From 2003 until 2006, Hong Kong was my home. The above pic is one from my collection. It was taken from TST (Tsim Sha Tsui) one beautiful afternoon. The afternoon is such a gorgeous time in Hong Kong, when the sun drops behind The Peak and all the twinkling lights begin to appear. Hong Kong is just magical at night.
I moved to Hong Kong as a step of faith in October 2003. And to be completely honest with you, I didn’t really like the place to begin with. I think travelling to a city is very different to moving there. If you’re travelling, you’re in a hotel.. you’re sightseeing everyday.. seeing different things.. eating at amazing restaurants.. going up to The Peak.. shopping at Causeway Bay.. or taking the Star Ferry across to TST a million times and back because it’s just so cheap. And because you can.
When you’re travelling, your life is somewhere else. But when you move somewhere, that’s it. The crazy. tiny supermarkets are now your supermarkets. The traffic-filled streets are now your streets. The people rushing every which way are now your neighbours. But as with any faith leap, it’s scary, but it’s exhilarating.
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen. It gives us the assurance about things we cannot see.
Most people think Hong Kong is just an island of buildings. But when we open our eyes, isn’t there always so much more than meets the eye. As you can see on the map below, HK extends much further and wider than just this stunning island of concrete soldiers standing side by side, displaying their prettiness. There’s also Lantau Island (home of Hong Kong Airport, Disneyland, Discovery Bay), Kowloon side (TST, New Territories, and of course all the markets), and the lovely outlying islands Lamma and Cheung Chau (amazing seafood and great hiking) just a ferry ride away from the hustle and bustle..
Seriously, the MTR (subway) is the best. The longest I have ever had to wait for a train was about 2 minutes (which is good, cos Hong Kong people do not like waiting!) The public transport system is so good. Even buses are great to catch.. and many of them are double decker.. even more fun and great for sightseeing. 🙂 My highlight though is the tram (aka the ‘Ding Ding‘). It’s cheap and it’s a great way to see Hong Kong.
They say it takes 3 weeks to get past the initial culture shock when you move there. And then you fall in love with the place. It’s true. At first I wasn’t so sure, but now I adore Hong Kong. Her vibrancy.. the fact that she never sleeps.. her many and varied faces.. her people.. and one thing I love that many people don’t know.. is the safety of this magical city. And this is why it’s such a great place for kids to experience. The entire time I was living there, I never ever felt unsafe, even late at night.
So of course, copious amounts of shopping is a must when you go to Hong Kong. Here are some of my favourite locations.. (Note: make sure you learn how to bargain! And if you’re not confident, just fake it!)
Ladies Markets – Mong Kok
Prince Edward Markets – Prince Edward
Wan Chai Markets – Wan Chai
The Lanes – Central
Flower and Bird Market – Prince Edward
Check out this great MARKET site. Very comprehensive.
SHOPPING – DEPARTMENT STORES
SOGO – Causeway Bay
IFC Mall – Central
Pacific Place – Admiralty
Times Square – Causeway Bay
Hong Kong has some incredible beaches. Here’s my post “The Other Side of Hong Kong” from the other day, which will show you a few easy ways to hit the beach in HK. If you’re there on business or want some time away from the city, it’s a perfect way to spend a day.
LAMMA ISLANDJust 30 mins from Hong Kong, you can jump on a ferry and escape to Lamma for a day or even just an afternoon. Walk through the fishing village then hike through to the other side of the island to this beautiful beach. The seafood is great too so save some room for that before you head back to the city.
ONE OF MY FAVE PLACES TO CHILL AND EAT
This place is just 5 minutes from my old apartment. Life Cafe in SoHo. Yum. Head up the giant escalator in Central and it’s on your left.
We head to the other side of Hong Kong Island. From the moment you catch your first glimpse you’ll be instantly captivated by the beauty of this stunning bay.
JUNK TRIP IN SAI KUNG
Not your typical “Hong Kong Junk Trip” on Victoria Harbour, these junk trips are something else. Sai Kung is one of the prettiest spots in Hong Kong. Located in the north east and once a fishing village, Sai Kung is filled with delicious seafood restaurants.. and it’s beautiful waters, clean air and restaurant dotted waterfront are the reason this fabulous corner of Hong Kong is such a popular home to thousands of ex-pats from all over the world.
I would love to hear any stories you have of HK.. have you been there? What was your first impression? And what was your favourite thing to do?