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Travel, Teach, Live in China

How to Spend a Week in Hong Kong
By:Elizabeth Smith

Hong Kong, a "Special Administrative Region" of China, is a spectacular mix of man-made and natural environments. With a population of over 6 million people, Hong Kong is overflowing with people and buildings surrounded by oceans, hills and forests. The center of industry in China, Hong Kong offers a mix of cultures and religions, and promises an entertaining and educational experience for the intrepid and patient traveler.

Try different foods. Hong Kong offers an enormous variety of food, including items that westerners might find alarming. Control your gag reflex and try chicken feet, congee, or chunks of cow or pig stomach. In addition to the strange food options, you can try the more palatable sushi, dim sum and every type of noodle possible.

Watch the light show. Most nights of the week, the buildings of Hong Kong put on a spectacular light show. Colored lights flash in patterns across the facades of many of the city's tallest skyscrapers, and the spectacle is worth braving the crowds.

Visit the walk of stars. Unknown to many western tourists is the Hong Kong walk of stars, which boasts the hand prints of Asia's most famous stars. Jackie Chan's star is popular, as is Jet Li's. Go at night, if possible; the walk is along the water, with a spectacular view of the city.

Use many modes of transportation. Hong Kong has a well-developed public transportation system, with trains, subways, buses, mini-buses, trams and ferries. Take one or all of them to get around the city's many parts. For maximum convenience, buy an Octopus card, which you can pre-load with money and use on almost all public transportation.

Head to Macau. An easy day trip from Hong Kong by ferry, the island of Macau is worth a visit. Spectacular European architecture and a wide array of casinos cover the island, and the relaxed vibe is a welcome break from the Chaos of Hong Kong. Spend some time gambling, and allow a few hours to walk around the historic center of the city.

Visit the big Buddha. Take the cable car near the Hong Kong airport up into the hills over the city to visit the enormous Buddha statue. Enjoy the small tourist village, which offers food and souvenirs, and climb the hill to the Buddha. Bring your camera, as the views of the city and the ocean are unbeatable from the cable car and the hill.

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