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Hong Kong + Macau Guide - Connect magazine


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Hong Kong + Macau Guide - Connect magazine

  1. 1. GLOBAL TRAVELLER GLOBAL TRAVELLER ultimate guide ultimate guide set sail for A decade or so after being handed back to China, the former British and HOnG KOnG Portuguese colonies of Hong Kong and Macau, now Special Administrative & mAcAu Regions, continue to shine as beacons of business and havens of hospitality. There’s plenty to do here, from sights 26 Tastes 32 city Guides 35 indulging in the bountiful China, sort of the sum of these parts Functional and savvy mini guides Go bigger picture in Hong Kong and The Canton region of South China is to Hong Kong and Macau five-star luxuries to simple Macau, from trekking the former’s high- where dim sum originates; Hong Kong pleasures like hiking or gradient greenspaces to bungee jumping and Macau are where it shines swimming at one of the off the latter’s tallest tower many public beaches. Both cities are very safe, and despite rapid development, it’s not all about skyscrapers and sky-high prices. Not by a long shot, as GLEn WATsOn reports pHOTOs: GETTY IMAGES (MAIN IMAGE); CORBIS (TOp MIDDLE); GRAHAM UDEN (TOp RIGHT) 24 connect OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2009 OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2009 connect 25
  2. 2. GLOBAL TRAVELLER GLOBAL TRAVELLER ultimate guide ultimate guide Sights: china, sort of Although they are unmistakeably Chinese cities, Hong Kong and Macau are increasingly international ports of call for business and for pleasure. But going to these melting pots to simply complete a deal or be dealt a few cards would mean missing out on the spectacular scenery, world-class restaurants and other experiences that buoy the city states’ global aspirations and reputations HONG KONG pHOTOs: PHILIPP ENGELHORN (TOp); GETTY IMAGES (MIDDLE & AbOvE RIGHT) AsIA’s WORLD cITY: Take a Hike HAPPY VALLEY: Off to the Races There are special offers for out-of-town visitors, so OPENING SPREAD: Explore Hong Kong’s oft-criticised tourism board has been The Peak, on Hong Kong Island is 552m. Many people say that you haven’t been to Hong Kong remember to take your passport. Obtaining a tourist victoria Harbour, promoting the Asia’s World City slogan for many The MacLehose trail system in Kowloon spreads until you’ve placed a bet at Happy Valley racecourse badge (US$13/$19 for major race meetings) gives you by junk years – much to the chagrin of the city’s residents, across much of the Sai Kung area in the northeast. on a Wednesday night (along with the 30,000 or so access to club members’ betting halls and trackside areas. THIS SPREAD, FAR LEFT: who believe there must be a better way to describe, The annual Oxfam Trailwalker charity event in other spectators). You can stick to the ground-level beer information: Trekking on The and promote, their home. But such an international November sees about 3,800 people in four-person garden and food area, which lets you slide right up to peak, overlooking Hau Hoi Tei pang Central and city in population, attitude and outlook is hard to teams attempt to complete the 100km route within the rail and watch the horses and jockeys galloping Wan (Deep Wan (MiRS Wanchai Bay) Bay) describe in a single tagline or sound bite. the 48-hour time limit. A record time of 11 hours and towards the finish line, or you can go all the way to the Lo Wu TOP: Century-old Visitors taking a car or the Airport Express train 52 minutes was set last year. top of the grandstand for a bird’s-eye view. Races have po Lin Monastery on Ngong ping into the city probably won’t fail to notice Hong Kong’s Visit a bookstore in Hong Kong to find local been held here since the 1840s. New Territories Hoi Ha plateau, Lantau many large, green mountains. The word “Kowloon” hiking books, such as Hong Kong Pathfinder by Martin There is also a much larger track facility in Sha Tin HONG KONG Island approximates “nine dragons” in Cantonese; even Williams, and The Leisurely Hiker’s Guide to Hong Kong (Kowloon side) that offers weekend racing and has Kowloon ABOVE: The Lady Millenary though this area to the north has eight peaks (the by Pete Spurrier. seating for 75,000 spectators, about double the capacity Handicap Race, invisible one refers to an emperor, also considered a of Happy Valley. The season is from September to June Lantau Island Hong Kong Island at the Audemars Aberdeen piguet Queen dragon). The highest peak, Tai Mo Shan, is 957m. information:, and entry costs US$1.30. Children under 18 aren’t Stanley Elizabeth II Cheung Lamma Hong Kong’s next highest point of land is Lantau,, allowed. The Jockey Club’s staff will help you fill out Chau Island Cup meeting at the sha Tin Peak (Fung Wo Shan) at 934m. Victoria Peak, aka, the betting slips. Racecourse 26 connect OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2009 OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2009 connect 27
  3. 3. GLOBAL TRAVELLER GLOBAL TRAVELLER ultimate guide ultimate guide OuTLYInG IsLAnDs: Great Escapes Catch a ferry at the Central piers (in front of IFC Mall and Airport Express) and within an hour or so you can be on the peaceful islands of Lamma, Cheung Chau or Lantau. Quiet these islands may be compared to the city, but you will also find pubs, restaurants, beaches, hiking and biking trails, along with inexpensive guesthouses and holiday flats if you feel like staying overnight. Lamma is the third-largest island in Hong Kong. The ferry takes 30 minutes, about half the time it takes for the other islands. Lamma’s beaches make some favourite stops on the island and many enjoy walking the paved path across this mountainous island towards the seafood restaurants in Sok Kwu Wan, which also has a ferry service from Central. The walk takes about pHOTOs: SNAPPERMEDIA (TOp); PHOTOLIBRARY (MIDDLE) an hour, with rest stops (there are no cars on Lamma). Cheung Chau is a small island shaped like a peanut and it only takes a few minutes to walk across it to Cheung Chau is a small island TOP: A slower way of life among the main beach. This island is home to a large fishing shaped like a peanut and it only the fishing community of community, as well as the annual Bun Festival in May. takes a few minutes to walk Cheung Chau island The largest island is Lantau, home to the airport and across it to the main beach Disneyland. But it is also where you’ll find Mui Wo, a ABOVE: Fishermen on village where you can relax before or after a hike on the Cheung sha Lantau Trail system. Catch a taxi or bus towards Cheung beach, Lantau Island Sha beach, the longest in Hong Kong and home to a South African barbecue restaurant called The Stoep. information:,,,, 28 connect OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2009 OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2009 connect 29
  4. 4. GLOBAL TRAVELLER GLOBAL TRAVELLER ultimate guide ultimate guide cITY Of DREAms: Pinch me The new kid on the Cotai block opened in June; you may want to get some fresh air before you explore City of Dreams (COD). It’s billed as an integrated resort, which means it offers dining, high-end shopping, live entertainment and several hotels, including a Hard Rock Hotel with the obligatory casino. Macau has overtaken Vegas in revenues and many more casinos will be built over the coming years, but at least all of this gambling malarkey has brought excellent live music and DJs to Macau, something seriously lacking in Hong Kong. The opening of the Hard Rock should bolster what the Venetian has been offering so far: big-name bands like The Police, Black Eyed Peas and Linkin Park. Other entertainment includes several bars, a dome- shaped theatre called The Bubble that shows short films for free, and a live Dragone show opening next year as a permanent fixture. In Cotai, however, several developments have been stalled thanks to the global economic downturn. One of them is Macao Studio City, another “integrated” entertainment and hotel concept that is set to eventually include a Playboy Mansion. The Cotai area is surreal, but then most of Macau has been that way for a long time. information:, www.,, cOLOAnE IsLAnD: Au naturel The southern ‘island’ houses the famous Fernando’s restaurant and is a 20-minute drive from the Macau ferry terminal. A historic and peaceful place, Coloane has beaches, parks, golf, hiking, go-karts, a small zoo, a nature museum, a yacht club and, perhaps surprisingly, MACAU more than one restaurant. This is a good area to be based when visiting Macau, except you’ll need to cope with the hapless taxi drivers. GAmBLInG In mAcAu: High stakes its massive gaming floor and Grand Canal Shoppes. ABOVE: Dealers CHINA Hotel options range from the five-star Westin await punters at Whether you take the high-speed ferry or an even The Macau Grand Prix, held every November, is a Resort, with its 18-hole golf course and direct access pHOTOs: AFP/GETTY IMAGES (AbOvE); GRAHAM UDEN (TOp RIGHT); Macau’s Grand faster helicopter from Hong Kong, there is much to must-see and side bets are common. Less common Lisboa hotel and to the black sands of nearby Hac Sa Beach, to the AJ HACkETT (MIDDLE RIGHT); MAG INOO (MAp ILLusTRATIONs) Macau Peninsula casino see and do in Macau. Despite the recent invasion and is the sight of Macanese competitors in the event’s romantic and family-run Pousada de Coloane hotel major construction by Las Vegas casino operators, this terrifying scooter races. TOP RIGHT: on Cheoc-Van Beach. It has 30 rooms with balconies The Dragone’s former Portuguese colony still retains a taste of its past No doubt you will also see the main tourist sights, Treasure show costing about a third of the Westin’s room charge. in The bubble at (including the world’s oldest trade, and many historic such as the St Paul’s Church ruins and Senado Square City of Dreams For dining options, the Pousada has a Portuguese sites and restaurants such as A Lorcha and Fernando’s). (while here, look for a basement coffee shop Singing MACAU restaurant and you’ll find similar fare at Café Nga Tim RIGHT: Done Macau’s taxi drivers are notoriously bad. Try pointing to Bean Cafe). with rolling? and Espaco Lisboa. In Coloane Village, seek out Lord Taipa Island Macau your destination on a map as they don’t seem to speak Top off a visit to Macau by doing something plummet instead, International Stow’s Bakery or one of its cafes to enjoy some egg tarts, off Macau Tower Airport English, Cantonese or Portuguese. crazy, like a bungee jump off the Macau Tower. AJ cheesecake and British-style breads and pastries. Note If you’re a punter, the options include Stanley Ho’s Hackett runs an operation offering a variety of thrills Cotai Strip that the restaurants on Coloane often close before 10pm. landmark Grand Lisboa casino, the Sands, Wynn, – including the world’s highest jump at 233m. Hong Kong residents often visit Macau and head Ka Ho MGM Grand and about two dozen more that are information:, www.grandlisboa. CHINA Village straight to Coloane, bypassing the glitzy casinos. It’s usually open 24 hours. You will want to visit Cotai (a com,,, Coloane a lovely place to spend a lazy afternoon or weekend. Village reclaimed area between Coloane and Taipa) to check,, information: (for Westin), out the monstrous Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel with,,, 30 connect OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2009 OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2009 connect 31
  5. 5. GLOBAL TRAVELLER GLOBAL TRAVELLER ultimate guide ultimate guide Tastes: who react to seafood. Pork is often WHERE TO GO fOR DIm sum In... The sum of These Parts combined with shrimp, for example. Hong Kong It is best to go with someone who • Luk Yu Tea House 24-26 stanley st, Central, can read Chinese characters and tel: +852 2523 5464 speak Cantonese. Often there are It’s as traditional as you can get at this historic An elegant and highly acclaimed Carnivores and vegetarians will smile, but smokers and outdoor lovers may frown when order slips to fill out or a trolley place restaurant serving traditional dim sum it comes to ingesting the Pearl River Delta’s world-class, award-winning and heart- will have signs indicating the • Lung King Heen Four seasons Hotel, 8 Finance at lunch warming local and international fare, as GLEn WATsOn reports contents within its metal walls or st, Central, tel: +852 3196 8888 pile of bamboo steamers. You may Contemporary and traditional dim sum, in a macau the trendy nightspot Dragon-i on get lucky and be seated next to an Michelin-three-star eatery with a great view of • Lua Azul Macau Tower, Largo da Torre Victoria Harbour de Macau, tel: +853 8988 8700 Wyndham St above Lan Kwai Fong English-speaking local offering to • Dragon-i uG/F, The Centrium, 60 Wyndham Those in the know say the traditional has a daily lunch buffet (about help you (and no doubt trying to st, Central, tel: +852 3110 1222 dim sum here is the best in town US$19). make you gnaw the skin off chicken Contemporary dim sum lunch buffet at the • The Eight Grand Lisboa Hotel, Avenida Time Out Hong Kong magazine feet, which aren’t so bad). At the city’s trendiest restaurant/bar de Lisboa, tel: +853 2803 7788 food editor Angie Wong, who very least, the point-and-eat method • Dim Sum Gourmet G/F, 108 Tsat Tsz Mui Rd, A bit formal, but the food is very good also co-edited the Zagat restaurant usually works, too. North point, tel: +852 2811 1366 • Tim’s Kitchen Lisboa Hotel, Avenida guide for Hong Kong, recommends Finally, some suggestions for Health-conscious and family-run shop that uses de Lisboa, tel: +853 8803 3682 Tim Ho Wun in Mong Kok, a dim sum deflowering: order vegetable oil, lean pork, little salt and no MSG This tiny venue serves an amazing Kowloon. It is owned by the former some heung pin cha (jasmine tea) • Tim Ho Wun G/F, phase 2, Tsui Yuen Mansion, 2- variety of dim sum dim sum chef at Michelin three- to go with siu mai (pork and 20 Kwong Wa st, Mong Kok, tel: +852 2332 2896 • Hero Chinese Restaurant shop 004 Run by the former dim sum chef at Lung King Amsterdam, Fisherman’s Wharf, star restaurant Lung King Heen shrimp dumpling), har gow (shrimp Heen, Four Seasons Hong Kong Avenida da Amizade e Avenida at Four Seasons Hong Kong hotel dumpling), char siu bao (barbecue • Yan Toh Heen InterContinental Hotel, Dr, sun Yat-sen, tel: +853 2872 8807 in Central. Tim Ho Wun has pork bun), ngau yuk (beef balls). 18 salisbury Rd, Tsim sha Tsu, Kowloon, This well-known Sichuan restaurant excellent dim sum and is cheap Then for dessert try ma lai go tel: +852 2313 2323 chain also serves traditional dim sum and cheerful, Wong says. “There’s (steamed sponge cake). no fuss, no views and no napkins.” But there can be long queues. In Macau, since you’ll probably be near the two flashy Lisboa hotels ABOVE: Making EATING WELL IS SOMETHING Roughly translated, dim sum at some point, go for dim sum at dumplings, to be cooked in that bankers and gamblers enjoy means touch your heart, or little The Eight (Grand Lisboa) or Tim’s bamboo steamers almost as much as making money, heart, and is like Japanese sushi Kitchen (Lisboa Hotel). Lua Azul OPPOSITE PAGE, judging by the epicurean delights – except the pieces are cooked, in the iconic Macau Tower is also TOP: Har gow, or available in Hong Kong and Macau. usually by steam. The Canton recommended. shrimp dumplings Despite all that’s new or in the news region of South China is where when it comes to food and drink dim sum originates; Hong Kong Tummy tea-sers in these Special Administrative and Macau are where it shines. The term for going to eat dim sum Regions of China, residents is yum cha, which means drinking continue to find solace and synergy follow your stomach tea. The story goes that as teahouses in the delicious morsels that Dim sum can be found everywhere, became popular, so did the need originate from here. from three-Michelin-star restaurants for some nibbles. Centuries to mom-and-pop shops and later, this dining experience has pHOTOs: GETTY IMAGES (AboVe); CORBIS (ToP RIGHT) Hunger for history convenience stores. In Hong Kong, spread around the world and any In two cities seeing such it’s popular to go for traditional Chinatown worth its salty soy rapid change and commercial dim sum at places like City Hall sauce will have at least a few places (over)development, there’s a definite in Central (a five-minute walk east serving dim sum. Hong Kong and public yearning to maintain a from the Airport Express station). Macau have hundreds, possibly grasp on what little heritage is left. Metal trolleys whiz around a loud thousands, of dim sum outlets open Which brings us to dim sum, those room packed full of tables that can from sunrise until mid-afternoon delightful little portions of meat, seat people by the dozen (at least). or, increasingly, late evening. The seafood, vegetables, intestines, Forget about cosy teahouses, large popular teas are the earthy pu-er chicken feet and anything else on dim sum places are borderline or lighter heung pin (jasmine). hand, that will tempt, tickle or nuthouse and great fun. People with food allergies should trample the taste buds. For contemporary dim sum, avoid dim sum, particularly those 32 connect OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2009 OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2009 connect 33
  6. 6. GLOBAL TRAVELLER GLOBAL TRAVELLER ultimate guide ultimate guide City Guide Hong Kong In BRIEf: Since the ’97 handover, the best of the best. The afternoon tea set therapist’s healing hands. Tel: +852 3196 the group of islands that make up Hong in the lobby is a must-do. A fleet of Rolls- 8900, Kong has been through a lot (SARS, bird Royce cars is at your service, too. Salisbury flu, Asian and global economic downturns) Rd, tel: +852 2920 2888, DRInK: Try to get a member and yet it continues to thrive as a business to invite you to the historic foreign centre. It’s fast paced and international in EAT: Bo innovation is the brainchild Correspondents’ Club beside Lan Kwai its make-up and outlook. It’s transparent, of Michelin two-star “Demon Chef” Alvin Fong. The main bar is huge and the smaller has income tax rates sitting below 20% and Leung. His small “X-treme Chinese” jazz bar downstairs often has live music. is highly efficient. There is no sales tax and creations are molecular, marvellous and 2 Lower Albert Rd, Central, corruption and bribery are serious offences. even mischievous at times. Try the chef’s It is densely populated with seven million set dinner menu, which features a dozen sHOP: The ifC mall in Central citizens and full of skyscrapers, but there is or so dishes. (above Airport Express and beside an abundance of green space. Air pollution 2/F, J Residence, 60 Johnson Rd, Wanchai, Exchange Square) is a convenient place to and water quality remain concerns. tel: +852 2850 8371, meet up, shop, eat, drink, catch a film or do business over lunch or dinner. DIsTAncE: Chek Lap Kok Airport aqua restaurant towers above The 8 Finance St, Central, on Lantau Island is 40km from the central Peninsula in Tsim Sha Tsu (TST) and business district, on Hong Kong Island. thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows DAY TRIP: Take the 30-minute Getting to the CBD takes about 25 minutes it has impressive views of Hong Kong train across the border to shenzhen for on the Airport Express train (US$13). A Island. The Aqua Group also serves food cheap shopping, food and drink. Check if taxi (US$45) to Central in the CBD takes and drink aboard the Aqua Luna red-sail you need a China visa first. China Travel about 40 minutes. Chinese junk in the harbour. Service can quickly arrange visas and tours. 29/F & 30/F, One Peking Rd, tel: +852 ORIEnTATIOn: Central is the main 3427 2288, business district and home to Lan Kwai KIDs In TOW: ocean park in Fong and SoHo bar and restaurant areas. PLAY: If you don’t want to do the Aberdeen is thriving despite the arrival of The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition usual “eat and party” in Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong Disneyland on Lantau Island. Centre is two subway stops (about 2km) SoHo or Wanchai then maybe you’d prefer It’s fun and educational and has included to the east, in Wanchai. Victoria Harbour a night of shopping amid the hustle and new attractions to meet demand. Be sure to separates Hong Kong Island from Kowloon. bustle of crowded Causeway Bay or mong visit the giant pandas. Kok. Shop until midnight at the surreal sLEEP: the Grand hyatt in Temple Street night market in Jordan (one cOncIERGE TIP: Victoria peak (aka Wanchai has more than 500 rooms, many MTR stop above TST). The Peak) offers the best views of the city. with harbour views. It has an awesome Catch the Peak Tram or a taxi (US$6.50) to outdoor pool area and is connected to the sPA: the spa at Four Seasons Hong get up there. pHOTO: GETTY IMAGES convention centre. Kong has a brilliant outdoor pool area, 1 Harbour Rd, tel: +852 2588 1234, which puts it slightly ahead of the many READ: A Modern History of Hong Kong top-notch spas in the city. The Spa’s organic by Steve Tsang; Asian Godfathers: Money and product line, ila, is sourced ethically and Power in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia by Over in Kowloon, the peninsula offers is combined with music, mantras and the Joe Studwell. 34 connect OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2009 OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2009 connect 35
  7. 7. GLOBAL TRAVELLER ultimate guide City Guide Macau In BRIEf: Gambling in Macau used prices and abundant seating make DAY TRIP: If you have a China to be a rather shabby pastime, but the ristaurante Litoral a great choice. It’s just visa, you can walk over to the mainland arrival of the Vegas-style glitz and glamour a few doors down from the equally good city of Zhuhai for the day or a few nights. has brought with it large, bright, open and but more intimate a Lorcha. Macanese It’s not an expensive place and Bar Street luxurious gaming halls with shopping, owner/chef Manuela Ferreira is said to use is good fun, with several dining options, eating, sleeping and entertainment centres. family recipes that go back at least 100 live bands and flair bartenders who juggle The trickle-on effect created boom times years. 261-A & 289 Rua do Almiirante Sergio, bottles as well as flaming objects. in Macau, tempered slightly by the global tel: +853 2896 7878 & 2831 3193 (respectively) economy and a tightening of visa approvals KIDs In TOW: If the kids are all for mainland punters. It’s still a fun place to PLAY: Gamble, let it ride, c’mon played out after visiting macau tower, visit, even if you don’t gamble. As for doing lucky seven, hold ’em or fold ’em, baby spend some quiet time at one of the many business, use caution and be prepared for needs a new pair of shoes. Once you parks or beaches, or go to the quite frustration. Things don’t happen here as satisfy that urge to place bets, head to interesting maritime museum located quickly as Hong Kong. the Venetian macao to check out the across from the A-Ma Temple near A permanent Cirque du Soleil show Zaia. Lorcha restaurant. DIsTAncE: The Macau ferry and The hotel also attracts big-name live mo, heliport terminal is within the main city, music and sporting events. but you’ll still want to catch a taxi or hotel cOncIERGE TIP: The best views shuttle bus when you arrive. The Venetian are from 338m Macau Tower. Another runs its Cotai Jet Hong Kong/Macau ferry sPA: Rated as Asia’s best hotel spa by option is to walk or take the cable car up service to Taipa, which is also where the AsiaSpa mag, altira spa towers over Taipa to Guia hill, the highest point in Macau, airport is located. with exquisite views of the City Centre. for panoramic views in a garden setting. Treatments are invigorating and wet-spa ORIEnTATIOn: Macau is divided facilities are spectacular. Altira Macau Hotel, READ: Strolling in Macau. A Visitor’s into three sections: the City Centre in the tel: +853 2886 8886, Guide to Macau, Taipa and Coloane by north and the Taipa and Coloane islands Steve Bailey; Roll the Bones: The History of due south (about 5km and 10km away, DRInK: A great place to start the Gambling by David Schwartz. and connected by roads and bridges). The night is the chic Cinnebar in the Wynn business district is in the centre. Hotels, bars Macau. With indoor and outdoor seating, cWT’s TIPs Of THE TRADE and restaurants abound in all three areas. free snacks, cocktails and very comfy seats, HONG KONG & MACAU you may not want to go anywhere else. Taxi: HK taxi drivers live off their tips, sLEEP: Macau and Zhuhai Rua Cidade de Sintra, tel: +853 8986 3838, especially if they just rent their cars and don’t own them, so try to give them 10%. holiday inn hotels are reasonably priced Macau taxi drivers are generally terrible, InterContinental Group properties. Holiday so only tip if you get a good one. Inn Macau, 82-86 Rua de Pequim, City Centre, sHOP: The Venetian Macao’s Grand Tipping: A 10% service charge is pHOTO: GETTY IMAGES automatically added to the bill at most tel: +853 2878 3333, Canal shoppes is a spectacular place, restaurants and bars, very little of which with a painted blue sky above the 9.3ha goes to your server. – Sheila Chan,head EAT: It’s hard to put one Macanese replica of Venice. It’s complete with canals of Program Management and Traveller & Transaction Services, HK restaurant above the others, but in this and gondoliers and hundreds of high-end For more HK & Macau tips, see p68 case the quality of food, great service, low shops. 36 connect OCTOBER-DECEMBER 2009