On July 1st, 1997, Hong Kong was handed back to Chinese authorities ending over 150 years of British rule. Under the official name of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, the Hong Kong operates under the “one country, two systems” policy where it retains its own capitalist economic system separate from the communist system of China.
Today, Hong Kong is a major port, global financial centre, and is known as the world’s skyscraper capital holding the record of the city with the most buildings at least 100 meters (328 feet) tall. To get a closer look at this vibrant metropolis, we combed through Instagram to find our favorite photos taken by local Instagrammers.
Kowloon Walled City Park
Located in the Kowloon area of Hong Kong, the Kowloon Walled City Park is a beautiful urban green space with paved walkways, lush greenery and charming pavilions. However, this area was not always so serene. The park was named after the infamous Kowloon Walled City which once occupied the spot. The size of a couple city blocks, the settlement was home to approximately 33,000 people, saw little natural light due to its tight quarters and was an enclave for gang activity, opium parlors and prostitution.
A common sight on postcards and guide books, Victoria Peak is Hong Kong’s most famous vantage point. Situated 396 metres (1,300 feet) above sea level, the popular attraction offers sweeping views of the city, Victoria harbour, and Kowloon. To access the peak, visitors climb aboard the Peak Tram, one of the world’s oldest and most famous funicular railways, which travels along a 1.4 km long track at a gradient of between 4 and 27 degrees.
International Commerce Centre
Listed as the world’s 7th tallest tower, the International Commerce Centre rises 484 meters (1,588 feet) above the Hong Kong Skyline. Notable amenities include the Hong Kong Ritz-Carlton and the Sky100 observation deck located on the 100th floor of the building.
Hong Kong Disneyland
Opened in September 2005, Hong Kong’s Disneyland was built on reclaimed land on Lantau Island. When building the amusement park, Disney carefully adapted Chinese culture and traditions into the design including ‘removing’ the fourth floor in buildings and ensuring no green hats are sold in any of the shops (it signifies that you’ve been cheated on by your girlfriend).
Po Lin Monastery
Founded in 1906 by three Buddhist monks from Jiangsu Province, the Po Lin Monastery is famous for its giant bronze buddha statue (aka the Big Buddha). Sitting 34 meters (111.5 feet) high, the statue draws hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and visitors each year.
Fa Yuen Street Market
Hong Kong is famous for its public street markets which offer stacks upon stacks of merchandise. With everything from exotic gold fishes to designer handbags and clothes available at bargain-basement prices, these markets are often crowded with locals and tourists alike.
Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated places in the world with a population density of 17,019 people per square mile. To accommodate the masses, the city is full of huge blocks of stacked apartment buildings like this one in the Quarry Bay area.