Your entry to the real Hong Kong

Whether you’re a local or an expat, you’ve probably done your fair share of sightseeing and playing tour guide to the myriad family members and friends who’ve popped over to experience the joys of the territory.

You’ll have been up and down Victoria Peak a thousand times and taken more trips on the Star Ferry than you care to remember but take our word for it, the ‘real’ Hong Kong has a lot more to offer.

To be sure you’re not missing out, we’ve put together a list of traditional pastimes that you may not have experienced. Forget the obvious attractions, we’ve got some of Hong Kong’s oldest secrets to share with you.

Play mahjong

The Chinese multiplayer tile game of mahjong has been around for thousands of years, so why not try your hand at the city’s official sport. Similar to the Western card game rummy, mahjong is a game of skill, strategy and calculation, with a healthy degree of chance thrown in. It’s commonly played by groups of four, with a set of 144 tiles emblazoned with Chinese characters and symbols. Ask your grandmother to teach you, or head to one of the many mahjong schools dotted around town.

Eat snake soup

Snake soup is served in specialist restaurants found primarily in Sham Shui Po and Kowloon City. It’s a traditional winter warmer, long lauded in Chinese culture for its alleged medicinal benefits and high nutritional value. While the soup tastes slightly sweet because of the addition of chrysanthemum leaves and spices, the snake meat resembles chicken in both texture and taste. Are you brave enough to try it?

Take a Tai Chi class

The ancient and graceful art of Tai Chi is a timeless tradition you can see being practiced across Hong Kong, as the sun rises each day. The fluid movements are said to be healing for both the body and mind. Perhaps it’s time to exhale and learn how to balance your inner Yin and Yang.

Visit a tailor

The legacy of colonialism, plus thriving demand from the business sector, makes Hong Kong a very competitive place to purchase tailor-made garments of all types. Don’t miss your chance to get that perfect-fit designer copy dress, business suit or custom gown. There are made-to-measure options for a variety of budgets, just be sure to base your choice of tailor on a friend’s recommendation.

Join a dragon boat team

Dragon boating is an age-old Chinese tradition that has transformed itself into a fiercely fun, modern-day watersport. Why not join in the festive revelry and get fit at the same time. Training for the major races in June starts as early as February, and there are dragon boat clubs are all over the city.

Meditate in a monastery

There are many temples across Hong Kong worth visiting, but did you know you can attend meditation retreats at them too? At Po Lin Monastery on the Ngong Ping Plateau, you can brush up on your Buddhism before sitting with the monks, who will guide you on a journey to inner peace.

Contributed by www.thehkhub.com

Need to buy something but not sure where to find it? Heading out for the day but not sure where to go? Looking for a great restaurant on Hong Kong Island? Life on Lantau has teamed up with The HK Hub, your one-stop guide to all things Hong Kong. Visit www.thehkhub.com.