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Cities | Attractions | Hotels
6.9 million
1,100 sq km
Subtropical climate. Hot humid summers and mild winters.

Hong Kong is a vibrant, noisy, cosmopolitan city of 6.9 million people and is a true blend of east and west. 150 years of British rule stamped the territory with the trappings of a British city - complete with pubs, cricket matches, high tea and rugby games, but with an international flair. With 95 percent of its population ethnically Chinese, Hong Kong also has an undeniably Chinese heart.

Hong Kong has been a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China since the handover in 1997 but has retained its own civil service and rule of law. Geographically, Hong Kong encompasses Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories and more than 260 outlying islands.

Hong Kong Island boasts superb modern architecture which house some of the world's most powerful financial institutions and towering glass residential buildings teetering up impossibly steep slopes. The Peak offers breathtakingly beautiful views of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon across Victoria Harbour, and is especially stunning at night. Central, the financial center and social hub of Hong Kong Island is where some of the territories' best international restaurants and premier nightspots are located. The southside of the island including Stanley, Deep Water Bay and Repulse Bay has nice beaches where you can enjoy different watersports as well as outdoor restaurants and markets.

The Kowloon peninsula, in particular its southernmost tip, Tsim Sha Tsui (TST), is a crowded maze of streets where you can find anything for sale from "antique" ma jong sets to the latest in video technology. TST is home to more shops selling a greater variety of goods per square meter than anywhere else in the world. It boasts a plethora of budget accommodations as well as the five star Peninsula and Regent hotels.

North of the Kowloon peninsula, the New Territories connects Hong Kong to the mainland. It is home to the New Towns, the first of which was built in the 1960s, ancient villages, sprawling subtropical country parks and secluded beaches.

Despite the ultramodern high-rise jungle of Central and the Kowloon peninsula, much of Hong Kong is countryside and coast, with excellent hiking trails and beaches. The natural beauty of Hong Kong is often a pleasant surprise for tourists who associate the territory solely with shopping, food and money.

Visitors should also try to visit one of the outlying islands, most notably Lantau and Lamma. These islands are home to superb seafood restaurants, white sand beaches, secluded hiking trails and sleepy fishing villages. Lantau also has the new airport at Chek Lap Kok and the Giant Buddha, which at 26 meters (85ft) high, is the world's largest seated outdoor bronze Buddha.

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