Just off the southern coast of China, in the South China Sea, sits an unassuming island. To see it on the map, it just looks like another spot of land in the sea. But this island is actually a hub of urban activity in the area, and one of the most sought-after travel destinations in the world. Hong Kong Island is the second largest island in Hong Kong, after Lantau island, and Victoria Harbour separates the northern side of the island and Kowloon Peninsula.
The island is situated in a strategic location on the South China Sea. During World War II, this was a location of such significance that there was a battle fought here for possession of it. The Japanese occupied Hong Kong Island for many years before it was finally ceded to Britain and, eventually, back to China. But the island bounced back pretty quickly from these difficult times and it's hard to believe that it was once a war-torn area if you look at it now. The area is now a booming metropolis of arts, culture, and affluence.
Things To See & Do
Hong Kong Island is a diverse place with much to offer a wide range of visitors with all kinds of different tastes and preferences. There are many sights to see on Hong Kong Island, and one of the most popular has to be The Peak. Officially known as Victoria Peak (named for Queen Victoria during the British occupation), this mountain offers peerless views of the city skyline, and is a popular tourist destination. No visit to Hong Kong is complete without a trip to The Peak to take in the breathtaking view. You can take the Peak Tram to the top where you can enjoy the view and also a visitor center and some great shopping at the Peak Tower and the Peak Galleria.
Located between the island and Kowloon Peninsula, Victoria Harbour is one of the main treasures of Hong Kong. It's one of the most beautiful harbours throughout the world. Travelers can take a sightseeing tour on Star Ferry around the harbour. On this tour, passengers will see the spectacular views of both sides of the harbour.
Visiting the Aberdeen Floating Village in the southern part of the island is also a unique Hong Kong experience. You can see the daily lives of the so-called "boat people." They used to live their entire lives on these junks, but, today, most of them only fish during the day and live in tower apartments. The marine culture is an important part of the flavor of Hong Kong Island, and you'd be hard-pressed to find an aspect of the island that isn't somehow impacted by its proximity to the sea. The island is an interesting crossroads between old and new, and between world cultures, and it makes for a fascinating visit.
For more information visit - Attractions on Hong Kong Island.
The island is a popular place for shopping. The Central District is an ideal place if you're looking for luxury goods. It houses several shopping malls, such as IFC Mall, The Landmark or The Galleria that sell brand products. For those who are interested in jewelry products check Des Voeux Road or Queen's Road Central. Many jewelry stores are located along these roads. For antique products visit Hollywood Road.
Further to the east are Admiralty and Wan Chai. They are also good for shopping. The famous complex of office towers, hotels and a shopping mall, Pacific Place, is located in Admiralty.
The major shopping district on the island is Causeway Bay. This area houses numerous shops and shopping malls, including well-known Japanese department store SOGO, Times Square, World Trade Centre, Lee Gardens, Windsor House. For inexpensive goods, such as clothing, visit Jardine's Crescent open market.
Finally, there is the Stanley Market in the southern part of the island. Stanley is not only the place for good shopping but also is a popular tourist spot.
For more information visit - Shopping on Hong Kong Island.
Visitors to Hong Kong have a wide variety of hotels to choose. Most part are located in the northern part of the island: Central, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and North Point. Also, there are several hotels in the southern part.
For more information visit - Hotels on Hong Kong Island.
The urban area (northern side) is serviced by the MTR Island Line. It starts in Sheung Wan, nearby Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal, and runs along the northern coastline of the island with the final point in Chai Wan. In addition to the MTR, the northern side is exclusively serviced by Hong Kong Tramways, which are one of the oldest public transport modes in Hong Kong. Tramways run from Kennedy Town to Shau Kei Wan.
There is no bridge between the island and Kowloon. In order to get to Kowloon side, change the MTR Island Line to the MTR Tsuen Wan Line at Central or Admiralty stations. Also, there are alternative ways of transportation. Taxis and buses via harbour tunnels or ferries across Victoria Harbour. Perhaps the most scenic and economical way among them is the world-famous Star Ferry. There are two ferry piers, in Central and Wan Chai, where tourists can take a sightseeing tour on the Star Ferry. Besides, in Central area (Central Piers) tourists can take ferries to the outlying islands such as Cheung Chau, Lamma, Peng Chau or Lantau.
The southern part of the island is serviced by buses and minibuses. But the government and MTR plan to complete the new MTR South Island Line in 2015.
Note: This information is for reference only and is subject to change without prior notice.