Hong Kong is a diverse landscape of towering skyscrapers, mystical mountains, a harbour that glistens beneath the sunshine and places of significant religious value. This amalgamation of sites provides an almost endless supply of beauty spots available for those interested in photography.
The city bustles with life, meaning you have an endless stream of subjects to focus on. But here, we share with you some of Hong Kong’s best beauty spots to visit on your world cruise holiday.
To experience Hong Kong in all of its wonder then you simply must head up to Victoria Peak. As a prime panoramic photography spot, it is the number one beauty spot in the city according to Viktor Elizarov from Photo Traces: “Every traveller who is interested in the art of photography has his unique wish list of the locations around the world to visit and photograph. For example, Empire State Building in New York, Rialto Bridge in Venice or Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. For Hong Kong, the top photography spot, without questions, is Victoria Peak. It offers a distinctive view of the city and its surroundings. It looks stunning at any time of the day.”
Of course this has become a hotspot for tourists, but locals still haven’t tired of the vistas. Standing 552 meters above the city, this is Hong Kong’s highest peak and is a brilliant location underneath the daytime sunshine or at night, as the metropolis illuminates with a plethora of bright lights.
Designated Hong Kong’s first Marine Reserve by the government back in 1996, Cape D’Aguilar packs in plenty of beauty spots. Peter Stewart, a brilliant self-taught photographer, has a special affinity with the area and picked it out as one of the best for photography in Hong Kong: “My favourite area of Hong Kong is Cape D’Aguilar, at the far reaches of Hong Kong Island. A mere 30 minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this untouched area of the peninsula sports some excellent opportunities for landscape photographers like myself, with its rocky cliff edges, hidden caves and even the odd dolphin sighting”.
Cape D’Aguilar is a popular destination for hikers. Located at the far south-eastern tip of Hong Kong Island, you can take the Cape D’Aguilar Marine Reserve coastal hike, as you pass through Hong Kong’s oldest lighthouse – Hok Tsui Beacon – and a number a stunning geological sites, like caves and the ocean arch.
Tai O is a far cry from the modern interior of Hong Kong. The quaint fishing village can be found on an island of the same name and is close to both the Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha. As Lisa Michele Burns from The Wandering Lens says, this is a glimpse into authentic China and a traditional way of life: “Feeling a little like you've stepped back in time, the streets of Tai O are lined with dried fish, tin huts and little quirky details like garden gnomes and temple decorations”. It may not be a place to go for hours of endless entertainment, rather, it is somewhere to escape from the rest of the world and take some brilliant shots.
If you are one for following your stomach, you’ll probably end up in Cheung Chau. Serving up both traditional and modern dishes, this historic fishing village is awash with varieties of fresh seafood, as well as Cantonese Dim Sum and international flavours. It is this bond with the sea that makes for so many brilliant photo opportunities. Lisa Michele Burns was one such person who found inspiration in the village: “Cheung Chau has a harbour filled with fishing boats and you can watch as the daily catch is prepared to sell fresh in the waterfront seafood stores and restaurants. There's also rumour the island is home to pirate treasure so be sure to take one of the short hikes to explore the caves and beaches.”
Accessible via a steady stream of ferries from Hong Kong, Cheung Chau is a world apart from the busy city. On the island you will also find a number of distinct temples, like Pak Tai, which is the centre of the Bun festival – steel towers are covered with buns as people climb to the top for good luck. A truly surreal event.
Choi Hung Estate
Built back in 1962, the Choi Hung Estate is one of Hong Kong’s oldest public housing estates. The building in Wong Tai Sin is one of the most distinctive in the city thanks to its array of coloured panels – Choi Hung translated actually means rainbow, which is fitting. It is believed that back in 1962, when the estate was built, the government decided to implement the colours in an attempt to make people feel happier about living there.
Certainly now, Choi Hung has lured people across China and the world to take photos. This backdrop of eight colours now towers over an outdoor basketball court, making for a memorable game should you ever want to take on the locals in a friendly match.
Tian Tan Buddha, Ngong Ping
Standing at 34 meters (112 feet) high, the Hong Kong Big Buddha on Lantau Island is one of the biggest seated Buddha statues in the world. Though when you look at it, it’s hard to imagine any bigger. Formally, it is known as the Tian Tin Buddha and is one of the most significant statues in Hong Kong. You can climb the 268 steps to reach the summit – the Buddha’s base – though for the best photo opportunity, you will want to stand at a distance, looking straight up slightly up at it.
You don’t even need to be within touching distance of the statue to really benefit from its calming influence, nor be utterly inspired by it. The presence of this giant structure is enough. Erected in 1993, it sits adjacent to the Po Lin Monastery, which is one of the most important Buddhist buildings in Hong Kong.
Montane Mansion, Quarry Bay
Hong Kong is a densely populated metropolis, with people finding more and more inventive housing solutions. It is the reason why Hong Kong has more skyscrapers over 150 metres in height than any other city in the world. Architecture in the city has been designed and adapted to manage the growth and one such building, Montane Mansion, shows how they are reaching new heights in design and practicality.
It is a famously bewildering, disorientating and vivid sight well documented by photographers. But this is a photo opportunity that you could easily miss if you are looking down at your phone. As soon as you enter the court yard, look up. You don’t have to be an avid fan of architecture or design to appreciate this apartment block.
You can take shots from the middle of the courtyard looking straight up, but to really gain some perspective and get a more original shot, try moving to one of the sides. If you photograph from the base of one of the walls looking up you achieve a really disorientating image.
Sai Kung Pier
Asian cuisine is dominated by delicious seafood. Whether you are walking through the streets of Hong Kong, or discovering picturesque seaside towns like Sai Kung, you will find some unbelievably fresh food to tuck into.
The lively harbour along Sai Kung is a brilliant place to go for a stroll, as you walk down the promenade and pier past the floating market. This is where Maggie Lau, Co-Founder of Sam the Local took this beautiful photo:
“This was taken at the Sai Kung Pier. It is one of my favorite spots to take pictures because it reminds me to never forget where I came from and my roots. Even though Hong Kong is ever-changing, I hope that it will remain true to its identity and humble beginnings.”
The traditional market here is made up of fishermen with their moored boats and sampans selling whatever they have caught during the day. You can purchase as you lean over them from the pier, or take a water taxi and really get involved with the market.
Photography opportunities are endless here. You are spoilt for choice when it comes to colours and subjects to focus on. This is after all where the locals will get their shopping and where you can see first-hand the diverse marine life that lives in these waters.
Hong Kong is a gorgeously diverse city. Its beating heart may well be the centre, with luxurious buildings and cutting edge design, but you will find some of the best beauty spots out of town. On your world cruise be willing to venture out of town and discover your own.