Hong Kong – why it’s my favourite city

If you’ve read any of my recent blogger interviews or follow me on twitter you might have noticed how I regularly laud Hong Kong as my favourite city on the planet. Well I thought it was about time I told you why!

History

Hong Kong is part of my history! It was the first destination on my original RTW trip. I arrived all alone as a young and fresh faced 18 year old and at the time I thought ‘why did I pick here as my first stop’. I learnt very quickly about myself and the behaviour of other people during my visit.

Playing Frisbee in Hong Kong

The kindness of strangers

During this first stay in Hong Kong I experienced something which is, in my opinion, one of life’s great surprises. Less than 24 hours after meeting a New Zealander in Hong Kong he was letting me sleep on his couch in a fantastic apartment overlooking Victoria Park. It was Chinese NY at the time and whilst apprehensive at first I went with my gut feeling and placed my trust in the kindness of this stranger. What ensued was one of the greatest weeks of my life so far!

My recommendation – take that leap of faith and accept the kindness of a stranger.

Architecture

I’ve always been a fan of architecture. Everywhere I go I visit buildings old and new. Hong Kong Island is very densely populated so they build skywards and around old buildings. The mixture of old and new is really interesting to see. I love the design of many of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers but also the small temples hidden in their shadows.

 

I have written about my top 5 buildings in Hong Kong before.

Central Plaza, Hong Kong (150)

Nature

Most people assume Hong Kong just consists of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. Busy, crazy over populated, polluted and all high rise. However this is so far from the truth I find myself constantly telling people about everything else Hong Kong can offer. You might be surprised to hear that the region is actually 80% rural. The new territories and many outer lying islands offer the chance to get away from it all. From mountains, lakes and beaches there some fantastic hikes and view points to explore. If you ever visit Hong Kong make sure you leave some time to get out of the city and explore the green side of the region like Sai Kung pictured below.

Tai Long Wan Sai Kung Hong Kong

The Modern World meets Traditional Culture

Hong Kong is one of those great cities that is a melting pot of different cultures. From traditional temples, feng shui and early morning tai chi in the parks to top western restaurants, ex pat workers and the latest technology. Hong Kong blends the old with the new seamlessly on nearly every street corner.

tin hau temple

The Food

Hong Kong’s street food is legendary with traditional Dai Pai Dong,s scattered around the city. Whilst there are some fantastic western chefs and restaurants throughout the city. Street food, simple Cantonese and dim sum are the highlights for me.

Dai Pai Dong Hong Kong

 

So the above are some of the reasons I love Hong Kong. Most people I speak to really don’t share my love but then they only really stay for a couple of nights on a stop over. To appreciate Hong Kong for all it is you really need at least 5 nights so you can scratch through the surface of everything that the region can offer.

I haven’t actually visited for a couple of years but am desperate to return, so Hong Kong is firmly back at the top of my travel list. What’s your favourite city and which destination is top of your travel list for 2013?

Thinking of visiting Hong Kong? You can find out a huge amount of information from the official tourist board here http://www.discoverhongkong.com

Comments

    • says

      Hey Simon, Sai Kung is awesome so many people forget about the other side to Hong Kong and stay just a couple of nights. I hope you get their soon its an amazing place

    • says

      It is an amazing place Annie – I’d love to get a job and live there for a while although Hong Kong does have some downsides – the pollution and smog being one of them!

  1. says

    such a fresh perspective. Thanks for sharing your story! As a female traveler I always tend to be a little more apprehensive – especially when travelling alone. Sometimes I wish I am a male, it would save so much trouble really.

    appreciate all the insights you’ve shared on HK. Enjoyed your posts!

    • says

      Hi Jun, thanks for the kind words and I am glad you liked the post!

      I know as a female traveller it can sometimes be harder I think the most important thing is always trust your first instincts.

      Happy travelling and stay safe :)

  2. Kayla says

    wow, this is insightful for me I always thought of hong kong as the busiest city in the world and never imagined that kind of exposure to nature to exist there

    • says

      Thanks for the comment Kayla – The city areas of Hong Kong are very busy but there is so much more to see and discover in the region. The first time I went there I didn’t realise how much more there was to see and do either!

    • says

      Hey Kathryn – yes Hong Kong seems very popular for stopovers but the place has so much to offer it’s worth giving it at least 5 nights if you’re passing through. It’s a great city and region and I’m sure you will love visiting again.

  3. says

    I was there for a youth conference 5 years ago. The conference was so intense and we were so jetlagged that my friends and I had to take time out and recover in town. We still didn’t see as much as we’d like so I’d definitely go back again when I’m actually able to stop and enjoy HK properly. It was a good break-in before going into China proper, and I’m glad I had at least some time to enjoy it.
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    • says

      I think Hong Kong is such a cool place to visit I lot of people fly in and out on a quick break and just dont get to really explore what HK has to offer!

  4. gabriel says

    I love HK so much. Wish I could live there.

    I would recommend that anyone traveling on a budget check out Kuala Lumpur. Less expensive than HK, lots of similar Cantonese culture along with others. Great city too. I recently went to Shanghai, Guangzhou, HK, KL and Bangkok and HK and KL were my favorites.

    KL doesn’t have near the natural beauty of HK, imo however. I like water, mountains, islands and open spaces more than jungle. But still, loved KL.

    • says

      Hey I loved KL too and if you get out of the city there is some natural beauty to be found. I just thought KL wasn’t quite as exciting as Hong Kong

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