Until 1997, Hong Kong was effectively an overseas UK territory, having initially become a colony of the British Empire at the end of the First Opium War in 1842.
On July 1st, 1997, however, the UK finally transferred sovereignty over Hong Kong to mainland China, under terms of a detailed agreement that ended administration for the colony and provided stringent guidance about the strategic role of the territory in the future.
Make no mistake; Hong Kong has emerged as a prominent commercial hub in Asia, with strong business links to both China and the UK. We’ll explore this further below, while asking what the region has to offer to tourists and travellers from across the globe.
Explored --The Strategic Importance of Hong Kong
The role of Hong Kong has come under incredible scrutiny of late, with China having arguably overstepped its mark by passing a stringent and wide-ranging new security law for the region.
This not only compromises the city’s autonomy, but it also introduces draconian measures that would make it far easier to punish protesters without following due legal process. In addition to also compromising freedom of speech in the region, the removal of Hong Kong’s relative autonomy may ultimately cause a breakdown of relations with the US and the UK and dramatically undermine the city’s reputation as a prominent business hub. At present, Hong Kong is considered to be a stable, accessible and deregulated global financial centre, and one that serves as an international gateway for global capital inflow into China and Asia as a whole.
This could change dramatically in the future, however, simultaneously damaging both Hong Kong and China and leaving a huge void that even established cities such as Shanghai could fill in the near-term.
What About Travel and Tourism in Hong Kong?
Of course, there are more strings to Hong Kong’s economic bow, with the nation boasting a rich heritage and immense appeal to travellers from across the globe. But what are the most attractive places to recover in the city, and how can you spend your time when visiting the city?
1. Hop on the Iconic Star Ferry
This represents the best start to your journey, as it’s economical and enables you to enjoy the scenic stretch of coast between Hong Kong Island and the historic location of Kowloon. This certainly offers you access to the best views of the iconic Hong Kong skyline, as it runs along the gorgeous Victoria Harbour.
You can take a trip on the upper deck for as little as $2.70, although you may still want to compare exchange rates to measure the cost of international currencies against the Hong Kong dollar. This will definitely help you to achieve the best value for money when travelling!
2. Climb up the Peak via the Peak Tram
The iconic ‘Peak’ represents Hong Kong’s highest point, rising 1,300 feet above sea level as it passes the city’s buildings at an incredibly steep gradient.
The nearby tram is the quickest and most stylish way to scale the Peak, particularly if you want to take in the surrounding scenery and the city’s incredible range of buildings.
This is particularly beguiling at midnight, when passengers have ample time to immerse themselves in the views and see a different side to Hong Kong.
3. Meet the Big Buddha
We close with a trip to the Tian Tan Buddha, which is known internationally as the ‘Big Buddha’. This is the largest outdoor seated Buddha in the world, and you must scale a whopping 268 steps before reaching this iconic statue.
Arguably Hong Kong’s most recognisable and iconic attraction, this is a wonderful landmark and one that should appeal to travellers of all shapes and sizes. It also sits at the famous Po Lin Monastery, which remains one of the world’s most important Buddist sanctums.