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Hong Kong
Hong Kong (Image by Jude Joshua from Pixabay)

Hong Kong

Hong Kong encompasses a collection of 262 islands and peninsulas in the South China Sea. Hong Kong Island is the second largest and the most populated of the island, and it is here that much of the city lies. The name Hong Kong means 'fragrant harbour' and comes from the area of Hong Kong Island where fragrant wood products and incense were once traded. 

In January 1841, Hong kong became a British colony after the defeat of the Chinese Qing Dynasty in the First Opium War. In July 1997, Hong Kong reverted back to Chinese rule, becoming a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China. Today, under the slogan 'One Country, Two Systems', Hong Kong remains a capitalist economy without the restrictions that apply in the rest of China, such as news censorship and foreign exchange controls. On paper, Hong Kong enjoys a high degree of autonomy, but Beijing still exerts much influence, which is unwelcome to many living in the city.

Hong Kong Island was the site of the original British settlement. Today the north of the island is densely populated and most of Hong Kong's skyscrapers are found here, along with the main business and commercial centres, government offices, hotels and restaurants. The south of the island is less developed, with leafy residential areas, pretty bays and some lovely beaches. 

Hong Kong is a thoroughly modern international city, famed for its 24 hours lifestyle, shopping, bright lights and skyscrapers, but scratch the surface and you will find a tremendous variety of different sights and sounds, from the street markets of Mong Kok, food stalls selling chickens' feet, the bar and restaurants of Lan Kwai Fong and the beaches in Stanley and Repulse Bay. This vibrant and busy city, with its fusion of East and West, offers a wealth of experiences.