Hong Kong is an intriguing fusion of cosmopolitan elements and traditional heritage that makes it stand out as an alluring destination for cultural tourists. A land that has always welcomed travellers to its shores, some of whom settled here permanently and made it their home, Hong Kong is a city where you will find an eclectic mix of the temples of different religions, the cuisines that bring versatile flavors to the plate, and the architecture that is inspired by a combination of styles. Be it the mystical atmosphere of the monasteries that dot the landscape or the brilliant colours of the street markets and the dragon boats, every aspect of this enchanting city is unique and fascinating. Here are some of the activities and sights that will help you witness the true culture of Hong Kong at close quarters.
Hong Kong Heritage Museum
A beautiful building that stands on the banks of the Shing Mun River, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum is an excellent place to learn more about the history and culture of the region. With a Cantonese Opera Hall that is the venue of regular performances, a gallery dedicated to the Kung Fu legend, Bruce Lee, and a multitude of art exhibitions, this museum displays the various elements of the local art and culture under one roof. Some of the other popular attractions of the museum include the Children’s Discovery Gallery and the T.T. Tsui Gallery of Chinese Art.
The best places to taste the authentic cuisine of Hong Kong are the Dai Pai Dongs or the street side eateries that serve an array of local delicacies. The concept of a Dai Pai Dong is particularly striking for cultural travellers because at these stalls, you get to share a table with the locals as well as other tourists, which makes this dining experience even more enriching. Each Dai Pai Dong is famous for its own speciality items, such as noodles, fried rice, pork dishes, and sandwiches. One must also taste the unique dishes of the region, such as the egg tarts, the milk tea, and the wide variety of Dim Sum dishes.
Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees
The Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees are a pair of trees in Tai Po that are believed to possess magical powers. According to the local legend, if you write a wish on a piece of paper and throw it on one of the trees, chances are that your wish will come true. The higher the chit lands on the branches, the greater is the probability of your wish being fulfilled. A huge number of locals and tourists visit these sacred trees and share their wishes on colorful pieces of paper. To protect the trees from getting buried under the weight of paper, wooden railings and imitation trees have been erected to share the load.
Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
Constructed in the 1950’s, the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery is an opulent temple that holds more than ten thousand statues of Lord Buddha on the premises. One needs to climb up more than 400 stairs that are lined with statues of Arhats or Buddhist saints to reach the monastery. The complex contains a spectacular Pagoda that is nine stores high as well as various halls dedicated to Buddhist deities. The buildings are decorated in a red and gold colour scheme that adds a regal element to the architecture and creates a pleasant contrast against the surrounding greenery.
Traditional Hong Kong Spa
Every traveller deserves some time to relax and unwind, and the massage therapy at a traditional spa offers just that. These massages are based on the principles of ancient Chinese medicine and help to restore a harmonious flow of energy through the body. The Hong Kong massage therapy is known worldwide for its efficacy at curing various ailments and healing different kinds of injuries. A session at a local spa will leave you invigorated and energised. This is one experience that you must indulge in to benefit from the wisdom of the medieval masters of medicine.
These are some of the activities that offer an immersive cultural experience in Hong Kong. They provide an opportunity to look beyond the skyscrapers and the touristy attractions and to discover the real heart of the city. So the next time you visit Hong Kong, do add these items to your itinerary to admire this mesmerising land with a new pair of eyes.