Get the most, best and liveliest of Hong Kong history, culture and beauty with the help of our tourist fast-guide. Just tick off each box as you go? ABERDEEN Known locally as Heung Kong Tsai ('Little Fragrant Harbour'), Aberdeen features a harbour that was once packed with junk boats housing a fishing population of about 6,000. Over the years, however, the trade has declined and few such wooden vessels are moored here now. Today, though, you can hop on a sampan from the Aberdeen Promenade to get a taste of the seafaring life and explore the area. End the visit with a dining stop at the Jumbo Floating Restaurant. HOW TO GET THERE: From Exchange Square, Central, catch the No 7 or 70 bus; or from Admiralty bus station (outside the MTR) the express 70M. THE BIG BUDDHA Located at Ngong Ping on Lantau Island, the Tian Tan Buddha is a monumental attraction - literally. The 26-metre-tall bronze statue sits atop a hill near the serene Po Lin Monastery. There, monks serve a good vegetarian lunch for a nominal fee. If you feel like a two-hour walk after climbing the 271 steps up to the 'Big Buddha', head down from the monastery, through the countryside to Tung Chung. HOW TO GET THERE: From the Outlying Islands Ferry Pier in Central, catch the Mui Wo (Lantau Island) ferry; from Mui Wo, take bus No 2 to Ngong Ping. HORSE-RACING Second to shopping, gambling is a favourite pastime for Hong Kong people. While punters enjoy placing bets on the Mark Six Lottery or trying their hand at mahjong, the real action is at the racecourse. From September to June, experience the excitement of horse-racing fever either in the day (Saturdays or Sundays at Sha Tin Racecourse) or at night (Wednesdays at Happy Valley Racecourse). HOW TO GET THERE: Happy Valley: From Exchange Square, catch bus No 75, 90 or 97; or from Admiralty MTR station, get bus No 1 or 5A; or take any tram to Happy Valley; or walk to Wong Nai Chung Road from Times Square, Causeway Bay MTR Station, exit A. Sha Tin: Take the KCR. LAN KWAI FONG Lan Kwai Fong is the heart of nightlife in Central. Once the expatriate haven for eating, drinking and dancing, the popular party area is frequented by a mix of locals as well as tourists. For lunch or dinner, there are plenty of options to satisfy all visitors, from high-end restaurants to international cuisines, cheap market-style eateries and snack outlets. Drinkers can explore the many themed bars that attract different types of crowds. Choices are limited for clubbers, but you can find them if you ask. Nearby is the Fringe Club gallery/restaurant/bar venue. HOW TO GET THERE: Central MTR station, exit D2. ARCHITECTURAL MARVELS Unfortunately for colonialists, heritage preservationists and conservationists, Hong Kong is a city of skyscrapers, constant construction, reclamation and concrete development. In turn, this means joy to the modernist lover and architectural appreciator. From arriving at the Sir Norman Foster-designed Hong Kong International Airport, to viewing the amazing Hong Kong Island skyline, lovers of contemporary architecture are up for a treat. In Central alone, visitors can check out I.M. Pei's Bank of China Tower, Foster's Hongkong & Shanghai Bank Building, the neon-lit lines of The Center and the tallest landmark, 2IFC. HOW TO GET THERE: Central MTR Station CAUSEWAY BAY All visitors must experience the shopaholic chaos of Causeway Bay on a weekend. Here, you'll be squashed among thousands of people and their shopping bags and mobile phones. The retail choices are endless, from the huge mall of Times Square to the Sogo Department Store landmark, the markets of Jardine's Bazaar, The Lee Gardens' couture boutiques, uber-trendy shops along Paterson Street and streetwear hang-outs of Lockhart Road. Bring your credit card. Nearby is Victoria Park. HOW TO GET THERE: Causeway Bay MTR station. Any exit. ISLAND HOPS For the ultimate escape from the city's, hustle and bustle, take a day trip to an outlying island or two. There's Lantau, with its Big Buddha statue, hiking trails and Cheung Sha Beach. Or head to the next largest island of Lamma for the popular hub-village fun of Yung Shue Wan or Sok Kwu Wan and the seafood restaurants. Over at Cheung Chau, where a lively community preserves many Chinese traditions, explore the local village, see the Pak Tai Temple and Tung Wan Beach. Or, for a really tranquil escape, go to tiny Peng Chau for lunch. HOW TO GET THERE: All ferries leave for the outlying islands from the Outlying Islands Ferry Pier in Central. MALL SHOPPING Yes, Hong Kong is the place to shop. So don't be surprised if you end up spending half a day in one of the city's huge, multi-level, multi-purpose shopping malls. Each mall offers different pluses, but for convenience, visit Pacific Place; choose Times Square for retail choice; for high-fashion, go to The Landmark; Festival Walk offers top local and international brands; and for the largest mall in Hong Kong, go to Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui. HOW TO GET THERE: Festival Walk: from Kowloon Tong MTR station; Harbour City: from Central, Star Ferry to Tsim Sha Tsui, or Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station; The Landmark: from Central MTR station; Pacific Place: from Admiralty MTR station; Times Square: from Causeway Bay MTR station. WONG TAI SIN TEMPLE The large Taoist temple complex of Wong Tai Sin Temple is where locals come to pray. Join the faithful and have your future read by shaking bamboo sticks out of a box. Nearby, in Diamond Hill, is the peaceful Chi Lin Nunnery, a large Buddhist venue made entirely from wood, minus the nails. And also in the area, in Kowloon City, is the Kowloon Walled City Park. This park is beautiful - and is a dramatic contrast to its previous life as an old, even notorious, village that remained a part of China during most of the British occupation of Hong Kong. HOW TO GET THERE: Chi Lin Nunnery: Diamond Hill MTR station, exit C2; Kowloon Walled City Park: Lok Fu MTR station, exit B, then a 20-minute walk along Junction Road; Wong Tai Sin Temple: Wong Tai Sin MTR station, exit B2. MONG KOK The Hong Kong experience is not complete until you've explored Mong Kok. Packed with people, especially at night and on weekends, it's both an extremely busy shopping area and a working-class residential area. Expect to bump and push your way through the crowds. Come here for the very popular Ladies' Market (Tung Choi Street), best sneaker shops (Fa Yuen Street), outdoor equipment/sports stores (Sai Yee Street), and electronics heaven (Sai Yeung Choi Street). Mong Kok does not get buzzing until after midday, so visit in the late afternoon or early evening. HOW TO GET THERE: MTR station, exit D2 THE PEAK For the ultimate view of Hong Kong, head to Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island. Besides the jaw-dropping views, there are The Peak Tower and Peak Galleria shopping, eating and entertainment venues. Tourist attractions like Madame Tussaud's wax museum, the Peak Explorer motion simulator and Ripley's Believe It Or Not Odditorium are here. To get the most of The Peak, pick a clear day to visit. HOW TO GET THERE: From Star Ferry pier, Central, catch the Peak Tram bus to the tram station; or take the No 15 bus from Exchange Square, Central; or the No 1 green minibus from Lung Wui Road near the Star Ferry pier. SOHO Dubbed so because of its 'South Of Hollywood Road' location, Hong Kong's SoHo is a thriving restaurant hub. If you visit during the day, ride up there on the 800-metre-long Central-Mid-Levels Escalator and pop into cafes, boutiques, cute shops and art galleries. From here, you can also head off down the tourist trail of Hollywood Road, which has Man Mo Temple and Cat Street antique markets just a 15-minute walk away. HOW TO GET THERE: From the Central MTR station, head to the Central Escalator off Queen's Road Central, and get off at either Hollywood Road, Staunton Street or Elgin Street. TSIM SHA TSUI With endless shopping choices, gourmet dining, hotels and cultural adventures to be had, TST is a popular tourist haunt. Shopaholics must head to the boutiques there. This district also hosts the Cultural Centre, Museum of Art, Museum of History, Science Museum and Space Museum. Take a rest on the TST Promenade, then cross the road to The Peninsula for afternoon tea in The Lobby or sunset cocktails at Felix restaurant. Also check out: Kowloon Mosque and Kowloon Park. HOW TO GET THERE: Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station OCEAN PARK Hong Kong's only amusement park - until Disneyland arrives in 2005, that is - is a sure winner with the kids and young-at-heart. There's rollercoaster fun, an amazing cable-car ride, a Chinese cultural village, Cantonese opera, a panda habitat and aviaries. Best of all, there's an exciting marine park complete with a shark aquarium and live sea-animal shows. HOW TO GET THERE: From Star Ferry pier, Central, catch a direct bus, or the one from Admiralty bus station (outside the MTR). HIKE THE COUNTRYSIDE Hong Kong offers a range of hikes - just pick up a guide from the HKTB. On Hong Kong Island, you can do the 2.5-hour Dragon's Back trail from Tai Tam to Shek O. In the New Territories, try the 1-hour trek out to Tai Long Wan beach. HOW TO GET THERE: Dragon's Back: Start hiking from Chai Wan MTR (exit A). Tai Long Wan: From Choi Hung or Hang Hau MTR stations, catch the minibus to Sai Kung and get off at the last stop. Take a bus or taxi to Wong Shek pier, catch a speed boat or ferry to Chek Keng pier, and hike from there. STANLEY For seaside ambience and charming village life, visit Stanley. Haggle and buy up on clothes, arts and crafts, knick-knacks and gifts at Stanley Market, or dine alfresco style at one of the many cafes and restaurants. Nearby sights include the Old Stanley Police Station, Stanley Military Cemetery, St Stephen's Beach and Tin Hau Temple. On the bus ride here or back, stop off at Repulse Bay or Deep Water Bay beaches. HOW TO GET THERE: From Exchange Square, Central, catch buses No 6, 6A, 6X and express 260. TRAMS Juxtapose a modern city's energy with antiquated charm: ride a double-decker tram. Sit the full run across the island, from Kennedy Town in Sheung Wan to Shau Kei Wan. The tram system is slow, old and packed - yet cheap ($2) and fun. And please excuse the occasional jerk and rattle along the way, for trams have been rolling back and forth on the island since 1904. HOW TO GET THERE: From Sheung Wan MTR station (exit B or C), head to the Western Market shopping complex and get on a tram from there. OPEN-AIR MARKETS Get the most of cheap and cute from Ladies' Market, then walk over to the nearby Temple Street Night Market for more frivolous stuff. Buy jewellery or decorative kitsch from the Jade Market, or experience the beauty of the Yuen Po Street Bird Garden and Flower Market. HOW TO GET THERE: Jade Market and Temple Street Night Market: Yau Ma Tei MTR station, exit C; Ladies' Market: Mong Kok MTR station, exit D3; Yuen Po Street Bird Garden and Flower Market: Prince Edward MTR station, exit B2. THE SKYLINE Sandwiched between a mountainous backdrop and the harbour front, Hong Kong Island's wide and tall skyline is truly breathtaking. By day, it is a web of tall concrete pillars for businesses to keep the city ticking. At night, it transforms into a neon display. HOW TO GET THERE: One of the best ways to be awed by the city skyline is from a Star Ferry boat. Ride it from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central. Or grab a waterfront spot near the Cultural Centre on Kowloon side in time for sunset. STAR FERRY All visitors must take a Star Ferry ride, which offers fantastic views of Hong Kong. Old, slow and quaint, the service has been chugging between Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula for more than a century. An upper-deck seat costs only $2.20. The Star Ferry runs between Central to Tsim Sha Tsui every 5 to 10 minutes. HOW TO GET THERE: The Star Ferry Pier is situated both in Central, Hong Kong Island, and Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. CHINESE HERITAGE If you know where to look, there is plenty to be found. Head to Lung Yeuk Tau in the north-east New Territories and you will find one of the better preserved old walled villages, which is now part of a heritage trail, dating back to the 16th century. The historic background to Kowloon Walled City Park is documented in the Park's almshouse. Chi Lin Nunnery in Diamond Hill is an excellent modern-day interpretation of Tang Dynasty architecture. Pick up tourist board brochures for directions.