Hong Kong has four main divisions: Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, the New Territories, and the Outer Islands. Most travelers shuttle—by ferry or tunnel—between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, separated by Victoria Harbour.
Hong Kong Island was the original British colony, settled in 1842. Most of its neighborhoods—as well as the city's priciest shopping and latest five-star hotels—are clustered near the north shore. There you'll find the very walkable main business district, Central (and its sub-neighborhood, Lan Kwai Fong), the up-and-coming Causeway Bay neighborhood, the nightlife quarters of Soho and Victoria Peak.
Across the harbor, Kowloon was the city's historic manufacturing hub. Its Tsim Sha Tsui district is home to iconic hotels such as the Peninsula and InterContinental as well as a slew of restaurants, shops, and entertainment options. Kowloon is also the launch pad for excursions into the New Territories (Hong Kong's residential outer borough), where the curious can visit the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery in the town of Sha Tin. Outlying islands, including Lantau, Sai Kung, and Lamma, are past the harbor proper—out in the South China Sea.
WHEN TO GO
The best time to visit Hong Kong is in the spring. In January, Hong Kong hosts the International Food Expo (http://hkfoodexpo.tdctrade.com), which attracts more than 300,000 visitors from around the world.
HOW TO GET THERE
Chek Lap Kok International Airport serves as Hong Kong's main airport. The express train to Hong Kong Island takes approximately 20 minutes.
Hong Kong's MTR train system runs to major destinations throughout Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and Lantau. The trains and stations are clean and reliable, and the prices are much cheaper than taxis. Still, the trains are often very crowded, and can be confusing if you don't speak or read Chinese. For fares, schedules, and station information, check out www.mtr.com.hk
Money: Although Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997, it still holds its own currency: the Hong Kong dollar.
Visas: Visas: Visa requirements for Hong Kong also differ from those for China. Few changes have been made to the regulations since 1997; most visitors (including U.S. citizens) need only a valid passport for entry. U.S. citizens are allowed to stay 90 days (unless you plan to work, study, establish or join a business, or take up residence).
TThe Hong Kong Tourist Board has offices at the Citicorp Centre in North Point, the airport, the Kowloon Star Ferry Concourse, the Lo Wu train station, and the Causeway Bay MTR station on Hong Kong Island.
Hong Kong Tourist Board