Hong Kong, translating to “fragrant harbour,” is a place with multiple personalities, as a result of being Cantonese Chinese with a long-time British influence. Today, the former British colony is a major tourism destination for China’s increasingly affluent population. It is also an important travel hub with a world class airport which connects to many world class cities. It is a unique destination that has absorbed people and cultural influences from places as diverse as Vietnam and Vancouver.
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of The People’s Republic of China is much more than a harbor city. I spent five days living in Kowloon just a few minutes walk from the Hong Kong Art Gallery. I stayed at the very sketchy Chungking Hostel which is a 20 story building filled with the cities most “affordable accommodation.” Many of the people who live here are laborers from Africa and India. I had booked a bunk room and had to fight with the owner of the hostel a bit as he was being a bit of a snake. In the end I had to pay $15 a night for a room which I shared with a nice Austrian guy. It was definitely a shock coming from four months in the Asian tropics to arrive in cold Hong Kong in the month of March.
I have to first and foremost thank Winnie Chan (a friend from University) who was born and bread in HK. She toured me around the cities best neighbourhoods and took me to the cities most famous dim sum restaurant (which I would never have been able to order at by myself!) I became obsessed with traditional Hong Kong BBQ and literally ate this hanging glistening meet twice a day. My favorite being BBQ Honey Pork, Roast Duck, Roast Goose and Suckling Pig! I certainly enjoyed being in a very posh atmosphere and spent a few hours a day checking out the amazing fashion scene in HK.
The city has a famous light show every night at the Boardwalk to the Stars, where Hong Kong’s most famous actors are enshrined in a Chinese Hollywood (Bruce Lee statue snapshot opportunity!) On the weekend Winnie took me shopping to the famous street markets in town where they sell flowers, bagged rare fish and ornamental birds which was unforgettable. I spent one of my days alone taking a trip to the Island of Lantau where I visited the famous massive Tian Tan Buddha which is the worlds largest seated bronze Buddha. I got there by taking the Ngong Ping 360 which is a 5.7km cable car journey that takes in an impressive cultural themed village and beautiful views of the more rural HK.
The Hong Kong Art Gallery also had a great collection of Chinese antiques as well as more modern creations. Victoria Peak and its stuttering funicular allow for the best views of this cities sky scrapers and harbor. The Temple of Ten Thousand Buddha’s requires a good pair of shoes and a rather well maintained physique as it involves a pretty serious, well worth the effort. Ten Thousand rather comic depictions of Buddha and other monks line the path to the cities highest elevated temple.
Hong Kong is fantastic with its wild nightlife, plenty of cultural pursuits, great walking trails, beautiful views and delicious food!
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