Every tourist who visits Hong-Kong goes up The Peak to admire the town and its forests of buildings...From up there the island looks small and easy to explore, but once you get off the tram the town swallows you and you quickly feel a bit lost. So I'll take you on a virtual tour of the madness that is Hong Kong!
Once off the tram we start with a 'soft landing' in the direction of Hong Kong Park and the Edward Youde Aviary (9:00 am to 5 pm) , the biggest in south-east Asia with its 800 birds...and right in the middle of the business district.
Then, leaving the calm behind, head to the Bank of China, designed by I. M. Pei (better known in the US for the John F. Hancock Tower in Boston). After admiring it, we go up to the observation deck on the 43rd floor (free, passport required).
Then we go back down to earth and take the tram, the slowest and cheapest way to travel in Hong Kong... but also the best way to make the most of the town. The tram, which was once beside the sea but now seems really tiny surrounded by skyscrapers, takes us to Wanchai.
We get off the tram at The Pawn. It is one of the best preserved buildings in the area and home to a classy bar (60-66 Johnston Road) where you can have a very colonial lunch. Once you've eaten, head for Wanchai's typically Chinese market. Wander down the lanes, watch the turmoil of activity, buy a mango, and hold your nose when you walk in front of the butchers' stalls...meat hung on hooks in the open air, no refrigeration, and the smells that go with it!
Leave the bustle of the market for a colorful little cul-de-sac: Stone Nullah Lane. This sloping lane, with the remarkable blue houses, has kept its old-fashioned charm. At the top of Stone Nullah is the Pak Tai temple which dates from 1863 and is the oldest in the area...a haven of peace in this hectic town.
Time to go to Happy Valley to see the race course. Built on a marsh in 1845 for the pleasure of the English colonists, it has become very popular with the Hong Kongers...go on a Wednesday at the beginning of the evening to see the show that even the locals call "the Races".
Having traveled over a large part of Hong Kong it's time to relax a little with a foot massage ( Happy Foot, Fun Feet, Lucky Foot… there are plenty of choices) followed by some dim sum surrounded by the Art Deco decor of Dim Sum restaurant (63 Sing Woo Road).
Our urban journey is finished, and you can take the tram back from Happy Valley to where you started from, enjoying Hong Kong's atmosphere one last time - the stop is between the massage shops and the race course!