Experience the energy of Hong Kong

Honk Kong is one of the most fast-paced and frenzied cities in the world, with buildings stacked high and people everywhere - but that's part of what gives it its unique charm. As part of the British Empire for just over 150 years (it only returned to Chinese ownership in 1997) it developed into a key business centre for western interests in Asia, and remains a thriving metropolis where west and east collide culturally.

Despite Hong Kong measuring just 430 square miles, the high-rise buildings and narrow streets mean there is so much to see and do, and the hustle and bustle of the city really gets to you - it should be towards the top of any traveller's list of destinations. What's more, hotels to suit any price all have to be crammed into this small area, so even if you're on a budget you're never far from the action.

If you want to see what Hong Kong is all about you simply have to throw yourself in there and explore, but when the pace gets too much, here are some places you can head to collect your thoughts:

The Peak
When Hong Kong Island got too busy for the rich, they moved to The Peak, the high hill overlooking the bay, where the air was a little fresher and the noise a little more muted. It is still a neighbourhood for the well-to-do, but is now home to a visitor centre where you can look out on the water and watch Hong Kong Island at work. It's even more impressive at night, as the lights of the city twinkle on the waves.

Po Lin Monastery
The Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island is a refuge at the top of 268 steps, where you can relax and listen to the birds in the beautiful gardens or gaze at the fine Buddhist iconography - as well as the giant 34-metre-high Buddha statue that has sat above it for the last 20 years.

Ocean Park
Hong Kong now has its own Disneyland, but for something a little less common, try out Ocean Park, where the rides are complemented - and sometimes even combined - with marine life enclosures. You can try the rollercoasters or go on a bobsled ride, but there are few things quite as relaxing as watching penguins waddling along and splashing around in the water.

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