By Farah Master
Gleaming skyscrapers, Michelin-starred noodle stalls, secluded beaches and a buzzing night life all make Hong Kong, a former British colony, the perfect place to soak up some Asian festive fun.
Chinese New Year, which starts on February 10 and ushers in the Year of the Snake, is a time when Hong Kong's frenetic pace slows down and even the hardest working executives take time to enjoy traditional dishes such as "nian gao" sticky rice cakes.
Home to 7 million people, the city's densely packed districts weave around the island's lush greenery and the iconic harbor. Visitors can indulge in air-conditioned shopping malls, sample some of the world's best Cantonese cuisine and get fit on breathtaking mountain hikes.
Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors make the most out of a 48-hour visit.
6 p.m - Drinks at The Pawn Wan Chai(www.thepawn.com.hk/). Housed in a Chinese heritage building, The Pawn is a favourite with both expatriates and locals. Relax on the outdoor balcony where you can take in the sights and smells of one of Hong Kong's most storied neighbourhoods, Wan Chai, or settle inside on one of the burgundy leather arm chairs.
8 p.m. - Get the tram or "ding ding" from outside The Pawn towards Central for dinner. If you have been fortunate enough to wangle an invitation at the opulent China Club (or your hotel has been able to reserve a table), you will find yourself transported back to 1930s Shanghai. Enjoy top-notch Chinese dishes surrounded by vintage art and ornate lanterns.
If that's not an option, try Island Tang or the award-winning Yung Kee, famous for roast goose and thousand-year eggs.
11 p.m. - Stroll up to Lan Kwai Fong, a strip of pulsating bars and clubs in the city's Central District. Tazmania Ballroom is a good place to people watch while Azure, in the same building on the 29th floor, has a spacious outdoor terrace. If you are in search of a quiet drink, head to Wyndham the 4th, an elegant lounge bar known for its creative cocktails (www.wyndham4th.hk/), or the Quinary (www.quinary.hk/).
7.30 a.m. - Take a morning stroll through Hong