“Want to lose yourself, mingle, soak up the culture and get to know the city? It won’t be easy. Very few people here speak good English, which is strange, since it was a British colony for over a century. Still, the population has doubled over the past sixty years, so it’s no wonder they don’t all eat sausages and baked beans for breakfast.
Sometimes people can be quite rude, and Berni lost his temper on more than one occasion. Still, at least everything is written in English, so sightseeing remains an option. There are about three main sights, assuming you don’t count Disneyland, and fortunately the local version of the giant Buddha statue which is so trendy in Asia was far enough away to occupy half a day. It wasn’t bad either, and the view was good. There’s also a national park just a few kilometers from the city center, with fresh air, sunshine and all the rest. Oh, and a statue, but hardly an antique one: I think it was put up about 15 years ago.
The city has its own viewpoint, of course, Victoria Peak, which would have been great if the city below hadn’t been blanketed in fog – even from above, fog just isn’t that interesting. The day before we’d seen the same thing from the 52nd floor of the WTC, so you can see that this fog pretty much accompanied us for the duration of the trip. I wouldn’t advise anyone to come to Hong Kong in March, unless they like damp, foggy weather laced with a generous helping of air pollution. All the same, the view from the bus on our way to the top was nice, or at least interesting, in that they’ve managed to cover everything, even steep hillsides, in skyscrapers and apartment blocks. It’s good that there are no volcanoes, here, since they’d surely fill the crater up with apartment buildings. The laser show beamed from the downtown skyscrapers didn’t impress me so much – the ever-present fog meant we didn’t see much, but even if we had, I have a feeling it would have been pretty kitsch.
So all in all I’d say it’s worth visiting once, especially if you’re a fan of megacities, but I certainly wouldn’t want to live here. Even if I did, I probably couldn’t afford more than a cupboard on the 40th floor of some concrete tower. The fact is, I don’t think I’m going to really fall in love with anywhere in Asia: there are just too many people, and this combination of aping aspects of Western culture while trying to graft it only Eastern traditions just doesn’t work for me – the whole thing just appears grotesque.”
“What I liked: my first impressions – the cleanliness of the airport and the smell of the bathroom. The high sidewalks and underground transportation. The fact that you don’t have to wait too long at a red light. The cleanliness of the streets and the vibrant nighttime atmosphere in Soho. Also the long escalator, and the bars and restaurants which line it.”
“The MTR (express train) ‘flies’ into Hong Kong station in just 25-30 minutes, and from there many interesting things are within walking distance. Victoria Peak is an unmissable attraction, and despite the often cloudy weather, it offers spectacular views of the city. What surprised me most (apart from the crocodile food sold as a culinary delicacy in the market 😆) was how unbelievably clean the city was. Something we could learn from back home. 😊 (E. N., 2018)
“Some rules if you’re travelling to Hong Kong:
• Pay attention when you’re walking on the sidewalk: the air conditioning units in Hong Kong drip, and you don’t want to walk underneath them,
• Pay attention to your pockets, and your valuables – if it’s worth something to you, it could be worth something to others as well
• Eat everything that comes your way, and pay no attention to how it smells!
If you happen to be a particularly fastidious inspector with the hygiene standards authority then I might not recommend a culinary tour of Hong Kong, but to anyone with my own approach of playing it by nose then I definitely would! Firstly, I should dispel misconceptions by pointing out that everything is labeled in English, or at least in Latin characters, so don’t be taken in by the myth that a European will die in Hong Kong… Well, of course, anyone can die any time, but they won’t die because they can’t read labels. We went to an indescribably noisy place, and ate everything which was steamed and sticky. I loved it, though they also served those penis-shaped shellfish which – I think – I could never bring myself to put in my mouth, especially having seen what they look like alive.
A new, bustling, clean, mecca for finance and business? Nope, the place is an absolute hole, and the pollution is so bad you can barely see across the bay!