It wasn’t that long ago when Hong Kong was still a British Colony. They finally turned over “the keys” to China in 1997. Although it is officially part of China, there is still a bit of independent autonomy happening around town. You might hear the phrase, “one country, two systems” in reference to Hong Kong. However, all of that is for the politicians to sort out. What you need to know is that along with London and New York, Hong Kong is considered one of the world’s “Alpha Cities.” Here’s what you can do in Hong Kong:

Temple Street Market

One of the pleasant surprises you’ll discover about Hong Kong is that there are no sales taxes. This means your dollars, Euros or yens will stretch that much further. As you would expect there are plenty of posh shopping opportunities but for a real flavor of Hong Kong, head over to the Temple Street Market. It’s rowdy, noisy and teeming with local color. Definitely worth a stroll.

The Peak

Hong Kong boasts the world’s largest collection of skyscrapers. How many? Try 1,251, which is double the amount dotting the New York skyline. The aptly titled Peak lets you view the entire vista plus Victoria harbour. The Peak Train takes you to the top and the Peak Tower is loaded with plenty of attractions including a branch of Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.

Dim Sum and Then Some

You can’t leave Hong Kong without going to a Dim Sum palace. As with any type of vacation to a foreign land, ask the locals for the best pick. Once seated, you’ll be feted to an endless stream of dim sum dishes pushed around on tiny carts. It’s kind of like a rolling buffet brought right to your table. Try one of everything and then go back for your favorites.

Sai Kung

Nobody does “hustle and bustle” like Hong Kong, but all that pedestrian interaction can wear you out. If you need a break from the skyscrapers, then head over to Sai Kung. This is a tiny fishing village nestled in some amazing scenery. You can stroll along the beach or hike in the lush greenery. Perfect way to walk off all that dim sum.

Go Junk

From a mapmaker’s perspective, Hong Kong is not so much a city as an archipelago made up of 260 islands. Yes, all the action is in Victoria Harbour but to see the rest of what’s out there you should charter a junk. These are the motorized fishing boats that traverse the harbour. Don’t worry; the junks that you would charter won’t actually be working fishing boats. Instead, you’ll find plenty of comfort. Pack a picnic lunch and ask your captain to take you to someplace remote. You won’t have to go far before you can drop anchor and go for a refreshing swim right off the deck.

Roll the Dice

If you want a feel for the gambling life, then head over to Macau, which is the Chinese version of Las Vegas but without the deep-fried Twinkies. There are dozens of swanky casinos, buffets, shows and amazing nightlife.

Add it all up and it’s clear that a trip to Hong Kong is going to let you experience a variety of activities. Are you thinking about a Hong Kong vacation?