What we did: A quick 3-day/2-night
stopover to visit our friends,
(Grace and Kanad went to college together). We stayed in their gorgeous
hi-rise apartment on Hong Kong Island, overlooking the whole city.
We explored during the day and enjoyed their gracious hospitality
in the evenings.
Overall: Hong Kong is modern
city. We found it to be refined, clean, exciting and convenient.
After a few months in Africa, it seemed wildly fast-paced and
techno-driven. We were happy to see the bright lights and sights
of a big city again. We liked Hong Kong Island considerably more
than what we saw of Kowloon. The Kowloon side was more gritty
and by night was lit up so much that we felt like we were trapped
in a tanning bed with no sunglasses. To be fair, however, we were
only in Kowloon briefly, so we'd hesitate to make a judgement
without more info.
China?: Hong Kong is officially
part of China. But if it weren’t for the Chinese flag seen
somewhat prevalently, you’d never guess it. You don’t
even need a visa to visit, which is certainly different than mainland
China. Obviously, volumes could be written about this (and already
have been, by folks infinitely more qualified than we are), but
suffice it to say that we felt, for all intents and purposes,
that Hong Kong was it’s own little country. Our brief foray
into Kowloon took us a tiny step closer to mainland China in terms
of feel, but it really was only a tiny step.
Price: It was a bit more
expensive than we expected – as far as we could tell, the
cost of everyday living is almost as high as a big city in the
Exchange rate: US$1 = HK$7.8
People: We didn’t really
have time to meet anybody, but they all *looked* great. The working
folks are all beautifully made-up and smartly dressed in nice
suits and some of the latest fashions.
Essentials: None; you could
arrive in Hong Kong with nothing and find everything you need
pretty quickly, though you’d spend a bit more import stuff.
There are a
lot of modern taxis in Hong Kong, too, but none with this
Specific places we visited/things we
- Dined on the Peak (up the hill to the top of Hong Kong
Island, where you have a great view) – definitely worth
the cable car trip.
- Visited a strange park/zoo combo in the middle of the
city - you can actually see a jaguar and other animals on
your walk to work. If you're near, walk through, but otherwise,
missing this is fine.
- Wandered through Lan Kwai Fong, a favourite ex-pat neighborhood
full of NY/SF style bars and the occassional Irish pub.
- Rode an extremely long George-Jetson-type
that moves people around the city (mostly up the hills, obviously).
The picture really doesn't do this thing justice; it's amazingly
- Ocean’s Park (a strange amusement park/panda exhibit
mix on the less populated portion of Hong Kong Island) –
Honestly, we didn’t realize that it was an amusement
park; we went to see the
(yes, in captivity, but pandas nonetheless). And they were
great, so we recommend it for that reason. And while we were
there, Grace mustered the courage to ride his first roller
- Took the ferry across Hong Kong harbor to
to have dinner. Again the view is sensational.
- Dim Sum at a famous place called City Hall. We’re
big Dim Sum fans, so this was great for us.
Don't feel too bad about visiting an amusement
park - Ocean Park actually is first and foremost a marine conservation
facility which sadly will suffer when Disney opens. The rides
are just to keep the bucks coming in. Love the website, keep it