Hong Kong... the mere evocation of its name has inspired generations of seafarers and travellers. Under British colonial rule for a century and a half, the "Fragrant Harbour" lies on the edge of the Pearl River Delta, on the coast of Southern China. Restored to China in 1997, the territory has retained a certain ethereal quality that continues to draw visitors from around the world: an awe-inspiring, ever-bustling megalopolis tinged with a whiff of colonial nostalgia.
The Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Hong Kong (a 1,070 km2 area that is home to 6.8 million people) is made up of three main areas, two of which are divided by a sound that is constantly swarming with ships and ferries: the island of Hong Kong proper, including the Central business district, and, opposite, Kowloon, a shopping district teeming with shops and tourists. The latter lies at the southern tip of the New Territories, on a peninsula of the Chinese mainland.
The view, which can be enjoyed from the terrace of any number of major hotels at teatime, is unparalleled: from Kowloon, a panoramic vista of Victoria Harbour unfolds, dominated by the classic silhouette of Victoria Peak (557m). Bristling along the waterfront, ever-higher and more-elegant, gleaming skyscrapers seem to bear testimony to the will of the nation: this is the scene of a battle for economic supremacy.