During my first visit in Hong Kong back in 2011 I really fell in love with the city. I promised myself to return there one day. This day has come!
So, Hong Kong. It is considered as the 5th most important city in the world. With so many people (7 million) and so little land it is one of most densely populated cities. Normally, while walking on a street, you can’t see even 50m in from of you, because of so many people around.
Hong is in a Alpha city! The home of rich people, successful businesses, skyscrapers, amazing food. As someone said: “In 16th century you would want to be in Europe, in 19th – in the US, and in 21st – in Asia”. Hong Kong is at par with Singapore and Tokyo, one of the most important hubs in Asia.
What strikes me most, is how fast Hong Kong became one of the world centres. Look at the photo of Hong Kong 40 years ago.
This is how it looks now. Quite a change, isn’t it?
Brits have definitely contributed to its growth, culture and capitalistic approach. It became a hub where the money flow from the East to West, and vice a versa.
Hong Kong lives on its own! There is a vibrant mix of cultures – a place where east and west become one, taking the best from each culture. The city is really fast paced, which reminds me of New York (Tokyo wasn’t anything like that). If you walk slowly – you will be left behind. This logic applies to everything.
You shouldn’t be afraid of language barriers, people are kind, helpful. Moreover, signs are in English, which makes it much easier to navigate.
The two sides.
During my visit in 2011 I’ve only been to Hong Kong, which is an island. However, there is a mainland part of Hong Kong city that called Kowloon. It reminds me of the separation between western modern world (Hong Kong) and easters developing one (Kowloon).
The Hong Kong part is the most famous one. There are dozens of towers, expensive restaurant, luxury properties – this island is mainly for business people with higher income. It’s fast, focused, sharp.
On the other shore – Kowloon. You can feel the influence of China here. It’s everywhere! Parks, people, food, markets… There are around 6 popular markets in Kowloon that are considered to be “must visit” spots for tourists! Temple market is great for buying cheap presents. It took me half a day to visit a bird market, a fish market and flowers market. Truth be told, nothing special, but you can feel the vibe of Kowloon there be talking to people, observing them and even trying some street food (I am still cautious with that, so fruits are fine).
Hong Kong cannot compete for attractions with Paris or London, but there are definitely a few gems. If you are in HK for the first time I definitely recommend these places to visit:
The place where you see pandas and golden monkeys. The attractions have amazing scenery of the ocean and islands. Don’t forget to ride a crazy roller coaster with 3 loops.
It takes roughly 30 minutes on a sky-train to get to the old village, where you can find numerous souvenir shops.
However, I recommend going straight to the Big Buddha and to the Temple. The atmosphere is amazing! You can feel the presence of enormous energy. Such a peaceful place.
Central Hong Kong.
I personally love skyscrapers. Maybe because we don’t have them in my hometown, but I can’t get enough of them. Walking at night in central Hong Kong gives me goosebumps. You just have to be there and witness the power of those towers, to feel how powerful people can be. The opportunity to be successful could be felt in the air.
A must visit for every tourist! This place offers legendary overview of the whole city. It is better to visit in the evening/night to see the glowing city.
Avenue of stars.
This place is very familiar to Hollywood Walk of Fame. A famous bronze statue of Bruce Lee is overlooking the Victoria Harbor. Try to pop up at 8 PM to see the famous laser show, when all the towers in HK start to glow.
After a walk in central Hong Kong, take your course to LKF. It is the main party scene in the city. If you like clubbing, check out Dragon Eye and Volar. It is better to know the promoters. However, if you are dressed nicely and you are white, you shouldn’t have any troubles.
After an amazing week in Hong Kong, I felt like this city is very comfortable to live in. I would definitely stay here for a few months. So I went on AirBnB to check rent prices. HOLY COW! It appears to be more expensive than London. For a decent flat with 2 bedrooms be ready to pay $4K a month. At the same time, expenses such as food and taxi are cheap.
I might be a little bit biased since I love Asian food, but I am going to tell you that food is amazing in HK. While there, you should definitely try famous dim sum and spicy noodles. The prices are affordable. We had a dim sum dinner for 3 of us in a Michelin star restaurant and we ended up paying $30 for the whole dinner. However, the places such as Above and Beyond (a great Michelin star restaurant in the ICON Hotel) will cater food at a slightly expensive rates – be ready to pay around $70 per person for a proper dinner with wine.
It’s a great place to visit, to live and to do business in. It’s an amazing mix of people, cultures and businesses. A must visit for every traveller.
Did I miss anything? Please let me know in comments below.