Hong Kong Pictures

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To outsiders, Hong Kong can raise a lot of questions: "Is it part of China or not?" "Is it one island or two?" "Do they speak English or Mandarin? Or both?" And foreigners have a good reason to ask them. This territory, made of multiple islands, returned to China's possession in 1997 after more than a hundred years of British occupation. Upon its reunification with China, Hong Kong added certain stipulations that provide a unique degree of autonomy. For instance, the official currency remains the Hong Kong dollar (HKD); English and Chinese are the official languages; and the tiny nation has an independent judiciary system. In short, China and Hong Kong observe a "one country, two systems" policy that can have many foreigners scratching their heads. But don't question it. Just accept it and enjoy everything this territory has to offer.

Hong Kong distinguishes itself from its Chinese brethren like Shanghai and Beijing with its vibrant, multifaceted culture and stunning cityscape. This British-Chinese hybrid astounds visitors with its striking juxtaposition of dense skyscrapers and lush landscapes. From sandy beaches to rugby pitches, there's more fresh air than most travelers suspect. And, of course, as a world-class metropolis, Hong Kong boasts numerous urban diversions, such as culinary hot spots and museums. After visiting Hong Kong, the only question you might be asking is: "Why didn't I get here sooner?"

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