Aberdeen lies tucked away on the southern reaches of Hong Kong Island. Two centuries ago it was a refuge for pirates. Later it became a centre for incense production. Later still its name - Heung Gong, or Fragrant Harbour was anglicised and applied to the whole city. More recently it was a simple fishing village. Today Aberdeen is a modern town, with streets full of high-rise buildings, and its vibrant waterfront home to the yachts of Hong Kong's rich and famous.
Traditional and often impoverished ways of life still prevail, however, none more striking than the harbour's hundreds of junks and sampans, old-fashioned boats which provide floating homes for thousands of people. Taking a ride on one of the boats is a popular activity - you will inevitably be approached by people trying to sell you a trip - but try to stick with licensed operators. Alternatively take a shuttle boat to one of the harbour's famous 'floating restaurants', vast and gaudily decorated affairs aimed unashamedly at tourists, but fun nevertheless.
Other things to see include the traditional boatyards of Ap Lei Chau across the harbour (access by boat or bridge) and the Tin Hau Temple (1851), the
latter dedicated to the Queen of Heaven (or Goddess of the Sea), protector of seafarers. A statue of the goddess stands inside the temple flanked by two generals: one who can hear clearly and another who can see clearly. Hung Hsing, another small temple at the southern end of the main street, is also worth visiting.