Destination: China: Hong Kong
Hong Kong is the natural gateway to China, and while you can fly directly to the Middle Kingdom cities of Beijing and Shanghai from all parts of the world these days, many people prefer a comfort-zone stopover in the city. Now is a great time to go, as the entire place is on an economic roll, bursting with pride at its shiny new collection of five-star hotels and cutting-edge restaurants. The prime tourist draw, the Peak Tower, reached by a near-vertical tram ride up the mountain, has reopened after a major revamp. On the outskirts, a new cable-car ride takes passengers over the Lantau Mountains and along a plateau, dropping passengers off near the Big Buddha statue.
For all the recently added attractions, though, the most thrilling ride of all costs just 25 cents. Riding the Star Ferry across the harbor, especially at dusk, when the neon signs and skyscraper lights are switched on, remains one of the world’s great journeys. There was a major kerfuffle when the Hong Kong ferry terminal was demolished, replaced by a building that is slightly farther away and built in a faux-historical style. It provoked a rare bout of activism in a city where people are usually far too busy making money to spend time protesting.
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