If Shanghia is the business capital of china, Hong Kong is the glizt and glamour capital. This will mark my third visit to this wonderful city and I am no less impressed than the first time. The first thing that hits you when you arrive in Hong Kong...besides the great views...is the humidity. I have been here in mid-June and now in October, but there is not much of a difference. It's hot and wet. I finally gave in and decided to deal with it...besides, it's good for the pores. The second thing might be the moving entity that upon close inspection is the crowd of people that you eventually have to merge yourself into. However, there will always be a scent of expensive perfume and designer leather.
Hong Kong Downtown Building Shot
Hong Kong sits on two sides of a harbor that curves around. Also, similar to Shanghai, it's difficult to pull yourself away from the beautiful views of the skyline on both sides, that is easy to access on various promenades.
Although Hong Kong belongs to China now (instead of England), the government is different from the China mainland. It runs pretty much the same as it did under the British Commonwealth. I have always felt completely safe and comfortable in Hong Kong. English is common on some signage, but mainly just the younger locals speak it well enough to communicate. The subway system in Hong Kong is very good at getting you just about anywhere you want to go, and it's quite clean. You should buy an "Octopuss" card which can be filled and deibited as you jump on and off the trains. This is much easier than trying to constantly find change for tickets. If you're not used to touching other people (What's wrong with you??) then you might not feel comfortable in Hong Kong. The subways get so crowded that you pretty much have to squish in and have a deep eye to eye stare with a local...and no one thinks anything of it. The good thing is that they keep the train cars well air-conditioned.
You may have noticed in some of my photos albums that sometimes people are wearing masks out in public. This has been quite normal throughout Asia. I assume it's for preventative measures, but depending on what country you're in, it could be used to prevent illness or keep out pollution. Other than a lack of napkins, Hong Kong is pretty clean and neatly kept. There is certainly a pride in this city which helps to keep it a favorite destination.
For all the British types who absolutely must elevate themselves whilst being transported around the city, Hong Kong is fully equipped with double-decker trollies that allways look as though they're about to topple over. I'm almost certain that at 5pm, they stop and serve "Tea", as anything else would be most uncivilized.
If you love to shop, you would love Hong Kong. There is literally an underground world of shops throughout the city (and no I didn't take any pictures of them). You can walk for many blocks through these fancy shopping centers and come up completely lost. So, on a hot day, this is a perfect way to get away from the summer heat. Pretty much anything you want can be found here. A short subway ride to "Sham Shui Po" subway stop will take you to the above ground "Golden Shopping Center" which houses many small and large electronic and computer shops. Many swear by it, but I've found the prices to be similar to what you'd get in the states. Also, you might want to use cash...no judging here, but better to be safe than sorry.
Hong Kong has a Disneyland, but I have to warn you, it's not a full size park. In fact, there are hardly and rides at all, I didn't go this time, but I was very disappointed with it's lack of attractions in the past (YES, I go to Disneyland..you judgemental people!!) However, Ocean Park is another amusement park which can be reached by a simple bus ride outside of the city. There are multiple rides, animals, a sea park and more. The "More" part is an absolutely terrifying 80,000 feet in the air gondola ride that takes you across the mountain from one side of the park to the other in a tiny, shaky little car. I will never, ever do that again, no matter how many time "Evil Billy" begs to go see the pretty Panda Bears on the other side. Which, by the way, we never got to see because it was so completely and totally hot and humid that we didn't last more than five minutes in line before deciding that Pandas really weren't that big of a deal and were obviously overrated.
Ocean Park, Hong Kong
There are so many things to do in and around the city that I couldn't possibly list them all here. However, if you "Google".."Things to do in Hong Kong", you will find a large list. One of my favorites is to get on one of the ferries which runs you around the harbor from port to port for one price. You can get on and off as many times as you like for the day. It's a perfect way to get around both sides of the city. At night, Hong Kong has a laser light show through the tops of the buildings and on special occasions they have fireworks. I couldn't get any good shots without a tripod, but I've posted a few night shots in my gallery.
Hong Kong Local
Oh, by the way, Hong Kong has it's own special brand of street salesman. Although they are harmless, there is, for some reason, a large Indian population that will constantly try to push suits and watches on you. In most cases, you would need to go to some special, hidden away shop (as usual.. to avoid the police)..so I don't recommend it. However, most of the salesmen are on Nathan street in on Kowloon and not on Hong Kong Island. I have added a few photos from Honk Kong HERE, and there is also an older gallery from another trip which you can find in the "Sets" portion of my Flickr site.
Hong Kong Bay