Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China is one of the two special administrative regions (SAR) of the People's Republic of China (PRC), together with Macau. It is commonly known as Hong Kong.

Hong Kong was formerly a British colony, ceded to Britain during the Opium Wars in the 19th century, and was handed over to the PRC in 1997. As a special administrative region, Hong Kong is guaranteed by the Basic Law to have a relatively high degree of autonomy for at least 50 years (until 2047) under the policy of "One Country, Two Systems". For instance, Hong Kong retains its own legal system, currency, customs policy, and immigration laws.

Hong Kong is often described as a city where East meets West. This is reflected in all aspects of the culture, but especially in its shopping, nightlife, and dining. It is also a city of amazing modern architecture!


IFC bulding - Hong KongThe bank of China - Hong Kong

left: The IFC right: The Bank of China

The International Finance Centre (IFC, left above) comprises 3 skyscrapers and a mall and is a prominent feature on the HK skyline. Pictured is the tallest of the 3, 2IFC which was finished in 2003 and at 415m is HK's tallest skyscraper (the 3rd tallest in China and 6th in the world). It goes up to the 88th floor, but does not have 88 storey's. "taboo floors" like 14 and 24, which sounds like definitely die and Easy to die in Cantonese respectively, are omitted!

The Bank of China Tower (above right) is one of the most recognisable buildings in the whole of Hong Kong. It is 315m high and was the first building outside of the USA to break the 1000ft high mark. The unique design of this building is supposed to resemble growing bamboo shoots which symbolise prosperity. It was originally criticised by practitioners of Feng Shui for its sharp edges and its negative symbolism by the numerous 'X' shapes in its original design, though Pei (the architect) modified the design to some degree before construction following this feedback.

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Hong Kong by night - the laser show

Organised by the Tourism Board the nightly "Symphony of Lights" is an unbelievable spectacle. The show combines the interactive lights of 33 key buildings on both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon with musical effects. Some of the buildings have gigantic scrolling patterns and text, others have lights in every colour of the rainbow, but each is unique. Combined it makes a mind boggling sight!

The Hong Kong laser show

The Symphony of Lights was awarded the "Worlds largest permanent light and sound show" by the Guinness book of records.

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Stanley or Chek Chue (literally means "Bandit's post" or "red pillar") is a village town and tourist attraction on the south of Hong Kong Island. There are two possible origins of the name "Chek Chue". Legend has it that the notorious pirate Cheung Po Tsai was active in Stanley. That is why the district became known in Chinese as Chak Chue (local dialect for Bandit's Post). The original Chinese name of the village was believed to be based on a big tall cotton tree often covered with bright red blossoms at the time, hence red pillar in Hakka language. It was given an English name based on Lord Stanley, 19th-century British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies and with its lovely beach and open air market it is a popular destination for ex-pats.

Stanley - Hong Kong

Stanley by night

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The avenue of stars

Statue on the avenue of stars - hong kong

The Avenue of Stars, modelled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, is located along the Victoria Harbour waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui. The statue shown here is a replica of the one given to winners at the Hong Kong Film Awards. Along the 440 metre promenade, the story of Hong Kong's one hundred years of cinematic history is told through inscriptions printed on nine red pillars. Set into the promenade are plaques honouring the celebrities. Some plaques contain hand prints and autographs of the stars set in cement, but most of the plaques only contain celebrities' names as they are now deceased.

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Lantau Island

The big buddha - Lantau island, Hong KongThe big buddha - Lantau island, Hong Kong

Images from Lantau island, Hong Kong

Statue makes offerings to the Buddha  - Lantau island, Hong Kong

Lantau island is the largest island in Hong Kong. A major tourist attraction on Lantau island is the Po Lin Monastery on Ngong Ping Plateau, where the Tian Tan Buddha (or "Giant Buddha"), an 85-foot-high bronze Buddha statue, can be found. The Giant Buddha is the world's tallest outdoor seated bronze Buddha, is 34 meters high and weighs 250 tons.

Surrounding the Giant Buddha are 8 statues representing gods or immortals making offerings to the Buddha (as shown above). The statue is named Tian Tan Buddha because its base is a model of Tian Tan, the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.

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Just for fun

A little peek into the lighter side of life within the Heriot-Watt Waves & Fields group.

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