The Hong Kong Unofficial Guide

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General Information

Above: Central district on Hong Kong Island seen from across the Victoria harbor in Tsim Sha Tsui during the
Symphony of Lights laser show.

Located at the southeast coast of China, the size of Hong Kong is about 400 square miles (~1,000 sq km) but it is growing! No, not from the shrinking of the ocean caused by El Nino, nor from conquering neighboring cities, but from the reclamation of land. The new airport is one good example.

Hong Kong has about 6.9 million people, give or take 500 thousand - all depending on how many tourists are here! When you are in places like Mongkok or Causeway Bay, you would think that the whole population of Hong Kong is there. (Left: a pedestrian crossing in Central district.)

(note: HK had 25 million visitors in year 2006, and let's say that on the average each stays 1 week.)

Hong Kong is made up of the Hong Kong Island, the Kowloon Pennisula, and the New Territories, with Hong Kong Island being the smallest of the three but where the central business district is located (aptly named Central). Now if you look up an atlas, you may see Victoria shown as the capital or key city. Good luck in finding it! You are too late - by perhaps 100 years. There is no Victoria any more. There is just a Victoria Harbor separating Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, a Victoria Peak, and a Victoria Park - among the various Victorias left.

The south side of the Hong Kong island is known for its beaches and is where some of the wealthy live. Repulse Bay is probably the most famous beach there (its Chinese name means shallow water bay). And Stanley also has a spot in the hall of fame when it comes to tourist areas.

Village HousesThe New Territories are the countryside of Hong Kong (or at least they used to be), where there are still villages little known to tourists. But you have to know where you are going before you can find them. And as Hong Kong develops, there're fewer and fewer of them. Nowadays, with the MTR system spreading, some hotels classify themselves as being in Kowloon rather than the New Territories. But as expected, their room rates are often lower.

Click here for some key Hong Kong statistics and data.

Above: a bird's eye view of Shatin in the New Territories. Shatin used to be a village but is now a sizable town complete with a mall and many large residential complexes.
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