Part of Great Britain since 1841, Hong Kong, which includes Hong Kong Island, Stone Cutter's Island, Kowloon and the New Territories, was peacefully handed back to China in 1997. Hong Kong in 2009 is, according to A View on Cities, deemed a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China, abiding by the credo "one country, two systems."
Hong Kong is the epitome of east-meets-west culture. Well-rounded and forward-thinking, the people of Hong Kong maintain and celebrate the traditions of ancient China, yet enjoy modern art, dining, shopping, nightlife, and they prepare for the future with fine education, conservation and continued technological research.
This bustling metropolis began as a small fishing village in the 1800s. According to China Highlights, it was during this time that Hong Kong gained importance as a port of transfer when the British began shipping opium to China.
The highest point on Hong Kong is Victoria Peak, which reaches an altitude of over 1,800 feet. The Victoria Tram, built in 1888, transports visitors to the top of the peak. Situated at the summit Victoria Peak is the Victoria Tower, a "wok-shaped" structure with several viewing terraces from which sightseers can observe the city.
According to China Highlights, Hong Kong has developed a reputation as an "eating paradise." Situated at the intersection of western and eastern culture, Hong Kong residents enjoy a fusion of Cantonese and western cuisine. Thai, Indian, Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese restaurants are also quite abundant.
Hong Kong derives its name from a Cantonese word meaning "fragrant harbor." The city's official name is much less romantic, however: Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
Hong Kong supports several "major performing companies" including the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, the Hong Kong Dance Company and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. The city is also home to sundry museums, art centers and performance venues.
Solid Gold Flush
Hong Kong is home to the planet's most expensive restroom. According to Vet in Hong Kong, Lam Sai-wing, chairman of Hang Fung Gold Jewelers, arranged to have the $60 million dollar, solid-gold lavatory built in 2001.
Although Hong Kong's land mass totals over 685 square miles, approximately three-fourths is undeveloped countryside. According to GovHK, Hong Kong boasts a total of 24 nature parks and four marine parks set aside to protect flowers, plants and herbs, terrestrial mammals, insects, aquatic animals, amphibians and reptiles and birds.
Robot Kitchen is a famous Hong Kong restaurant that boasts the world's first all-robot wait staff. According to Newsvine, the robots are programmed to recognize voice patterns, enabling them to take and deliver meal orders.
GovHK states, "Religious freedom is one of the fundamental rights enjoyed by Hong Kong residents." Hong Kong is home to people from diverse religious backgrounds including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Islam.
Rolling in Money
Hong Kong has more per-capita ownership of Rolls Royce and Mercedes-Benz luxury cars than any metropolitan city in the world.