Hong Kong has definitely impressed me. Actually impressed me so much that I could totally see myself living in that Alpha city. Even though I didn’t spend too long in this independent region, I spent enough time to see the dynamic of the city and how beautiful this “West meets East” place is.
So here is my review of my time in Hong Kong.
Timeline: 14th Jan until the 22nd – 9 days
Temperatures: My first contact with cold…. it was like 15 to 20 degrees… well, I know is not COLD, but it was when the cold began anyway…
Touring: HK is not a country, is an independent region, and theres no need to do big tours. There are plenty to see but you can do it on day long trips… I was alone, but fortunately had an old friend in town, that not only showed me around but taught me a lot about life in HK. Thank you Bunny.
Transports used: Taxi, metro and bus. Taxis are extremely expensive and avoided to use them. Metro system is quite good and reasonably cheap however, a metro journey will not necessarily be quick as usually if you have to change lines, you will probably end up walking for a long time before you are on the right line. Once it took me over 20min underground to walk to a different line in the same station. Shocking. As for the bus, apart that takes ages to come and is super busy and full, I have to say I was quite impressed as people seem to have saved the british politeness and love for queuing.
Cinema: YESSSSS, finally managed to go to the cinema, it was great to be able to watch some Hollywood. Right in front of my hostel there was a big shopping mall (horror shock – they realy are everywhere) and it had a cinema. It wasn’t cheap unfortunately but still managed to go twice and see two movies I really wanted to see: The Butler and The secret life of Walter Mitty. And it is the small things in life…
Singing: No singing for me this time 🙁
Big Surprise: I have always heard how big and exciting Hong Kong is, but I have to admit that once I arrived into the big city I was blown away. And as more I was going around more surprised I was, as quickly understood that Hong Kong it really is huge. Right, this might might come as a shock, but there was a few times that I had a feeling that Hong Kong made London and New York look like a suburb, and that is quite the statement. So yeah, get your expectations right before you embrace yourself to the capital of the East.
Money: Hong Kong is definitely not cheap, is in fact one of the most expensive places I have been during this trip. It doesn’t come as a surprise tho being one of the 4 Asian tigers. Accommodation, food, and transport were not cheap but once again, is all about how you budget and how you research the right places to go.
Food: Being a veggie in Asia has proved to be quite a mission! Not in Hong Kong tho!
I would be surprised if such a massive and multicultural city would not provide plenty of options for vegetarians and I was right!
I had absolutely delicious food there! Once again I was saved by Happy Cow www.happycow.net which is a website/app that recommends and shows you all the vegetarians and vegan places around you, and found some delicious places that had the most wonderful food. I still think of some of the dishes I had in HK, thats how good it was.
Curiosity: Forget 5th Avenue (NY) or New Bond Street (London)! Canton Road put them all to shame! Stayed next to Canton by chance. It actually seemed a quite rough area until I start seeing all the Tiffanies, LVs and Guccis of life… now the thing is, differently from the other streets worldwide, in Canton Road, seemed like everyone was carrying shopping bags… and yes, I am talking about luxury goods shopping bags and not groceries… you can see easily that in HK theres some serious money. Oh, and funny thing is that Canton is not even the fanciest of the streets, at all….
Disappointment: I was expecting everyone to speak English however there was still a lot of people not capable to communicate which I have found crazy as not only Hong Kong used to be an British Colony, but because HK is in fact a world city, rated as a Alpha + cities and is top 5 in the world global cities, so having issues with language was not on the cards.
Being Portuguese: As the “city sister” Macau is just literally round the corner, Hong Kong does know about Portuguese culture. Even found several Portuguese/Macanese restaurants too 🙂
Myth or not: That Hong Kong is part of China. Myth… at least for now. So let me explain, Hong Kong is in fact a special administrative region of China. They have their own currency, their own government, their own police, their own visa entry rules, etc. Hong Kong was part of the United Kingdom empire but the transfer of sovereignty over HK from UK to China took place in 1997 and has been agreed that for 50 years only, HK would be independent… so lets see what is going to happen in 33 years 🙂
For more information, check this funny video 🙂 youtu.be
Big Lesson: DO NOT mess with the law in HK… right, I almost got in some serious trouble because I crossed the crosswalk while was red light for me.. and no there was no cars coming but in HK you follow the rules, and if is red light you don’t move…. funny think is that I usually never cross red lights but well, at least didn’t go to jail and was lucky enough to not to pay a fine. But in a city where a stolen iPhone is news worthy I should expect and behave more… it was refreshing regardless.
- Definitely being with an old friend. Once again thank you Bunny for being such a great tour guide and for showing me around.
- To participate in the Dialogue in the dark, something I will never forget – Read here: blindness
- All the sightseeing. My favourite was the skyline. Both from Victoria Peak and from Victoria Harbour. The skyline is just incredible and the light show that happens everyday is bucket list worth it. Glad I have crossed mine. I also loved going to Chi Lin and Nan Lian gardens, even tho it was in the middle of the town, it seemed more like we were in the middle of the paradise. And cannot forget another incredible sight and also one of my favourite: The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. It was pretty impressive and if you go to HK do not miss this incredible place…. but get ready to hike… after all you will have a hill full of Buddhas to explore. Oh and as Bunny says: “Only you Emma would be capable to find a gay Buddha in the middle of 10,000 Buddhas” after I easily spotted it YAY
- Realizing that I could actually live in this city that truly never sleeps
- The prices. Over all is a very expensive city specially if you are a traveler/backpacker,
- The consumerism was too over the top… there was this feeling like you should have a Prada and wear Louboutins or people would look down on you… well, poor backpackers ahahah I think people looked at me like I was homeless,
- Dirty dirty dirty. Ok, not SUPER dirty but taking in consideration I was arriving from Singapore where you can actually lick the street as its so clean, being in Hong Kong was a different story…
My bucket list:
- To see the Hong Kong skyline
- Cross Victoria Harbour by boat
- See the HK light show
What I haven’t accomplished of my list:
- Visit Disneyland in Hong Kong
Hope you liked, and if someday you plan going to HK, and want some extra info, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will help as much as I can.