What’s new in Hong Kong these days?

Well, plenty, with the dynamic destination continuously adding new attractions, further broadening the appeal of a part of the world that can always seemingly accommodate all interests.

And among areas that has seeing numerous intriguing additions is West Kowloon, with tourism authorities noting that the West Kowloon Cultural District is a growing arts and cultural hub that offers performance and exhibition centres, green open spaces, a growing selection of cafes and restaurants, and a waterfront promenade perfect for enjoying sunset views and evening strolls. The district stretches from MTR Austin Station to the waterfront west of MTR Kowloon Station, and all venues are within easy distance of public transport.

“Start your exploration at Hong Kong Palace Museum, a collaborative project between the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and the Palace Museum committed to the study and appreciation of Chinese art and culture, while advancing dialogue among world civilizations through international partnerships,” the Hong Kong Tourism Board advises. “The museum presents the finest objects from the Palace Museum and other important cultural institutions around the world. In addition, it will also lead community engagement programs to promote creativity and interdisciplinary collaboration to the public.”

Also certain to fascinate visitors is M+, Asia’s first global museum of contemporary visual culture. It features collections spanning 20th- and 21st-century visual art, design and architecture, moving images and Hong Kong visual culture. The expansive podium cantilevers above ground and includes 17,000 square metres of exhibition space across 33 galleries, three cinema houses, the Mediatheque, Learning Hub, and Roof Garden that faces Victoria Harbour. The tower stretching up from the podium contains the museum’s Research Centre, offices and restaurants. The museum’s prime location on the waterfront offers beautiful views of Hong Kong throughout the day.

The Art Park, in turn, offers open green spaces where visitors can relax, play or picnic on the lawns, and a long waterfront promenade perfect for sunset views of the harbour. The pet-friendly park is a vibrant venue for open-air performances, exhibitions and other cultural events, and home to occasional street performers, a gourmet food truck and multiple restaurants and cafes. Visitors can also rent a SmartBike to explore the pathways, or relax in the cool timber structure of the Competition Pavilion – the perfect spot for taking a break in the shade or capturing IG-worthy images.

Freespace is Hong Kong’s centre for contemporary performance in the heart of the Art Park and presents multi-genre performances and events, and showcases emerging and established artists from Hong Kong and around the world. It also houses Hong Kong’s largest black box theatre, The Box, and Lau Bak Livehouse — an intimate bar and performance space featuring regular weekend programs of live music and cultural events, and a full menu of delicious food and craft beer.

Located at the eastern end of the district, the Xiqu Centre is an award-winning venue showcasing world-class productions of Cantonese opera and other regional forms of Chinese opera (xiqu). The larger of its two theatres, the Grand Theatre, features performances by some of the best troupes in the region. The more intimate Tea House Theatre, designed in the style of Hong Kong’s early 20th-century tea houses, is home to the signature Tea House Theatre Experience — a narrated performance of Cantonese opera excerpts perfect for new audiences. The Xiqu Centre also hosts regular film screenings, workshops, talks, exhibitions and guided tours. With its welcoming public atrium, fine restaurants and cafes, and gift shop specialising in xiqu-inspired products, the Xiqu Centre is the perfect place to escape the city bustle.

The Peak: Places worth visiting at the top of the city

“The higher you go, the more you see,” the tourism board notes. “Each of these hotspots on The Peak reveals a brilliant perspective of Hong Kong and makes ample perfect photo opportunities. Visit them all during various hours of the day to take in the scenery under a different light. Here’s a little secret: the best time to visit The Peak is near dusk. You can soak in the wonderful Peak view during the day, sundown, and at night as an irresistibly alluring experience. Dive right into how you can experience the best of what The Peak offers – from shopping, recreation, dining, and taking memorable snapshots!”

The Peak Tram

The Peak is often dubbed Hong Kong’s most spectacular destination, but even the journey reaching it can be equally as spellbinding. The journey takes approximately 6 minutes, rises from 33m to 396m above sea level along a 1,278-meter-long track and is visually memorable experience as skyscrapers glide past at what appear to be impossible angles while the Peak Tram makes its ascent. “Ideal for videos and photos, have your phone ready and steady to chronicle your ascent, as you defy gravity on this classic mode of transportation” the tourism board adds. “With over 130 years of tramway excellence, the Peak Tram commenced operation in 1888 to serve the British governor and The Peak’s residents. Today, this is one of the world’s oldest funicular railways and can be enjoyed by everyone. It has become one of Hong Kong’s most popular tourist attractions, welcoming more than 6 million patrons a year.

The Peak Tram has returned after a major facelift. The 6th generation carriages will sport a retro green exterior as a tribute to the 3rd and 4th generation carriages from the 1940s to the 1980s. The upgraded Peak Tram will feature larger panoramic windows that enables passengers to take in the stunning skyline in enhanced views.

To provide a more enjoyable, efficient and comfortable experience, Peak Tramways has completed a significant upgrade project. The project included brand new tramcars, the replacement of all haulage, control and signalling systems, new ropes and track rails, and the refurbishment of its Central and Peak Termini to facilitate the beautiful new, larger capacity tramcars. In addition to reducing passenger waiting times by over 70%, visitors will be greeted by a dynamic, engaging and brand-new entertainment experience. The new experience introduces 5 engaging zones that include: Eye of Infinity, The Beating Heart, An Icon is Born, Once Upon a Tram, and Go Wild at the Peak at the Central Terminus.

Once you get off the Peak Tram, you will arrive at the Peak Tower, a wok-shaped structure that is famous for its viewing platform, Sky Terrace 428. It stands stunningly 428 etersm above one of the world’s most stunning cityscapes. Take your sweetheart to the top of Hong Kong and profess your endless love at the ‘Say I Love You at The Peak’ Wishing Corner. Don’t forget to take beautiful photos to capture the special moment and share with your family and friends!

“Should you feel like a break, even the dining here comes with jaw-dropping beautiful views of Victoria Harbour — you get anticipatory glimpses of this vista from the escalator that runs up beside a huge glass wall,” the tourism board contnues.. “American and Italian cuisine are available. There are also other casual dining outlets and cafes. And for those looking to stay indoors, shops and entertainment venues set against the beautiful backdrop of the city cater to all ages and preferences! The Hong Kong home of Madame Tussauds is also located here, with over 100 life-like figures for the ultimate selfie experience.”

Opposite the Peak Tower is the Peak Galleria. Its free-entry observation deck locates at L3 is a photogenic hotspot. “Make use of the telescopes and take snapshots of both the breath-taking views of Victoria Harbour to the north and the serene beauty of Pok Fu Lam Reservoir and the South China Sea to the south,” the tourism board counsels.

Aside from offering spectacular views, the mall is an iconic retail and entertainment destination, with personalized experiences and festive celebrations awaiting visitors. Wander through Mr Monopoly’s secret home and encounter holograms and 4DX technology at MONOPOLY DREAMS™ at L3 of the Peak Galleria, create customizable furry friends at Build-A-Bear Workshop and get an immersive experience from exhibitions of different themes at Go Museum at L2, or get your favourite candy treats from the iconic ‘Pick & Mix Wall’ at Candylicious. Look for fun souvenirs from local brands of artworks and handicrafts here too!

Meanwhile, energetic sorts will be in their element, with hiking at the Peak being a popular activity. “Winding around the highest point on Hong Kong Island, the Peak Circle Walk offers stunning vistas of the city in more ways than one. Start at around 90 minutes before sunset, and you’ll be looking at Hong Kong Island’s scenic south side in the glow of afternoon light. Set off from the Peak Tower and go along Harlech Road and Lugard Road before returning to the start point at just the right time, when twilight gives way to night and the city becomes a galaxy of shimmering lights,” the tourism board reports.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) and Cathay Pacific would like you to experience what’s new in Hong Kong. Enter for your chance to win a trip to Hong Kong! The grand prize winner will win one return economy class ticket on Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong from Toronto or Vancouver, three nights accommodation in Hong Kong, and two new Hong Kong experience tours and one admission to M+ Museum. Terms and conditions apply. Visit https://travelcourier.ca/hello-hong-kong to enter.

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