Hong Kong’s dual past as an incredibly wealthy colonial hub and the home of huge numbers of migrant Cantonese has ensured a variety of contrasting sights of interest to tourists. Buddhist and Taoist temples abound, and great mansions tell tales of the riches gained from shipping tea and silks from the orient to London and Europe. Happy Valley Racecourse, founded in the colony’s early days, is still a major attraction in Hong Kong, and commerce in the form of superb shopping and dining options draws visitors from across the world.

Happy Valley Racecourse

Founded by the Tai-pans of the Hong Kong shipping and trading companies soon after the island became a British colony, Happy Valley Racecourse still holds weekly horse races much to the delight of the Chinese community with their love of gambling. Located in Happy Valley, it’s run by the Hong Kong Jockey Club and is an unmissable day out for visitors. Wednesday nights are race nights and people-watching is at its peak. Address: Sports Road, Hong Kong Island Phone: +852-29-665-835 Website: http://www.happyvalleyracecourse.com/

Temple Street Night Market

Hong Kong is world-famous for its shopping, and its buzzing markets are an experience in themselves. One of the most interesting is the Temple Street Night Market, a tangle of small streets packed with stalls and sellers showing their wares on blankets laid out on the road. Everything’s for sale and bargaining is compulsory! Address: Temple St Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon Phone: n/a Website: http://www.stay.com/temple-street-night-market

Man Mo Temple

The oldest Taoist temple in Hong Kong, Man Mo is located half-way up Victoria Peak and was built in 1847. Two deities are worshipped here – the God of War (Mo) and the God of Literature (Man Cheong). It’s famous for the amount of incense burned by worshippers and for the colorful images of ancient gods and sages around its walls. Address: Temple Street, Hong Kong Island Phone: +852-25-400-350 Website: http://www.stay.com/man-mo-temple/

Hong Kong History Museum

The story of Hong Kong is displayed in an interactive, fascinating departure from traditional galleries at the Hong Kong History Museum in Kowloon. The exhibits cover millennia of the archipelago’s history and its ethnography, culture, eras, archaeology, and include ancient and traditional artifacts displayed in an imaginative manner. Address: 100 Chatham Road South, Kowloon Phone: +852-27-249-042 Website: http://hk.history.museum/en

Ocean Park

This amazing attraction is a combination marine park, amusement park and oceanarium in one. Set in Aberdeen, it’s rated one of the best theme parks in Asia. The complex boasts a huge aquarium, theater performances, adrenaline-pumping rides, and plenty of activities for families with children. You simply must see the Giant Panda Habitat and Panda Village, Bird Theater, Crazy Galleon, and much more. Address: Ocean Park, Aberdeen, Hong Kong Island Phone: +852-39-232-323 Website: http://www.oceanpark.com.hk

National Geopark of China

This unique natural region boasts magnificent rock formations, sea caves and sea stacks, wild coastlines, and ancient volcanic lava flows which have solidified into weird shapes reminiscent of moonscapes. Set in the New Territories, it makes for a fascinating day out exploring its natural wonders. Visitor and heritage centers help with routes and information, including safety tips. Address: Tai Po, New Territories Phone: +852-26-670-992 Website: http://www.geopark.gov.hk

Hong Kong Disneyland

Definitely the most unusual of all Disney’s worldwide theme parks, Hong Kong Disneyland is a colorful mix of Disney characters set to traditional Chinese architecture designed for the millions of annual visitors from the Chinese mainland. All the Disney favorites are here in four ‘lands’ – Americana, Fantasy, Adventure, and Space. It’s the place on the islands to experience Christmas and the Chinese New Year. Address: Lantau Island Phone: +852-1-830-830 Website: http://park.hongkongdisneyland.com

Chi Lin Nunnery

An oasis of peace and tranquility in the noise and chaos of Kowloon is the Chi Lin Nunnery complex. Although hardly ancient by Buddhist standards, the wood-framed buildings have been renovated in the Tang Dynasty style without using a single nail. Set in lush, green surroundings with tiny lakes, traditional Chinese gardens, and curving bridges, the main hall is magnificently gilded. Address: Diamond Hill, Kowloon Phone: +852-23-541-888 Website: http://bayimages.net/photos/chi-lin-nunnery/

Aberdeen Harbor

Home to Hong Kong’s most famous floating restaurant, Jumbo Kingdom, and boat people who live on their ships in the harbor, Aberdeen is backed by the inevitable high-rises but still holds a unique atmosphere. Sampan rides to the junks are offered by boat people, and it’s the best way to see the traditional sailing boats close up. For an unforgettable dining out experience, Jumbo Kingdom has it all. Address: Aberdeen, Hong Kong Island Phone: n/a Website: http://www.discoverhongkong.com/aberdeen