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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Hong Kong Travel Guide
Hong Kong Travel Guide and Hong Kong Travel Information - TravelPuppy.com
'Cultural treasure-house of East Asia'

This former imperial British enclave – Located at the mouth of the Pearl River Delta, on China's southwestern coast– has been rapidly transforming since the British colonial to Chinese sovereignty hand-over in 1997. Or rather, the underlying city bestows a new guise without the imperial overlay. Hong Kong’s position as gateway to China is more in question than ever before, with the Bamboo Curtain only a memory, WTO accession opening up the whole of the mainland to foreign economic penetration and China reaping the benefits of the surging growth while Hong Kong suffers prolonged recession.

Hong Kong
is now much more Chinese than ever, with many ex-pats gone and an overwhelmingly Cantonese government presiding over the Indians, Filipinos, Nepalese and other minorities that make up the city’s ethnic patchwork. Still, the Hong Kongers resist assimilation, unwillingly yielding to pressures for economic integration all the while jealously protecting their separate identity and freedoms.

With the political reasons for its creation rapidly fading into history, Hong Kong’s geographical oddity comes into view. The few square kilometres of territory conceded to the British is now on the top of The UN's list for urban population density. Hong Kong Island itself is the centre of the old imperial possession, with Kowloon right across the harbour forming the other half of the main conurbation. Further to the north are the New Territories, leased in 1898 from China, which form a more rural hinterland. And surrounding this main focus are the large islands of Lamma and Lantau and the smaller Outlying Islands which complete the patchwork.

This array of pinnacles and paddies lies directly in the South China Sea’s typhoon alley. During winter and early spring, the climate tends to be mild and fresh but, in May the stifling humidity skyrockets and summer is both hot and often wet. Typhoons arrive during summer and early autumn and, even without them, heavy rainstorms fall intermittently. Hong Kong is not the best summer holiday destination.

The city’s economy has declined since the Asian economic crisis of 1997, never gaining back the same vigour (and insane property prices), however commerce remains its defining characteristic. In the proverbial scale of Cantonese values, money always comes first. And Hong Kong still has lots of that. Hong Kong has a much more determined feel of its separate identity than ever before, although it still is a thrustingly commercial city, whose devotion to quick money has never been stronger. But the city also enjoys its unsung natural beauties, in the shape of looming mountains, tucked away islets, white sandy beaches and island landscapes. The Special Administrative Region government has recently dubbed the entire city as ‘Asia’s World City’. Visitors can judge for themselves how true that is but, but without question, Hong Kong remains unique.
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World Factbook information about Hong Kong