Enjoy Hong Kong cuisine and history on summer tour

Q and A

Q&a

August 06, 2006|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

We're planning to visit Hong Kong this summer, although I know it's going to be terribly hot. Can you recommend things to do and see?

Summer (June to mid-September) is hot and humid - in the lower 80s in temperature and humidity - but there is often a cool breeze.

Hong Kong is a divided city: Whether you stay on the island or the Kowloon (mainland) side of Victoria Harbor - 10 minutes away on the Star Ferry - can determine how you experience it.

The Central District is the original Colonial and economic hub of the island, tightly packed with high-rise hotels, banks, offices, a multistory shopping mall and a galaxy of bars and restaurants. Hotel restaurants offer some of the best cuisine in Hong Kong and are popular with local residents; the ultimate for French food is Gaddi's at the Peninsula (852-2315-3171; hongkong.peninsula.com) and Petrus at the Island Shangri-La (852-2820-8590; shangri-la.com); for Chinese food try Yan Toh Heen at the InterContinental (852-2721-1211; intercontinental.com).

Lantau, the largest island, is 35 minutes by hovercraft. There are hillside Taoist temples that include the Po Lin Monastery and the Big Buddha, which weighs as much as a jumbo jet; ancient fishing villages built on stilts; miles of fine beaches; and an opportunity to track down rare and endangered pink dolphins on boat excursions.

Kowloon is the best place to view the spectacular neon-lighted island skyline and find shopping bargains.

Two of the best guides are Time Out and Rough Guides. The Rough Guide to Hong Kong and Macau lists "25 things not to miss" that include a dim sum lunch; a tram ride up Victoria Peak (1,817 feet); a night at the Cantonese Opera; Temple Street Night Market with stalls and street restaurants; a tram ride from Central to Causeway Bay; and Wong Tai Sin Temple in Kowloon. Visit the Hong Kong Tourism Board (hkta.org) for information.

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