From The Peak to the Bank of China Tower, many of the iconic images that we all associate with Hong Kong come from here, Hong Kong Island. There’s not just one reason why the island is the beating heart of Hong Kong, there are several. With its mix of skyscrapers, affluent neighbourhoods, parks, tourist attractions, mountains and rural areas, Hong Kong Island is a hub for tourism, business, politics and expats. Spend just a single day on the island and you can experience spectacular views of Victoria Peak, shop ‘til you drop in Stanley Market or Causeway Bay, hike the green hills of the Hong Kong Trail, sunbathe on the south-side beaches, or explore the nightlife of Wan Chai and SoHo.
Located in the southern part of Hong Kong, the Island has four districts: Central and Western, Eastern, Southern, and Wan Chai. The Central and Western district is the political and economic centre of Hong Kong, and where you’ll find landmarks such as Exchange Square and HSBC Building along its incredible skyline. Its north shore is lined with more than 700 skyscrapers, which are home to international banks, multinationals’ headquarters and luxury apartments. The Island likes to mix business with pleasure; there’s a thriving club scene, and some of Hong Kong’s newest restaurants and trendiest bars in areas such as SoHo and Lan Kwai Fung.
Best known for its nightlife is Wan Chai, which locals refer to as the party district. It’s also a popular retail and cultural destination, where you’ll find the huge shopping district Causeway Bay (or East Point) and the Happy Valley Racecourse. In contrast, the Southern district oozes rural tranquillity. It’s home to the quaint Stanley Market, where the winding lanes are lined with bric-a-brac stalls, some beautiful quiet beaches, and Shek O Country Park. This marine park is popular with hikers taking the ridgetop Dragon’s Back Trail and the Hong Kong Trail. The Eastern district is largely residential.
Around 20% of Hong Kong’s population live on the island, including many expats. Popular neighbourhoods include The Peak, Happy Valley, Deep Water Bay, Mid Levels, Repulse Bay, Tai Tam and Conduit Road. These are highly desirable addresses where the villas and apartments are large, the gardens spacious, the amenities luxurious – and the rents high!
The Island is home to many attractions including Victoria Peak, the highest mountain on the island where a funicular runs to the peak; Ocean Park, an amusement park and animal attraction; Aberdeen with its floating village; Man Mo Temple, the oldest and one of the most revered temples in Hong Kong; Hong Kong Zoo and Botanical Gardens; and Hong Kong Stadium where the Rugby 7s is held every March.
Hong Kong Island is well connected to the mainland by the road-only Cross-Harbour Tunnel and Western Harbour Tunnel; the MTR Tseun Wan and Tung Chang lines; and a combined road and MTR Eastern Harbour Tunnel. The MTR’s Island line runs to all corners of the island.