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24/09/2013

Things to do on Hong Kong Island

1. Hong Kong Park Observation Tower

In a mountainous city like HK, you're never at a loss for finding places to give you spectacular views of the metropolis or the bay. Nevertheless, HK is a beautiful city, and all of the opportunities that you might have are worth exploiting. One such opportunity is the observation tower in HK Park, which is not terribly high, but still gives you a good view of the park and the surrounding buildings for your travel to Hong Kong.

2. The Ka Lo Gallery

The Ka Lo Gallery is one of several cultural monuments and institutions inside the Hong Kong Park. It is a small gallery that also has a fancy tea room on the ground floor, for those who feel so inclined as to sample some fine tea. The upstairs of the gallery is a one-room exhibition of pottery and carvings from the various Chinese dynasties. There are wonderful descriptions of what makes each type of pottery unique, as well as the evolution of the art under the various emporers. The centre of the exhibition hall has case after case of stamps - not the mailing kind, but the ones used to sign and seal documents for official purposes. Without a knowledge of Chinese characters, it is rather difficult to understand the beauty of the crafted iconographs, but you can still appreciate the intricate and delicate carvings, as well as the evolution of the manufacture of such implements. It is an option among Hong Kong tourist attractions.

3. Hong Kong Park SARS Memorial

SARS, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, was a rapidly-spreading respiratory illness that claimed the lives of hundreds of people in HK, China, Taiwan and Canada. I realize that it probably doesn't have a huge impact on the memories of many people around the world, but the mention of SARS for people in HK or Toronto evokes a period in our joint history when the cities were gripped by a fear of hospitals and public places, lest people become infected with a horrible illness that appeared to destroy the respiratory tracks and organs of victims. The syndrome was not immediately identified for what it was, and many of the first responders who treated the initial wave of patients succoumbed to the illness as well. In HK, those doctors and nurses who died while fighting SARS are immortalized in a memorial in the HK Park, with busts of the individuals on display in the middle of a reflection garden that is filled with light and hope. It is a fairly secluded part of the green space, perfect for meditation, but not really the best location for a monument that should also try to remind people of the mistakes that were made that allowed SARS to get out of control.

4. Hong Kong Park Open-Air Aviary

The Open-Air Aviary is, by far, the most spectacular aviary and zoological exhibit that I have seen in either Hong Kong or any other place in the world. It is a huge area covered with a large net in which dozens of different species of birds fly free. The birds are all a fairly small size, as they cannot be two large so as not to pose a threat to any of the children or adults who visit the attraction. Still, it is an incredible experience to be amongst so many different beautiful species of fowl, flying about your head and brazenly coming up to the visitors to have Hong Kong tours. The birds are fed by the keepers of the aviary, who leave colour papaya and melon chunks to attract the more timid creatures. This hot spots of fruit provide perfect areas for you to get great shots of the birds as they calmly munch away. There are sign posts throughout the aviary that give information about the various species of bird in the aviary, but it is sometimes hard to use them effectively, as the birds do not stay still in the same area as the description. Nevertheless, it's not the description or the strictly educational aspect of the attraction that is likely to keep you here - it is more the awesome area of colour and sound that you can take part in that will keep you snapping photo after photo.

5. Hong Kong Park Aviary

The Hong Kong Park Aviary is not the best aviary in HK, but luckily it has a nearby brother that tops anything else that I've ever seen. This aviary is probably the older of the two, and is pretty standard in its design. There are plenty of exotic birds that are caged, usually with at least two of each species on display. The organizers of the aviary have provided excellent descriptions of the birds and their habits, including the mating habits and the peculiarities of the species. There are only about 10 or so cages here, as the majority of the park's "collection" of rare and exotic birds are in the other aviary. Nevertheless, this part of the Hong Kong Park is well worth the visit, as it includes many large birds that could not otherwise be displayed in the open-air aviary that is found just beside the traditional one.

If you have plan to visit China, please consider Hong Kong in your affordable China travel packages.

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