chi, conducted at 8am on the promenade near the Avenue of Stars, where plaques list Hong Kong's most famous celebrities.

Take a Break

Located in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, next to the Star Ferry, Serenade Chinese Restaurant is my top choice for dim sum with a view of Victoria Harbour. It opens at 8am daily. Located on Salisbury Road (tel. 852/2722 0932).

2. Hong Kong Museum of Art

Beside the Cultural Centre is this impressive museum housing Hong Kong's best collection of Chinese antiquities and fine art, including bronzes, paintings, and ceramics, shown on a rotating basis. Its relatively small size makes it easy to see in an hour or less; I also like the Victoria Harbour views from its windows. Closed Tuesday, opens the rest of the week at 10am.

3. Chinese Arts and Crafts Ltd

For one-stop shopping, this two-story Chinese emporium in the Star House, across from the Star Ferry, is Hong Kong's best upscale chain for high-quality jade, jewelry, Chinese clothing, embroidered tablecloths, antiques, rosewood furniture, and more. If you're looking for a high-quality gift -- or something special for yourself -- this is a good place to look.

4. Star Ferry

No visit to Hong Kong would be complete without at least one trip across Victoria Harbour aboard one of the famous Star Ferries, which have been plying the waters between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon since 1898. The 5-minute trip (have your camera ready!) will deposit you at the Central Ferry Piers, where other ferries depart for the outlying islands.

Take the open-top shuttle bus no. 15C from the Star Ferry bus no. 23 to the Peak Tram Station.

5. Victoria Peak

Board the Peak Tram, which began operations in 1888, for its 8-minute climb up Victoria Peak, where you'll be rewarded with fantastic views from Hong Kong Island's tallest hill if the weather is clear. There's an observation platform atop Peak Tower, with 360-degree panoramic views. If you have the time and energy, walk the 1-hour circular stroll around the Peak.

Take a Break

The Peak Lookout, a former tram station across from Peak Tower, is a delightful setting for American, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and Southeast Asian fare, especially if the weather is nice and you can sit on its outdoor terrace surrounded by lush greenery. Other good choices abound in Peak Tower and Peak Galleria across the street. Located at 121 Peak Rd. tel. 852/2849 1000).

Take the Peak Tram back to Central and walk 10 minutes to the Central MTR station, where you should board the subway for Tsim Sha Tsui Station.

6. Nathan Road

Nicknamed the "Golden Mile of Shopping" for its endless string of shops selling electronics, jewelry, clothing, and a million other goods, this is Kowloon's most famous street.

7. Hong Kong Museum of History

For a quick course in Hong Kong's history, from its days as a small fishing village through its years as a British colony, this museum is a must-see. Closed Tuesday.

8. Temple Street Night Market

Hong Kong's most famous night market exudes a festive atmosphere with its outdoor stalls selling everything from Chinese souvenirs to clothing and accessories, fortunetellers, and street opera singers. Open daily from 4pm, but the real action doesn't get underway until 7pm. If you want to dine here, you'll find many open-air casual restaurants near Temple Street. Otherwise, in the basement of the Eaton Hotel, 380 Nathan Rd. (tel. 852/2782 1818), is a Cantonese spot, Yat Tung Heen Chinese Restaurant, good for seafood and regional dishes.

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