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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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