A Quick Escape

My first 4 days weekend since being in Busan and of course I decided to take advantage of it!
I’ve never really had a desire to visit Hong Kong but finally my frequent flier miles have accumulated for a free flight plus a few co-workers were also heading to the island for a conference, so what better time to go than right now?!

dim sum

Luckily I was able to couchsurf in Hong Kong where apartments are about the same size as they are in Korea, but before I met my host I met another HK couchsurfer who took me for some dim sum and escorted me to ‘the Peak’. We took the tram up the mountain which is the wealthy residential area of Hong Kong. The tram literally goes up the mountain vertically and as you rise you realize how this bustling city is really just an island. Truthfully the peak is more of a tourist trap than anything else. Once you get to the top you have to pay extra to go to the viewing area where you get the full, unobstructed view which is really a load of crap with all the smog. The view is never clear.
the peak tram

The downtown area of Hong Kong (near Central station) is a lot like any major city: busy! But if there is one word to describe Hong Kong it would be ‘shopping mall’ (ok 2 words!). Everywhere you go, you need to go thru a shopping center or some sort of commercial area. Designer brands flood the city along with markets galore! Definitely a shopper’s heaven. In this way it reminded me a lot of downtown Toronto and how all the subway stations are connected in some way to shopping areas. Plus the financial industry dominates so there is a mix of people creating a multicultural community who are in suits strutting the streets. It was a bizarre feeling, I might as well have been on Bay Street! Overall my first day in Hong Kong just felt like spending a day at Pacific Mall – Asians speaking English fluently, plus all the delicious Cantonese foods I’m used to from home, not the authentic stuff you get in mainland China.

At night I went to Victoria harbour to check out the infamous night skyline that Hong Kong is most known for. The view is the best from the Avenue of the Stars which is the HK version of the walk of fame, except it honors Hong Kongers in the film industry. The light show happens here daily at 8pm and it was quite the disappointment. The view of the harbour as you approach it on the Star ferry is incredible, and it’s quite cool to be on the ferry that is part of HK history.

the ‘view’

The harbour is also much closer now to the Kowloon side than it used to be years ago. This is due to the amounts of reclaimed that has been added. I feel that at some point in the future perhaps this harbour won’t even exist.

Hong Kong is different in that it’s quite historic yet so modern at the same time. It’s a small place but with loads to do and see so I was feeling quite overwhelmed. Of course I wanted to do it all but at the end of the first day I had mixed emotions about the place. It was somewhere I could live BUT it lacked authentic culture. Every other person spoke with a British accent; it seems the British never really did leave their colony.

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One thought on “A Quick Escape

  1. There's plenty of authentic culture in Hong Kong, but you have to go outside of the tourist traps and expat ghettos to experience it. You don't have to go that far either. You'll already find places in Wanchai and Western District where few foreigners go. Venture into the backstreets of districts outside of Central, Mid-Levels, Admiralty, Wanchai, Causeway Bay, Tsim Sha Tsui, and Stanley. Go to Diamond Hill in Kowloon, for example, and you will have people stare at you, like in China.

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