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Hong Kong's Top 10 : Ways to Experience the Real China

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  1. Spend a Night at the Opera

    Cantonese opera might sound like discordant screeching to the untrained ear, but make no mistake, this is a fine and ancient art. It combines song, mime, dancing, martial arts and fantastic costumes and make-up and can go on for six hours or more. 

  2. Ride on a Junk

    We’ve all seen that iconic image of the junk, blood-red bat wing sails unfurled as the sun sets over Victoria Harbour. Unfortunately, it’s usually the same boat. The Duk Ling is one of the few masted sailing junks left.

    • Tours depart from Central Pier 9, Hong Kong Island 3pm & 5pm Thu, 11am & 1pm Sat; and from Kowloon Public Pier, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2pm & 4pm Thu, 10am & noon Sat

    • Advance booking advisable

    • 2508 1234

    • Adm

    Junk
  3. Feast on Dim Sum

    Dim sum is commonly translated as “touch the heart”, although in some establishments it may also touch your wallet. The small steamed snacks in bamboo baskets are delivered by grumpy old ladies with trolleys.

    Dim sum
  4. Visit a Market

    Hong Kong’s wet markets can bring on instant culture shock for those tourists who are more used to the orderly atmosphere of supermarkets. Tiptoe through rivers of blood, past gizzards and buzzing flies as hawkers yell and housewives bargain.

    Market produce
  5. Go for a Traditional Tonic

    For a taste of the real China, try a tonic restaurant. Chefs whip up dishes with all sorts of herbs and spices, in accordance with the principles of “heating” or “cooling” foods. A tonic lunch at the Treasure Inn Seafood Restaurant includes fried snowfrog and bamboo fungi.

    • 2/F Western Market, 323 Des Voeux Rd, Sheung Wan

    • 2850 7780

    Traditional tonics
  6. Try Foot Reflexology

    Vice-like hands seek out pressure points linked to vital organs. The procedure is painful, and you might be embarrassed about your feet, but you will feel so good when they stop. Reflexologists abound in Happy Valley. Try On Wo Tong.

    • 1/F Lai Shing Bldg, 13–19 Sing Woo Rd (and three other branches)

    • 2893 0199

  7. Aim for Everything Zen

    For a modern take on ancient China, check out the Chi Lin Nunnery in Kowloon. This gorgeous replica of a seven-hall Tang Dynasty (AD 618–907) complex took 10 years to build, using traditional techniques and materials. Bliss out as stubble-headed nuns chant to the Sakyamuni Buddha .

  8. Experience Unbelievable Gall

    She Wong Lam in the northeast of Hong Kong Island is the best place to sup on snake wine, a traditional winter tonic. The speciality is a fiery brew containing the gall bladders of five deadly snakes.

    • Hillier St, Sheung Wan

    • 2543 8032

  9. Watch a Lion Dance

    Lions are thought to ward off evil and bring luck, which explains why the opening of a new building often features a troupe of wiry youths prancing about beneath a stylised lion’s head. These performances are also common around Chinese New Year.

    Chinese New Year
  10. Practise Tai Chi

    Turn up at the Sculpture Court in front of the Museum of Art in Tsim Sha Tsui at 8am on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays to enjoy an hour’s free instruction in this gentlest of martial arts.

    Tai chi

Top 10 Ways to Pamper Yourself

  1. Spa-ing Bout

    Check into the Peninsula for a stress-busting retreat at the brand new ESPA spa.

    • 2920 2888

  2. Rubbed the Right Way

    Go for a deep-tissue Chinese massage and get the blood circulating.

    On Wo Tong

  3. Breath of Fresh Air

    Beat the pollution and enjoy the buzz at Oxyvital’s Central “oxygen bar”.

  4. In a Lather

    A Shanghai-style shave at the Mandarin Oriental will leave your face feeling like a baby’s bottom.

    • 2825 4800

  5. Love Potion No. 9

    Boost your staying power with a tonic drink from one of the many kerbside Chinese medicine shops.

  6. Geomancing the Stone

    Make sure your house and garden are in tune with the elements with a private feng shui consultation.

    Raymond Lo

    • 2736 9568

  7. Pins and Needles

    Loosen up with an acupuncture session.

    On Wo Tong

  8. Plateau

    Splash out at the Grand Hyatt’s 11th-floor spa with outdoor pool.

    • 2588 1234

  9. Put Your Feet Up

    Fans rave about the traditional Shanghai pedicure at the Mandarin Oriental.

    • 2825 4800

  10. The Doctor Is In

    Try some alternative medicine from a traditional Chinese doctor.

    Dr Troy Sing

    • 2526 7908

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