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Discover the Real Hong Kong

Steven Gyford by
Categories: Asia, Hong Kong Tags: China, Hong Kong, Culture
Hong Kong is well-renowned for its sparkling cityscape, fascinating festivals and superlative shopping, three things that have made it very attractive as a stopover destination for an abrupt break. However, delve a little deeper and head to the older parts of town and you'll be amazed by the tradition and vibrant culture that await. Hong Kong is a place where the traditional and the modern co-exist, now it's time to discover the other side!

Tai CHi

Often portrayed as fast-paced and somewhat frantic, Hong Kong has an under-represented calmer side, typified by the many practitioners who embrace the martial art Tai Chi across the city every day. Developed centuries ago, Tai Chi comprises of graceful and controlled movements which are choreographed to help balance the soul, mind and body, bringing peace to each. You'll find classes, both impromptu and organised, scattered around the city's parks and quiet corners. Join in and discover the harmony of performing tai chi, in complete silence under the morning light, readying yourself for a new day.

hk tea house

During your stay, it's almost a necessity that you sample some traditional Chinese tea and, in truth, you will struggle to avoid it if you stick to traditional venues. Often served with meals, the local tea will leave a strong impression on you, with Green Tea being a regular favourite that visitors try to emulate back at home. Tea here is more than just a drink, it's a remedy. Used to aid digestion, promote good health and even as an ingredient in local dishes. You'll find tea in so many different tastes and forms you could base your whole stay around it if you choose. Better still, it will go a long way in integrating you with the locals and making a host of new friends.

Wishing Tree

For a truly stunning spectacle, head to Lam Tseun, in Tai Po, to behold the wonderment of the Wishing Trees that stand tall near the Tin Hau Temple. Traditionally, locals would come to the trees during festivals and make wishes. These wishes were made by writing them on joss paper and throwing them onto the trees branches. It was believed that the higher the branch that the wish landed on, the more likely it was that the wish would come true. Today, the Wishing Trees attract people from all across Hong Kong (and even further afield) who throw their wishes daily and not just during festivals.

Whilst you're here, visit the Tin Hau Temple and witness it's imposing structure. Devoted to Tin Hau, Goddess of the Sea, the temple is one of many built in her honour, but is also one of the most impressive.

Jade Market

Experience a bit of the buzz of Hong Kong with a visit to the Kowloon Markets, where life is lived at street level. With a host of markets each boasting their own specialities, there is plenty to see and barter over here. From the jewellery of the Jade Market to the aromatic Flower Market, you'll get to deal with real people selling local products. Head to the Ladies' Market and pick up a bargain, with clothes, beauty products, etc. on offer. Be sure to move on to the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden after for the sights and sounds of an impressive Chinese courtyard, filled to the brim with bird sellers accompanied by their songbirds.

Take in the cultural delights of Hong Kong for yourself and book your trip here.
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