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Hot for Hong Kong
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High Island Reservoir in Sai Kung, Hong Kong
High Island Reservoir

HONG KONG TOUR: DAY 3

Hong Kong is actually much more than you see even from the top of the ICC or IFC. For your final day, get out of town. Take a trip to chill out on Hong Kong's laid back south side in Stanley Village, on the far side of the Peak. Though there are plenty of buses to the south side, the Citybus 6 or 6-A from Exchange Square or in front of City Hall, affords the best vistas from the right side out to the South China Sea as it climbs up and over Hong Kong Island. The bus takes 30 minutes to an hour, depending on traffic, and stops directly at Stanley Market, a festive spread of Hong Kong souvenirs. Look for supple bed linens at Tong's Sheets and Linens or add some colorful Chinese peasant paintings to your walls from Cottage Gallery. Load up on real cashmere at Fook Tak Ho and China Town and for women, tap into your inner Suzy Wong with a traditional silk cheongsam from Lotus Village.

Don't come straight back into Hong Kong's melee, but stop instead in the waterside industrial enclave of Ap Lei Chao which is home to Horizon Plaza, otherwise known as Hong Kong's designer discount address. Bypass floors of tacky home furnishings and questionable antiques for the Joyce Warehouse on the 21st floor, Ralph Lauren one flight up along with Gucci, Prada and Roberto Cavalli at Pompeii. Then climb to the 25th floor to see what designer finds await your discovery at the Lane Crawford outlet. Great deals on Prada, Miu Miu and Helmut Lang await luxury treasury hunters at Space.

Stanley Market offers some of the best shopping in Hong Kong
Stanley Market
Or, skip the swank and head for the hills, to Hong Kong's natural outback. Outdoor lovers may be surprised to learn that Hong Kong is in fact 40 per cent covered in parkland. Hire a Heliservices chopper to fly you over the Hong Kong Global Geopark of China, a collection of eight distinct geographic areas across the Sai Kung Volcanic Rock Region and northeast New Territories showcasing Hong Kong's oldest and youngest rocks, ranging from 400 million to 65 million years old. Fly over High Island Reservoir, home to Hong Kong's columnar jointed volcanic tuff, considered the earth's most extensive and spectacular of these ancient formations, taking in Devil's Fist on Bluff Island as well as the steep shale rock cliffs and finely layered mudstones of Ping Chau Island. Once a hideout for opium and gun smugglers, Ping Chau was also the first sight of freedom for mainland Chinese who swam here through shark-infested waters during the Cultural Revolution.


For a closer look at these rock stars and more active immersion in Hong Kong's outdoors, hop on a Blue Sky stand up paddle board, into a kayak from Sai Kung's Sai Sha Beach or join a Walking Hong Kong tour of the Park, taking in the Qing Dynasty Tin Hau Temple to the Sea Goddess where modern fishermen still make offerings before heading off on the South China Sea.

For more information on Hong Kong, contact the Hong Kong Tourism Board, www.discoverhongkong.com

* All images courtesy of the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

(Updated: 11/22/12 NW)

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