Traditional Chinese Junk sails Victoria Harbour.
Images and story: Hong Kong Tourism Board
The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has long offered visitors a choice of fascinating tours for every taste: day and night tours, harbor excursions, visits to outlying islands, culture and nature tours. For 2014 a number of in-depth educational tours have been added to the list that will give participants many unique insights into the ancient but ever-changing face of Hong Kong. On your next visit, consider signing up for the Sham Shui Po Foodie Tour, A Different Taste of Hong Kong Tour, a Tai O Eco Tour, a ‘Wing Chung’ Kung Fu Experience Tour, a Hand Made in Hong Kong Tour or a three-day Cycling the Castle Houses of Southern China Tour.
First on the list is the Sham Shui Po Foodie Tour. Designed for food lovers who are interested in learning about local foods, participants will watch the fascinating, busy community of Sham Shui Po come to life early in the morning and share with the residents the foods that they enjoy. Visits will be paid to a cha chan teng (a Hong Kong-style café) where the day commences with a local style breakfast, followed by visits to a traditional pudding shop, a specialty soy store, a Chiu Chow-style restaurant, a long-established bakery and a handmade-noodle shop.
On the Sham Shui Po Foodie Tour, sample traditional Chinese sweet and savory dishes.
Tour participants will learn how each specialty has been perfected over time and why the locals are such regulars in all these establishments. This creative food trail not only presents a variety of tastes, but also reveals the history, architecture and culture of this charming district.
In spite of its name, A Different Taste of Hong Kong is not designed specifically for food lovers. This tour gives participants sneak peeks inside areas of Hong Kong that offer some of the city’s more down-to-earth attractions. Using public transport, participants will see Hong Kong through the eyes of its locals and learn how the city lives and breathes. It all begins with the commuter Star Ferry, followed by a stroll on foot through the bazaar-filled narrow streets of Central. The group will then travel uphill on the world’s largest outdoor covered escalator before boarding the historic ‘Ding Ding’ tram and finally experiencing the water on a Walla-walla. This tour will provide a unique insight into feng shui with a tour of some of Hong Kong’s oldest public housing – the Wah Fu Estate – sharing with participants the ancient ritual known as ‘petty person’ beating.
On the Different Taste of Hong Kong tour, participants travel by tram and ferry.
It’s no secret that downtown Hong Kong runs at an almost manic pace. For those who’d like to escape for a while, the Tai O Eco Tour is the answer. This is a relaxed tour of beautiful Lantau Island. It begins with breathtaking panoramic views of the island on a 5.7 km/3.55 mile cable car journey to Ngong Ping Village, the spiritual (and physical) home of the Tian Tan Buddha. After relaxing with a cup of Chinese tea and atmospheric music at the Linong Tea House, participants transfer to a bus for a scenic winding journey to the island’s western outpost, Tai O.
On Lantau Island, cable car journey goes to Ngong Ping Village, the spiritual home of the Tian Tan Buddha.
In the Tai O Wetlands, this historic stilted village, nicknamed “Venice of the East,” is a popular place to visit.
Time seems to have stood still here in the narrow streets and fish markets of this historic stilted village, often referred to as the ‘Venice of the East’. Tour guides will reveal Tai O’s coastal wetlands and mangrove habitats, where fiddler crabs and mudskippers hide in the depths. Local experts will then teach how to make their signature salted egg yolks and tofu puddings while fisher-folk delicacies such as shrimp paste and dried seafood will be available for purchase.
Calling all Bruce Lee fans … this is the tour for you! It’s the ‘Wing Chun’ Kung Fu Experience Tour that reveals the profound ties between Hong Kong and traditional Chinese martial arts. Here is the chance to study the basic forms of wing chun, a set of techniques taken and adapted by Bruce Lee, the kung fu legend and international movie star. The lesson at the school of Yip Man Martial Arts Association is run by Master Sam Lau, a first generation student of Grandmaster Yip Man, Bruce Lee’s own mentor. After this master class, there are visits to the Bruce Lee: Kung Fu‧Art‧Life exhibition and the Bruce Lee statue on a walk down the famous Avenue of Stars. A dim sum dinner will bring the day to a close.
For fans of Bruce Lee, the Wing Chun Kung Fu class is a highlight of this Hong Kong marshall arts tour.
As a modern metropolis awash with contemporary design, modern architecture and innovative technology, it can be easy to overlook Hong Kong’s grassroots industries. Hand Made in Hong Kong is an exclusive tour that gives a glimpse into the long-cherished traditions of the city’s age-old handicrafts upon which its kinsfolk once thrived. Participants on this tour should prepare for a hands-on history lesson as they enter the workshops and learn the trade of Hong Kong’s master craftspeople – from shoemakers to sign makers and tailors. Hundreds of fashion stalls lining Ladies Market in Mong Kok will also be visited and the city’s traditional flavors will be experienced with a Hong Kong-style breakfast and lunch.
Hong Kong tailors are world famous for their clothes-making expertise.
For those who are truly adventurous, HKTB offers Cycling the Castle Houses of Southern China. This two-wheel foray into the Guangdong Province offers one of the best ways of swapping the city lights for more rural delights. The unique castle-like dwellings (diaolou) of Kaiping have UNESCO World Heritage status with a flamboyant fusion of Chinese and Western architecture. Émigré Kaipings returning to their home country from overseas in the 1920s and 30s built these fortified towers in this distinctive style to protect against bandits.
The Castle Houses of South China were built for defense against bandits. A unique three-day cycling exploration into Guangdong Province is the best way to appreciate a colorful piece of Hong Kong’s history.
This unique three-day cycling tour starts and finishes in Hong Kong. Participants board the ferry to Jiangmen and then take a coach to Kaiping, the location for saddling-up and cycling off along rural country roads, village paths and forested tracks for a few days. The heritage sites of Kaiping and Chikan, as well as the diaolou clusters in Liyuan Garden, Zili Village and Majianglong, will all be seen on this fascinating itinerary.
Visit the Hong Kong Tourism Board website for complete descriptions of all guided tours and self-guided walks and stimulating classes.
Tourists can also start their China Tours from Hong Kong to experience her unique attraction.