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Hong Kong Travel Guide

Places to Visit

Hong Kong Island

Kowloon

Victoria Peak


Tour Packages

Macau Travel Guide

Places to Visit

A-Ma Temple

Guia Fort

Kun Iam Temple

Leal Senado

Lou Lim Ioc Gardens

Ruinas de São Paulo

Alessandro Valignano

Sun Yatsen Memorial
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Shopping in Maccau, Hongkong

Visit Hong Kong - Hong Kong has the big city specials like smog, odour, 14 million elbows and an insane love of clatter. But it's also efficient, hushed and peaceful: the transport network is excellent, the shopping centres are sublime, and the temples and quiet corners of parks are contemplative oases.

Visit Hongkong The best thing about being in Hong Kong is getting flummoxed and fired by the confluences and contradictions of a Chinese city with multi-Asian and Western elements. It's about savouring new tastes, weaving through human gridlock and humming some dumb Cantopop tune while slurping your noodles.

From the vantage point of Victoria Peak, overlooking the world's busiest deepwater port, you can see a city geared not only to making money but feeling good about it. At night, it's like looking down into a volcano.

Despite its British colonial past, Hong Kong has always stuck to its roots, and the culture beneath the glitz is pure Chinese. Mind you, that didn't stop locals from feeling apprehensive about being reunited with the motherland when the British handed the colony back to China in 1997, but their unease has largely evaporated.

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PLACES TO VISIT IN HONG KONG :

Hong Kong Island
HongKong Island Hong Kong Island is the glitzy big brother of Kowloon - a tightly packed, towering paean to market capitalism that hasn't been dented one jot by Chinese rule. The bustle of people living and working is the biggest attraction on the island, although many visitors head around to Aberdeen, on the southern side of the island, where 6000 people live or work on junks anchored in the harbour. Sampan tours of the Aberdeen Harbour are definitely worth the expense. The other major draw is the floating restaurants.

The most popular beach is Repulse Bay, also on the southern side of the island, but it gets extremely crowded on weekends. Stanley, with its laid-back atmosphere, is another good spot for escaping Hong Kong's hustle and bustle, although it is the hustle and bustle that brings people here in the first place - if you want real solitude, you've come to the wrong place. City attractions include the Central Market, which visitors will have no trouble finding (just sniff the air), the old Man Mo Temple and the Zoological & Botanic Gardens. Hong Kong Island is steep, so if your'e heading away from the harbour, do as the locals do and ride the 800m (870 yards) outdoor escalator.


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Kowloon, Hong KongKowloon
Tsim Sha Tsui, at the tip of the Kowloon Peninsula, is the territory's tourist ghetto. It consists of one sq km of shops, restaurants, pubs, topless bars and camera stores. However, Kowloon is also home to the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, the Space Museum, the famous Peninsula Hotel and the Museum of History.

The Promenade, in East Tsim Sha Tsui, is a great place for a stroll, and has wonderful views of Victoria Harbour, particularly at night. The liveliest night market in the territory is on Temple St in Yau Ma Tei.


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Victoria Peak
Victoria Peak HongKong If you're in Hong Kong, you'd be mad to miss a trip to the top of Victoria Peak, 552m (1810ft) above sea level. The views are giddyingly beautiful in every direction, with the vista of the business district, Victoria Harbour and Kowloon especially grand. In true Hong Kong style the main viewing deck is on the roof of a large shopping mall.

Join the throng of snap-happy tourists - you won't be disappointed. If you have time, it's worth making the trip to the top both in daylight (ideal to get your bearings) and at night, when the mass of lights around the harbour will take your breath away and make you wish you had a better camera. The actual peak is a ten-minute walk west and up.

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Macau
Maccau Macau may be firmly back in China's orbit, but the Portuguese patina on this Sino-Lusitanian Las Vegas makes it a most unusual Asian destination. It has always been overshadowed by its glitzy near-neighbour Hong Kong - which is precisely why it's so attractive.

Macau's pleasures are relaxed and laidback, architectural and atmospheric: narrow cobbled alleys, grand baroque churches, balconied colonial mansions, open plazas and Mediterranean-style cafes filled with palm-readers, caged birds and pipe-smokers.

These days Macau is wooing commerce and tourism like never before, and plans are afoot for all kinds of family-oriented shopping malls, theme parks, towers and bridges, building on the enclave's attraction as a gambling haven. So get yourself to Macau before its unique Latin-Sino flavour is diluted by a heavy dose of development and the Guangdong throngs.

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Places to Visit in Macau :

A-Ma Temple
This classic Chinese temple complex squats at the base of Penha Hill on Barra Point, guarded by stone lions and replete with flying eaves and carved details. The warren of red-hued prayer halls and pavilions date mostly from the 17th century, replacing the much older original temple dedicated to the goddess A-Ma (Honoured Mother, also known as Tin Hau, Queen of Heaven, protector of seafarers and all-round patron saint of Macau). According to the A-Ma legend, a beautiful but poor girl called Lin saved the fishing vessel she was sailing in during a storm, while the ships of the rich sailors who had refused to take her onboard were destroyed. Safely ashore, the girl was engulfed in a ray of light and transformed into a goddess, and the grateful fishermen built the temple on the place of her beatification. The A-Ma Temple is a place of pilgrimage for Macau's fishing community, and is a deafening riot of bangers, crackers and Chinese Opera on the Feast of A-Ma (May) and during Chinese New Year (Jan/Feb). A network of climbing gardens strewn with boulders surrounds the temple complex's altars and pavilions, while the cluttered rooms are an incense-drenched haven for fortune tellers and trinket sellers.

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Guia Fort, Macau Guia Fort
Overlooking the Lou Lim Ioc Gardens, the Guia Fort is perched on the peninsula's highest point and topped by a chapel and the Chinese coast's oldest lighthouse (1865). It's a long and perspiring walk to the top, but there are few better places in Macau to get your bearings (if you're too tuckered out, you can catch a ride up on a teeny cable car).

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Kun Iam Temple
This complex of Buddhist temples was founded in the 13th century, but today's buildings date from 1627. The complex is dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy, who appears dressed in embroidered silk and flanked by her 18 wise men. This is classic Chinese temple territory, and it's certainly Macau's most interesting temple complex - take a look at the eaves massed with porcelain figures of fish, flowers and dragons, and you'll begin to see why. The temple is also of historical note, as the first treaty of trade and friendship between the USA and China was signed here in 1844. These days the incense-shrouded complex is thronged with fortune tellers and visitors. Kun Iam Temple is in the north of the peninsula; it's not too far from the Barrier Gate and the border, though you won't get too much of a frisson from peering into China nowadays.

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Leal Senado
Leal Senado, Macau Macau Peninsula's focal point is the arcaded Largo do Senado (Senate Square), traced with the territory's characteristically swirl-patterned cobble-paving and lined with fine colonial buildings. The clean, neo-classical lines of the Leal Senado (senate building) fill the square's southern side - wander inside to check out the panelled Senate Chamber, 16th-century library and interior courtyard decorated with classic Portuguese azulejo tiling. The Senado area is dotted with fine churches such as the cream-and-white, 17th-century São Domingos, home to the image of Our Lady of Fatima which is carted about the streets during the annual Fatima Festival.

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Lou Lim Ioc Gardens
The Lou Lim Ioc Gardens are a landscaped wonderland of European and Chinese plants surrounding an ornately columned and arched mansion - take your pick of lotus ponds, pavilions, groves, grottoes, twisting pathways, ornamental mountains and curiously shaped doorways to nowhere.

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Ruinas de Sao Paulo
Ruinas de Sao Paulo, MacauNo single image can encapsulate Macau's mystique, but the ruined facade of St Paul's Cathedral comes pretty close. The Italian-designed hilltop cathedral was built by Japanese Christian exiles in the early 17th century, and even in ruins its grandiose scale is a stunning reminder of Macau's glorious past. The cathedral was all but destroyed by fire during a disastrous typhoon in 1835, which spared only the screen-like facade, mosaic floor and 66-step approach. The site is all the more impressive when it's floodlit at night, soaring one-dimensionally over the surrounding apartment blocks: squint upwards to spot some local flavour in the carving of a woman stamping on a seven-headed hydra, with Chinese characters reading 'the Holy Mother tramples the heads of the dragon'. There's a museum in the cathedral's former nave, with pride of place going to the highly prized piece of St Francis Xavier's arm bone and the tomb belonging to the cathedral's builder, Jesuit Father

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Alessandro Valignano
The hill overlooking the cathedral ruins is topped by Fortaleza de Monte. In its heyday the fort was the central link in the settlement's protective city walls - its cannons scared off the Dutch in 1622 - but these days it's a public park with fabulous panoramic views, a museum and meteorological observatory. Lovers of angel statues (we know you're out there) should head further north to St Michael's Cemetery, and the poignant Old Protestant Cemetery in the west of the peninsula will interest Anglo-history buffs.

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Sun Yatsen Memorial Home
This strangely Moorish-style memorial house pays homage to the founder of the Chinese Republic, who practised medicine in Macau for several years before turning to revolution and the overthrow of the Qing dynasty. The first memorial house blew up while being used as an explosives store, but an assortment of flags, photos and relics remain.

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