Hong Kong: Ring in the New

Hong Kong: Ring in the New
Photo Credit: Kevin Poh

Never one to stand still, Hong Kong is re-inventing itself as a tourism destination

Venky Vembu
November 06 , 2015
04 Min Read

The erstwhile British colony, now a Special Administrative Region of China, keeps reinventing itself, the better to retain its tourism allure. 

SOMETHING NEW

3D TrickEye Museum

Arguably the quirkiest new gig in town is this cultural import from South Korea, which deploys the trompe-l’oeil art technique, using realistic images to create optical illusions that amuse, but also educate. The museum has about 50 installations and paintings in five themed zones–all of which “trick the eye”, and allow for visitor interaction (and countless selfies!). On the Peak Galleria; open 10am—10pm year round; HK$150 for adults; trickeye.com/hongkong

The Hong Kong Observation Wheel

Hong Kong Observation Wheel

The city’s own ‘Eye’ is set in a fabulous location–along the Victoria harbour front–and offers panoramic  views of Hong Kong. The 60-metre wheel has 42 luxury gondolas, all of which come equipped with free wi-fi, so you can instantly send those pictures of yourself on top of Hong Kong. Open 10am—11pm all year round; HK$100 for adults for a 20-minute ride; hkow.hk/en

SOMETHING TIMELESS

Riding a junk boat is a quintessential Honk Kong experience

Junk Boat Ride

A ride on the red-sailed dukling ( junk boat) is perhaps the most endearing only-in-Hong Kong experience. A fishing boat from the 1950s has been refurbished to recreate the sailing adventure of 150 years ago, when pirates combed and pillaged the harbour. In September 2014, the boat sank in a typhoon, but was salvaged in June 2015. So, you’ll be riding a legacy that was almost lost to the elements. From Tsim Sha Tsui; HK$230 for adults; HK$160 for children and seniors. dukling.com.hk

Ding Dong

On Hong Kong’s busy streets, the ‘ding ding’ clang of the colourfully billboarded double-decker tram cars makes for a quaint kind of street music. One of the cheapest modes of transport on the main Hong Kong Island–adults pay a flat fare of HK$2.3 to go from one end of the island to the other–is also its most charming option. hktramways.com

NEW PLACES TO EAT

Jamie's Italian, Harbour City

There are two Jamie’s Italian restaurants in Hong Kong, but wind your way to the one at Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui; this is one of only six restaurants worldwide that has Jamie Oliver’s signature open pizza oven. For starters, savour the “world’s best olive on ice” (HK$50) and the portobello mushroom fritti (HK$68), along with
a Jamie’s Italian mojito (HK$65); try out the meat plank (HK$84); move on to the artisan pizza (HK$150-190); and wind down with a lemon meringue cheesecake (HK$68). jamiesitalian.hk

Issaya offers non-traditional Thai fare in an artful setting

Issaya

Bangkok’s legendary Issaya Siamese Club restaurant recently opened in Hong Kong, and is quite a rage. Set 25 floors high in Causeway Bay, a humming dine-out district, Issaya serves excellent non-traditional Thai cuisine in an artfully designed setting. I sampled celebrity chef Ian Kittichai’s Tasting Menu (shellfish sausage; tender beef in chilli vinaigrette; crispy shrimp; spice-rubbed baby pork ribs; Australian veal cheek; slow-cooked Atlantic salmon; wok-sauted short grain rice). At HK$875, it’s pricey, but it’s a fab dining experience. issaya.hk

NEW PLACES TO STAY

The Upper House in Hong Kong is a luxury boutique hotel

The Upper House

In fast-paced Hong Kong, The Upper House, a luxury boutique hotel, is an oasis of serenity. Everything about this place in Pacific Place, from the décor to the personalised service, is calm-inducing, taking the edge off travel angst. Offers a range of accommodation options, from 68sqm studios (from HK$5,000 a night) to 182sqm Penthouses (rates on request). And their Café Gray serves great food (try the braised short ribs). upperhouse.com

mini hotel, Causeway Bay

A cheery boutique hotel, it offers great value for money, even if the rooms are small. There’s funky artwork in the common areas, including a restful lounge. And mini provides the use of a free Android phone for the duration of stay, with free calls. Rooms from HK$ 700 a night; minihotel.hk


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