Spend a Night at the Opera
Cantonese opera might sound like discordant screeching to the untrained ear, but make no mistake, this is a fine and ancient art. It combines song, mime, dancing, martial arts and fantastic costumes and make-up and can go on for six hours or more. Call the HKTB for details of performances.
Ride on a Junk
We’ve all seen that iconic image of the junk, blood-red bat-wing sails unfurled as the sun sets over Victoria Harbour. Unfortunately, it’s usually the same boat. The Duk Ling is one of the few masted sailing junks left.
Feast on Dim Sum
Dim sum is commonly translated as “touch the heart”, although in some establishments it may also touch your wallet. The small steamed snacks in bamboo baskets are delivered by grumpy old ladies with trolleys.
Visit a Market
Hong Kong’s wet markets can bring on instant culture shock for those tourists who are more used to the orderly atmosphere of supermarkets. Tiptoe through rivers of blood, past gizzards and buzz-ing flies as hawkers yell and housewives bargain.
Go for a Traditional Tonic
For a taste of the real China, try a tonic restaurant. Chefs whip up dishes with all sorts of herbs and spices, in accordance with the principles of “heating” or “cooling” foods. A tonic lunch at the Treasure Inn Seafood Restaurant includes fried snowfrog and bamboo fungi.
Try Foot Reflexology
Hands seek out pressure points linked to vital organs. The procedure is painful, and you might be embarrassed about your feet, but you will feel so good when they stop. Reflexologists abound in Happy Valley. Try On Wo Tong.
Aim for Everything Zen
For a modern take on ancient China, check out the Chi Lin Nunnery in Kowloon. This gorgeous replica of a seven-hall Tang Dynasty (AD 618–907) complex took 10 years to build, using traditional techniques and materials. Bliss out as stubble-headed nuns chant to the Sakyamuni Buddha.
Experience Unbelievable Gall
She Wong Lam in the northeast of Hong Kong Island is the place to sup on snake wine, a traditional winter tonic. The speciality is a fiery brew containing the gall bladders of five snakes.
Watch a Lion Dance
Lions are thought to bring luck, which explains why the opening of a new building often features a troupe of wiry youths prancing about beneath a stylised lion’s head. Common around Chinese New Year.
Practise Tai Chi
Turn up at the clock tower near the Star Ferry in Tsim Sha Tsui at 8am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and you can enjoy an hour’s free instruction in this gentlest of martial arts.