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CNN reporter's favorite Hong Kong spots

  • Hong Kong has vast areas of natural beauty in its many country parks
  • Riding the subway is the best way to people-watch
  • Board the ferry from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central at night for a great view

Hong Kong, China (CNN) -- Kristie Lu Stout zips all around the globe on assignment for CNN, but she doesn't have to go far to enjoy first-class cuisine, gaze at a world-famous skyline or walk the streets of a beautiful metropolis.

Lu Stout makes her home in Hong Kong, China, a city as stunning by day as it is by night -- and memorable for its harbor, shiny skyscrapers and "unique blends of Eastern and Western traditions," in the words of the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

About 7 million people live in Hong Kong and about four times as many visited the city last year.

If you're going for the first time or returning for another visit, Lu Stout offered the following tips about her favorite Hong Kong spots.

Where can you get the best view of the city?

On a clear day, the Peak Morning Trail. Just walk 15 minutes around the bend from the Peak Terminal.

Which restaurant would you take your loved one to for an anniversary or other special occasion?

Chesa at the Peninsula for its classic Swiss fondue and dark chocolate mousse with Gruyere cream. (It's a bit more romantic than the dive that serves my other favorite comfort food -- squid ball noodle soup.)

Where is the best place to people watch?

Ride the subway. Just take a seat on any MTR train (which is always clean and efficient), plug in your earbuds, and watch Hong Kong commute away.

Kristie Lu Stout is an anchor/correspondent for CNN International.
Kristie Lu Stout is an anchor/correspondent for CNN International.

What is your favorite neighborhood?

Wanchai. Yes, it's Suzie Wong's old 'hood. But step away from the red light district and toward the Ship Street area where to find a fabulous mix of old heritage buildings and new structures.

How do tourists stick out and what's the best way to blend in?

Want to blend in? Lose the slow gait and stop staring at the skyscrapers. Walk quickly and look straight ahead.

What's the biggest misconception about Hong Kong?

That Hong Kong is just a city of concrete and steel ... when it has vast areas of natural beauty in its many country parks.

Where do you go to relax?

The Foreign Correspondents Club for its high ceilings and colonial ambience, comfort food, and extensive selection of magazines and newspapers from all over the world. It's members only, so have a friend get you in.

What essential thing should visitors see/experience if they only have a few hours?

Have a walk around the interlinked Hong Kong Land buildings in Central to have an idea of just how convenient Hong Kong is. This is a place literally engineered for high productivity and maximum efficiency. (And you can pick up a few gifts while you're at it -- a vintage print at Picture This in Prince's Building and a Chinese tunic at Blanc de Chine in the Landmark.)

What's the biggest tourist trap?

Electronics stores in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Is there a "tourist trap" that's actually worth seeing?

Take the Star Ferry. Be sure to board the ferry from Tsim Sha Tsui to Central at night, that way you can enjoy the dramatic Hong Kong skyline in its full neon glory. It's only a 10-minute journey, but it's one the world's greatest rides.

Where's your favorite place to spend a night out on the town?

A dinner of organic Hong Kong village cuisine at Yin Yang, followed by drinks at The Pawn. It's a former pawn shop that dates back to the 1900s that now houses an excellent bar and restaurant.

Are there local specialty dishes or drinks that visitors must try?

Typhoon Shelter Crab at Hee Kee, Michelin-starred dim sum at the Four Seasons, egg tarts at Tai Cheong Bakery, and Hong Kong milk tea gelato at XTC.

What is a good local souvenir?

For the ladies, get your cheong sam made. A slender, form-fitting gown with a high collar -- a silk cheong sam is classic Hong Kong haute couture. Shanghai Tang offers on-site tailoring.