Beating out competition throughout North America and Asia, Hong Kong has claimed the title of the ‘world’s best skyline’. The large city and global financial centre is renowned as a photographer’s dream city, housing numerous buildings of over four-hundred metres and one of the world’s most well-known and recognizable harbours.
Competitors included New York City, Chicago, and Seoul – all major population centres boasting over eight million residents. With a population of eight million, Hong Kong is considered a ‘small’ city when compared to its competitors. Other inclusions in Emporis’s countdown included Tokyo, which boasts a population of almost thirty million and a larger area than other entrants.
Hong Kong’s waterfront district has long made it an international travel centre. Due to its shape and geographic nature, the small region has little usable land facing away from the ocean. With building space limited and a constantly expanding population, the city has built upwards, leaving few areas within Hong Kong Island without tall buildings or landmark construction.
In fact, Hong Kong leads the world when it comes to residential height. The majority of the region’s residents live above the fourteenth floor – an unusual statistic in most cities. Thanks to the distinctly vertical nature of Hong Kong’s housing arrangements, the cost of hotels and apartments within the city is one of the highest in the world, despite the city’s reputation for inexpensive shopping.
For urban photographers and videographers, the city’s title is certainly a major attraction. The recent Batman film – The Dark Knight – brought even more attention to the city’s skyline, causing tourists and city residents to seek out filming locations throughout the Central and Admiralty districts. From its impressive skyline to its distinct cultural flavour, Hong Kong is a city built for urban artists.
Think Hong Kong and you’ll probably think of skyscrapers, luxury shopping, and some of the best restaurants in the world. And you’d be right. The city is known for its skyline and shopping chops, bringing in millions of tourists annually with no plans beyond moving from boutique to boutique, filling their suitcases and emptying their wallets in the process.
But there’s more to Hong Kong than the tech-heavy city. Dotted along the peninsula are some of the world’s most impressive beaches, each benefiting from Hong Kong’s unique atmosphere and heavy dose of tropical heat. Better yet, due to the limited amount of knowledge amongst tourists, the city’s beaches are all but completely unvisited, offering exclusivity and comfortable swimming spots.
As tempting as it may be to start on the Kowloon Peninsula, the territory’s best beaches are tucked away on the far side of Hong Kong Island. Take the MRT from Tsim Tsha Tsui over to Central and hire a cab, asking for ‘Tsung Wan’ – one of the island’s more popular beaches. In summer, the beach is one of the clearest and most comfortable in Hong Kong, offering a pretty view of the city.
For something a little more exotic, visit Lantau Island and Cheung Sha – the city’s windsurfing and recreational centre. Unlike the beaches that dot Hong Kong island, Cheung Sha receives more wind than many expect, making it an ideal location for surfing and on-water sports. Lifeguards and safety services are present, making this beach an ideal location for improving your swimming skills.
Other convenient locations include Repulse Bay – another small beach on the city’s island. While all beaches offer a reasonable escape from Hong Kong’s immense heat and amazing population density, we’re fans of the more remote offerings. For an alternative to shopping and photo-shooting, there’s nothing better than a day of rest, relaxation, and swimming at Tsung Wan.