Hong Kong: A Journey through Culture, History, and Hidden Gems

By Mardiana Lutfi

This isn’t your typical Hong Kong travel blog. We’re ditching the clichés and diving deep into the heart of the Fragrant Harbor, uncovering hidden gems that glitter beneath the city’s vibrant surface. Forget the stereotypes, people. Hong Kong is more than just glittering skyscrapers and Michelin-starred restaurants (though those are pretty awesome too!). This city is full of surprises just waiting to be found by adventurous people like you.

Let’s uncover some of Hong Kong’s fascinating facts. Hong Kong provides a unique blend of modernity and history, from the spectacular vista from Victoria Peak to the thriving street food culture.

Hong Kong: bird-eye view

Hong Kong’s Official Name

HKSAR is Hong Kong’s official name. It stands for Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Hong Kong itself translates to Fragrant Harbour in Cantonese.

Hong Kong’s Official Languages

Photo: Freepik

Chinese and English are the official languages of Hong Kong, while the majority of the local population speak Cantonese, a southern Chinese dialect.


The Star Ferry began operations in 1880

The Star Ferry. Photo: Hong Kong Tourism Board

The Star Ferry is one of the region’s most beloved modes of transportation, having first run in the nineteenth (19th) century. Originally, this business operated under the name of Kowloon Ferry Company. The service between Victoria Harbour and Tsim Sha Tsui used to take at least an hour at that time. The ride on the Star Ferry now takes only ten minutes. Nonetheless, it’s a fantastic way to take in the city’s skyline from the sea.

The Peak Tram – Asia’s First Funicular Railway

The Peak Tram. Photo: Hong Kong Tourism Board

The Peak Tram is a funicular train that began operating in Hong Kong in 1888. It is still one of the world’s steepest and oldest tramways. Many visitors opt for this scenic and leisure ride up to the hilltop for an even more breathtaking view of the city. Visit the Peak during different timings to catch the spectacular day and night views of the Hong Kong skyline.

World’s Longest Covered Escalator – Central – Mid-Levels Escalator

Photo: Benny Marty via Shutterstock

The Mid-Levels Escalator in Hong Kong is the world’s longest covered escalator, stretching for more than half a mile. It first opened in 1993 and included covered pathways and much more. The escalator runs from Queen’s Road Central to Conduit Road, passing through several narrow ends and streets. While riding the elevator, you can observe the buzz of local life at close range. It’s a fascinating and culturally rich experience.

The airport is equivalent to twenty football fields in size

Photo: Hong Kong International Airport via spot.ph

The Hong Kong International Airport spans the size of twenty football fields. Additionally, it ranks as the eighth busiest airport globally. Given its size, arriving earlier is recommended to allow ample time for processing and reaching the gate. Ensure to allocate some time to explore and appreciate the beauty of the surroundings. The airport offers plenty of amenities, ranging from culinary to retail experiences.

Culture and Traditions

Feng Shui is a common practice

HSBC Building. Photo: archjourney.org

Even in today’s Hong Kong, many adhere to the ancient art of Feng Shui. Many buildings erected in the area are influenced by the practice. The HSBC Building in Central Hong Kong is believed to have two rods installed to ward off any evil spirits.

The Bank of China building is visible behind these roads. It is thought that sharp edges dilute good energy hence the structure is constructed with them. Similarly, comparable considerations are integral to the design of many skyscrapers.

Birthday is a time for noodles

Photo: marcosora

As a tradition, birthday noodles are an absolute must if you’re celebrating in Hong Kong. The reason behind this is that having noodles on one’s birthday is said to bring good fortune and a long life due to how long they are. Longevity noodles is another name for them.

The absence of fourth floor

A lift in Hong Kong, missing “unlucky” numbers. Photo: reddit.com

A lack of a fourth level is seen in many Hong Kong apartment complexes. That is because four is considered a bad omen in Chinese since it sounds like the word for death. The fourth floor is often left out of building plans for this reason.

Natural Attractions

Nature reserves and parks cover 40% of the city’s land area

Green trails of Hong Kong. Photo: The Nature Conservancy HK

Most people identify Hong Kong with tall buildings, but they are unaware that Hong Kong is also home to wonderful nature reserves and country parks.  Nature reserves and parks cover more than 40% of the city. Even Hong Kong locals like visiting the green pathways.

To make the most of your trip, explore these natural attractions as well. Like the locals, you can hike some of the green pathways. It will clear your thoughts and reconnect you to nature.

There are around 263 islands in the territory

Photo: Rover via themilsource.com

Hong Kong is made up of about 263 islands, and every single one is drop-dead gorgeous. Visiting some of these islands on your trip might be an eye-opening experience. They provide an alternative viewpoint to the hustle and bustle of the city centre.

A classic Hong Kong street view. Photo: teemusphoto via Reddit

Hong Kong has something for everyone, whether it be the great cuisine, the stunning skyline, or the dynamic mix of cultures that draw you in. Take advantage of the opportunity to experience the energy and excitement of this bustling city and make memories that last a lifetime. Click here to start planning your vacation to Hong Kong and immerse yourself in an infinite universe of choices.

Bonus: Looking for a way to kick-off your brand new 2024? Fly to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific’s incredible Buy 1, Get 1 offer this January! Additionally, redeem your HK$ 100 ‘Hong Kong Night Treats’ Visitor Dining Vouchers when you arrive at the airport.