A guide to Hong Kong? Are you joking? Can such a thing exist? Is there a need for structure and a logical pattern to discover and explore this city? Maybe. The best thing you can and should do is just let Hong Kong grab you by your hand and your heart. Immerse yourself into the concoction of colours, smells, flashing lights, crowded streets, speeding red taxis, hardworking street vendors.
I am happy that Hong Kong is the first Asian city I have had a fling with. I have a feeling that this short affair might turn into something deeper and stronger. Our trip to Hong Kong was long overdue- we were meant to visit in October (high season, allegedly the best weather- sunny, warm but not as humid); due to work commitments we were made to postpone it till the very end of March. After all, it was not such a bad swap. The weather was perfect- sunny and warm. What is more, we were able to experience wonderful blossoms in the city.
Going through customs was quick and efficient. Polish nationals can stay in Hong Kong for 3 months, British- 6; no visa is required. A journey form the airport takes around 30 minutes in a taxi (red taxis for Hong Kong and Kowloon, green- New territories) and costs around 300 HK dollars. You can also take the train- quick and cheap. Well, if a yellow cab makes you think of NYC, you will fall in love with the red taxis of HK!
Monk Kong was our home for five days. The crazy, the busy, the best. Maybe it was jet lag, potentially because we were in a different time zone, perhaps a thermal shock of coming from a country with a temperamental spring to a hot and humid island. Most likely it was the fact of being out of my comfort zone, transported to a new city. Hong Kong – you got me confused and perplexed! I did not know what to think when we ventured out on a Sunday afternoon into a plethora of street vendors selling virtually anything from fresh ginger, pork ears, grilled geese, fish, dragon fruit, bubble tea to flowers, clothes, live animals.
There are two main islands- Hong Kong and Kowloon. Both mesmerising and captivating but different. Hong Kong reminds me me more of the West, Kowloon dazzles with the exciting East. Since our hotel was on the latter, we took a stroll in the sun on the Sunday afternoon to get our bearings in the neighbourhood. Kowloon is the area of high rise flat, construction work going on everywhere and home to thousands of people- it is the most populated area of Hong Kong, Strangely, our walk towards International Commerce Centre with the highest indoor observation deck in Hong Kong was calm and not hectic at all. It all looked even calmer from the 100th floor of the tower. The building- home to many shops and eateries as well as a skating rink- offers panoramic views of Hong Kong. It all looked calm, covered in blue mist. Peaceful. The ticket is around £18 and a 60 second ride up the tower are definitely worth it.
By the time we got back to our hotel, the dusk started to settle over Kowloon and that was when the explosion of colours and night light happened. Quite unexpected. Quite exciting. We meandered through busy streets, alleys, shortcuts. Even delicious espresso and matcha fusion did not suffice. We surrendered to jet lag. But hungry and curious to see see more.