The famed skyline of Hong Kong is one of the main attractions for visitors, with many of its most popular attractions housed in shiny modernist palisades, but hidden amid the towering gleaming monuments that characterise the present day city, you can still find traces of a time before the British colonial period, which set the path of travel from which the city has since evolved. 

The walled Chinese villages of Kat Hing Wai and Shui Tai Tsuen still retain their outer walls and vestiges of the old Clan style and contain remnants of a heritage over 400 year old. Of the numerous Chinese temples scattered all over the Hong Kong Territories, Man Mo Temple is among the best of its earliest examples, and a haven of the Buddhist and Taoist heritage. 

Since the handover from the British to China, preservation of the colonial heritage of Hong Kong has, perhaps understandably, not been regarded as a priority, and much has already been cleared in the city’s relentless drive toward the fulfilment of economic ambition.  

Among the prominent surviving colonial structures are the buildings which personified British rule, such as Government House, the old Supreme Court building and the old Central Police Compound.

Other features from this age include the iconic Clock Tower, St. Andrews Church and The Peninsula Hotel. In Duddell Street, the last remaining gas lamps of the balustrade provide an evocative echo of former times.

During the later colonial period, many worthy Chinese landmarks were also built. Fine examples of these are Wong Tai Sin Temple in central Hong Kong, the Ching Chung Koon Temple at Tuen Mun in the new territories, Chi Lin Nunnery in New Kowloon, and Tian Tan Buddha and Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island.


With a parallel history to Hong Kong, shaped by Portuguese influences from 1557, the most impressive of Macau’s earliest pre-colonial historical buildings is the ornate A-Ma temple, dating to 1488, and situated within the historic centre of the city, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kun Iam and Lin Fung Temples are two of Macau’s other earliest attractions from this period. 

Within the historic area, the Portuguese legacy remains beautifully intact, and the distinctively European character can be relaxingly imbibed in a stroll of Senado Square, a pleasant shopping area containing, among other treasured colonial landmarks, Macau Cathedral, St. Domingo’s Church, the Leal Senado Building and the General Post Office building.

Close by, the hilltop ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral and the defensive structure of Fortaleza do Monte, also home to the Macau Museum, were built during the Ming Dynasty and are set in picturesque gardens providing good views over Macau.