Hong Kong: Introduction:
City of Life
is no place quite like Hong Kong (Hong
Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of
China) on this earth. As a destination, Hong Kong sells itself
through contented shoppers, sightseers, and gourmands, who return
home extolling the experience of a few days spent in frantic pursuit
of pleasures around the perimeter of the world's most exciting
What Lord Palmerston, Queen Victoria's foreign secretary, once
called a "barren rock" has become one of the 20th century's most
astounding products. Its prosperity and vitality result from the
city's the ability to bend with political winds from all directions.
Great fortunes can be made almost daily.
About 12.5 percent of all tourist arrivals in Hong Kong are from
North America, according to officials, and shopping is still the
primary interest, although day trips to China are also popular.
With the opening of a superhighway through the New Territories,
the rest of China will become an even more attractive extension
of Hong Kong visits.
The construction of more and more first-class hotels and the
reduction in transpacific airfares also add to Hong Kong's
appeal as the second most popular destination on Asia tour
The 1990s have been one of Hong Kong's more
interesting and eventful periods, as the territory has prepared to become a "Special
Administrative Region" of the most populated country in the worldwith its own
laws, currency, and guarantees of individual liberties. Tourism officials feel that the
lease settlement will have a positive effect on Hong Kong tourism, because the city is
such an important gateway to travel in China.
"Fragrant Harbour" Hong Kong's English name is derived from two Chinese characters, Heung and Gong, usually translated as "Fragrant Harbour," though the actual origins of the name are obscure.
Originally it was only the name of a small settlement near Aberdeen, the main fishing and
entry port on pre-colonial Hong Kong Island. Some historians suggest that Hong Kong's Chinese name was inspired by its export of fragrant incense.
Kowloon: "Nine Dragons." The explanation for Kowloon's name is even more romantic. In Chinese, the peninsula's name is Gow Lung, meaning "Nine Dragons". The name is thought to have been coined by Emperor Ping, one of two boy- emperors of the doomed Sung Dynasty whose court fled to Hong Kong eight centuries ago. He is said to have counted eight mountains in the area, and decided to name it "Eight Dragons" (in accordance with the belief that every mountain is inhabited by a dragon).
The Emperor's tally of the peaks was corrected by a quick-witted courtier who pointed out that as emperors were also believed to be dragons, the place should be named "Nine Dragons" - Ping being the ninth. The origin of Kowloon's name may be a legend, but it is a historical fact that the boy-emperor's
traveling palace stayed there. One ancient carved-rock inscription recording the imperial visit stands in a small park on the very edge of Hong Kong International Airport.
Geography & Statistics
Lying at the southeastern tip of China, Hong Kong adjoins the province of Guangdong (Canton), and is just south of the tropic of Cancer. The total land area of Hong Kong is 1,078 square
kilometers, comprising Hong Kong Island (77.5 square kilometers); Kowloon (45.5 square
kilometers); and the New Territories, including 235 outlying islands (955 square
Today Hong Kong has become a great international trading post, a powerful manufacturing base and one of the world's largest financial
centers. The population as of 2011 was 7.07 million, almost 95 per cent of which is Chinese. Chinese and English are the official languages. Cantonese is the most widely spoken Chinese dialect, though Mandarin, Shanghainese and other Chinese dialects are also spoken. Many people, especially in shops, hotels, and service industries, speak English.