Those of you who have had the chance to catch the movie Rush Hour would probably have an idea of how busy and lively Hong Kong is. With a high number of expats, a quick glance at different parts of the metropolis strongly suggests that the country is aggressively magnetizing foreign investors and talents across many sectors to relocate and invest their expertise into the industrious island, just a little south of mainland China.
In spite of what seems to look like a total chaos at times, the city is unsurprisingly filled with a beauty of its own. In this post, find out my quick observations and what activities my wife and I managed to squeeze in during our very short 36 hours stay in Hong Kong.
ONE: TOOK THE PUBLIC TRANSPORTS
Flying with the World’s Best Low Cost Airline, Air Asia, on flight AK130, we touched down at Hong Kong International Airport at exactly quarter past eight. The traffic at the airport then was really smooth so we walked past through the immigration with a breeze.
Since we were traveling light and easy, we decided to start our adventure and head to our airbnb venue by taking the public bus. Purchasing the bus ticket, figuring out which one to take and where to queue was pretty straight forward as there were public signs everywhere to help you navigate yourself around.
After slightly over forty minutes ride on the double-decker bus, we arrived at our station from which we had to catch the MTR to get us to our final destination, which was only about two to three stations away. Thereafter, we just had to walk a few hundred more meters before we finally arrive at our lodging. For a first timer in Hong Kong, I was and still am truly impressed by the excellent transportation network it has.
TWO: ENJOYED THE NIGHT LIFE
Okay, this picture probably doesn’t do any justice to what we experienced but here’s the thing – moments after checking in into our tiny space and gotten ourselves freshened up, we decided to walk around the neighborhood to have a quick feel and experience for ourselves the night life in Hong Kong. Again, just like what I’ve seen in TV, this is one of the many cities around the world that doesn’t sleep.
On the street, especially at cross junctions, humans were freely zig-zagging and squeezing themselves between vehicles much to the dismay of some drivers whose honks quickly filled the air akin to an unorchestrated broken melodies. It was quite a sight.
Traffic aside, we continued roaming around in search for a quick fix for our screaming tummies. Looking for food wasn’t much of a hassle as there were plenty of shops, cafes as well as food carts close to where we were staying. And because the folks here doesn’t seem to know what the word “sleep” means, these eateries are typically, I believe, packed up until it’s time to close.
THREE: FOOD HUNTING
Early next morning we resumed our little adventure by scouting around for breakfast – yes, food again! We found a nice place just a few hundred yards away from our doorstep and decided to give it a go. Ordering meals in a local shop was a slight struggle for us as we both do not speak any Mandarin but thankfully, pictures came to our rescue!
One thing I must say though is that these guys, even when taking orders from us, sounded like they are forever pissed or something, judging from the volume they were raising their voices at. But don’t worry, they were not, they are just very loud people. But my ears…
The food on the other hand was yummy, no complain. The price, however, is slightly more than what we’d normally pay back in Malaysia. For desserts, we made a quick pit stop at a nice dessert bar and treated ourselves to bowls of multi flavored ice creams and everything else that came with them.
Stepping foot for the very first time in Kowloon, little did I know that the place where we resided – Tsim Sha Tsui is a shopping heaven. Forget about all the 7 Elevens you can find at almost every corner of the street, this urban district is actually home to some of the world’s international brand name outlets.
As if purposely built close to one another in order to wipe your wallets dry, by just walking down one street, you could almost get so lost by the amount of products ranging from electronics, to jewelry, to clothes to you-name-it – they are all there smacked in the area luring you to not go home empty handed.
For those whose hearts and knees are weak like mine, the country will be very well pleased with you if you choose to generously contribute in helping them grow their economy with your massive purchases.
Strategically, one of Hong Kong’s famous landmarks, Victoria Harbour, is just a stone’s throw away from where we were at. Braving ourselves past all the tempting shopping malls and branded goods, we quickly walked our way down to catch a glimpse of Hong Kong’s central business district from Kowloon Peninsula’s southernmost point.
We weren’t so blessed with a good weather then as the what is supposed to be a picturesque skyline was filled with a thick mixture of gloomy skies with layers of haze. Nevertheless, it’s nice to be able to just be there to enjoy the cool breeze and scenery while checking out both the space museum and cultural centre which are just around the corner.
SIX: PLANE SPOTTING
Now, this one I gotta say was easily the highlight of my trip. Honestly, it was never part of my itinerary but somehow my swift feet found their way to the airport’s observation deck by absolute chance. It was my Narnia!
Up on the deck were dozens of plane-spotters, both professionals and hobbyists – some equipped with their very impressive looking gadgets, massive cameras and lenses while others made do with their tiny notebooks.
Having an extensive view of the airport with almost unlimited visuals, witnessing every movement both in the air and on the ground plus having the chance to briefly interact and exchange thoughts with some of the plane spotters was quite a memorable and rewarding experience for me. Love it!
So there you have it – the things we managed to do in Hong Kong most of which are impromptu. I’m sure you might be wondering right now – why such a short trip? I wish I could say that we work in the airlines industry and that it was our typical night stop but no, we were actually there for a night of business conference held very near the airport, which took place about an hour or two after my plane spotting activity.
Right after the conference dinner party, we headed back to the airport, camped there for a couple of hours and took the first flight out at the break of dawn via Malaysia Airlines to emcee a wedding back home in Kuala Lumpur. Thus, the rush hour.