Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated regions in the world and famous for its energetic metropolitan area. It has a population of seven million and has been continuously occupied for over five millennia. The modern city was a British colony from 1842 to 1997.
Despite its high population density, only about 17% of its land is built up, and greenery is everywhere. It is a place of contrasts - frenetically urban adjacent to pristine greenery; extremely rich next to dirt poor; Western culture and Chinese culture. Victoria Harbour is world famous for its splendid nightview from the Peak. The central business district is heavily urbanised with skyscrapers all around, but the country parks and beaches are just kilometres away. Traditional towns and villages, as well as natural reserves, are common in the suburban and rural New Territories, including the outlying islands. Public transport is very efficient, convenient, comfortable and reliable.
Hong Kong is currently a special administrative region of the People's Republic of China, with its own government, judicial system, stamps, passports, customs policy, immigration control, currency etc. The rule of the road is different from the rest of China, and it has its own delegations to various international organisations and sport events.
Hong Kong is officially bilingual, with English widely spoken in business and education. The majority of the population speak Cantonese as mother tongue, with a few speaking Mandarin and other European and Asian languages. English and Chinese are used in all official matters. The popular culture of Hong Kong is best represented by cuisine, pop music and films. Christianity, Taoism, Buddhism, are all common. Focusing on trade, tourism, banking and finance, Hong Kong is one of the wealthiest economies in the world.