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Aberdeen Harbour, Hong Kong

If a taste of Hong Kong’s mishmashed culture is what you’re after, then Aberdeen Harbour should be top of your list. A far cry from the bright lights and modern sights of the island’s bustling centre, this once thriving fishing village – and now much of a mecca for tourists – is certainly unique. Picture a traditional floating village, framed either side by the trademark highrises that you’ll be oh so familiar with by now on this leg of your travels, and there you have it. A half historical, half in-keeping with the times, dot on the map, that exposes a tranquil side to Hong Kong living.

It was the first spot of Hong Kong’s land that the British stepped foot on, hence the name Aberdeen. Because when they finally realised that this wasn’t Hong Kong city (what a mistake to make), it became a fond reminder of the Aberdeen of home – northeastern Scotland’s busy port city. But nothing like its namesake, this harbour has a distinctly Chinese heritage that is still alive today.

Fleets of old fishing vessels bob alongside each other in the choppy waters, whilst traditional Sampan boats domineer the harbour, busily ferrying passengers to and fro – there’s a lot of life in this village. Amongst the jostling junks, you’ll find a floating community of markets, temples and eateries, each one as intriguing as the other. And the most fascinating part? Hundreds of people still live on these fishing junks today, overlooked by the high rises that rear their modern heads into the clouds. We told you that it was jumbled.

Why add Aberdeen Harbour to your itinerary

It’s a place where you can peek into Hong Kong’s past, with a constant reminder of its present. The way of life here is intriguing and the heritage is certainly unique – Aberdeen Harbour really is a must-see.

To truly experience all that this traditional harbour has to offer, jumping on a sampan is practically mandatory. The boat may be a tourist attraction in itself, but the real magic of the ride lies in the way it gets you up close and personal with all that the harbour has to offer. Quite obscurely, this includes the village’s typhoon shelters.

Often under the wayward threat of a typhoon, the residents of this part of the world have learnt to be prepared and the shelters are living, breathing – ok, not quite – proof of that.

This is a fishing village, so of course what is to be the main attraction but catching those in the act that are still keeping the harbour’s heritage alive? And when you’re done watching the locals at work, a quick diversion into Aberdeen’s wholesale fish market will see you thrown head first into the heart and soul of this destination. From huge crabs to tiny fish that you’ve never heard of before in your life, prepare for an assault on the senses – you have been warned.

Aberdeen Harbour essential infirmation


The southern side of Hong Kong island.

Opening times

All day and all night – this is the city that doesn’t sleep after all.

Dress code

Casual and comfortable.

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