To wrap up this series on HK, here is a totally subjective list of what I loved and didn’t love so much about this bustling metropolis:
- Cheap and good food: I have written a lot (in fact, mostly) about the food here, here and here, so I won’t go into too much detail here. Some of my favourites:
- Hiking opportunities: Hong Kong may not be known for its scenic hiking trails, but if you tire of the city (or you just want to see another side of Hong Kong) there are plenty of hiking options on Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the neighbouring islands. For us, however, this was offset by:
- Typhoon season (May to November): Maybe not the best time to visit HK, but our rainy adventure taught us the importance of bringing good ponchos and having a wet-weather plan!
- Flower Market: When walking among flowers, you almost forget that you’re in the middle of a concrete jungle. Highly inspiring for would-be or current gardeners. I’ll let the pictures do the talking for me:
- Plentiful and cheap cabs, which is somewhat offset by:
- Cab drivers who speak only Cantonese, although during this latest trip most of the cab drivers we met could understand Mandarin too. If only I knew Cantonese – it would make getting around so much easier!
- Efficient public transportation system: HK’s metro system is considered to be among the world’s top. Trains arrive on time, the signs are also in English, and there are many lines so it’s quite possible to devise an alternative route if there is some delay on one of the lines. While my own country, Singapore, has a fairly enviable public transportation system, we still look to Hong Kong’s as the gold standard – especially after one of the increasingly frequent train breakdowns or delays.
- The crowds: Although I’m used to crowded places, that doesn’t mean I find it pleasant. That’s why I like to escape to places like Mongolia. HK is one of the most densely populated cities on earth and you need to steel yourself to push ruthlessly past people, squeeze onto a crowded train with your nose almost touching the door and accept that everyone around you doesn’t care about (or can’t avoid) invading your personal space. That said, I understand it is a lot worse in some other cities (Shanghai comes to mind) and I have nothing but respect for people who survive that on a daily basis.
- Safety: I loved that we 3 girls were able to walk around at night on deserted streets and it felt completely safe. The most scary thing that happened on those streets was encountering a (giant) cockroach.
- Random glimpses of the NBA: as a fan living far, far away from North America, I take great pleasure in taking pictures like these:
So there you have it! Is there anything else you loved or hated about Hong Kong? Let me know about it in the comments, or tweet me (@michwanderlust)!