Previous posts of this trip:
Seriously, this is ridiculous… I am writing one post of this trip every 3 months… Time to finish it!
So, Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is an autonomous region: it is its own country, but also kind of part of China technically. You immediately feel the difference: many people speak English, everyone looks more rich and everything is much more expensive than the rest of China. The native language is Cantonese and everything is written in the traditional chinese characters (which believe me, are much more complicated than the simplified ones that China uses)
Hong Kong is very modern, many westerners work there. If you come from a non-Asian country, you feel much more “at home”. But between the huge skyscrapers…
… you can find the amazing character of this city.
- You will need a different visa for Hong Kong (many nationalities don’t require a visa). But even more important: you need a second visa (or double entry) if you plan to go back to China. It is technically another country (complicated story, something got signed that made Hong Kong autonomous, but recently expired and there is some drama…)
- Hong Kong is very humid… It was very hot outside and inside all the buildings, the air-conditions are in 20 degrees. We actually needed to carry a jacket with us (it was above 35 degrees outside I think – or at least it felt so), just for inside the buildings. All these temperature changes gave me a stomach problem (I think… or I ate something weird, but I don’t think so). Also there are some tropical storms:
So what to do in Hong Kong?
This is the number one attraction. You buy a ticket, you get on a kind of tram that takes you somewhere high, and you enjoy the view. This is where I took the first photo of this post. Unfortunately the night photos were a disaster. This is the most decent one:
Thankfully my friend is a much more patient photographer than me, so here is a better photo:
There are some restaurants and shops up there. Try to go late in the afternoon, so that you can see the view at daylight and night.
No, I am not making a mistake. Yes, you have to go to an escalator in Hong Kong. It is a huge escalator system (meaning, not one huge escalator, but many small ones. You can get out at any point) that helps you move around this hilly city. You see the city and you don’t get tired!
Writing this section gives me some pain, because I don’t like Disneylands. They are fine, but I don’t see the need to visit it more than once. And they are all more or less the same. But one of my friends is a huge Disneyland fan, and for that reason I have been to THREE different Disneylands (well, the french one was not her fault). The Hong Kong one is the smallest Disneyland.
You take a normal city bus that gives you a very nice tour of Hong Kong suburbs and you go to Stanley Beach. It is pleasant, a touristic beach with restaurants and a flea market.
And you can see the famous symbol of Hong Kong, the dragon boat.
On the other hand, there is nothing special there, so only go if you really think you want to see the sea for some reason!
- The markets
I love asian markets! And the ones in Hong Kong (basically on our way down after we used the escalator) are my favorite ones!
- The signs
Hong Kong is full or neon signs! I love them!
Kowloon is the part of Hong Kong that is attached to the mainland. It is not as nice as Hong Kong, it looks more like a “normal” city. But one of the main reasons we went to Hong Kong was the movie Chungking Express (watch it!), which takes place in Kowloon, in the Chungking Mansions (a huge building filled with tiny stores, many of them owned by indian immigrants). There are also some nice malls, art on the street, generally a pleasant atmosphere, but nothing very special.
And finally Macau! It is an autonomous territory (TAKE YOUR PASSPORTS) and you go with a boat from Hong Kong (it is not far). Technically it is an island full of casinos.
It was colonized by the portuguese and there some nice portuguese buildings in the “center”.
After walking around in the portuguese part, we went to the casino of our choice: the Venetian.
It is amazing!
And that was the end of our trip!
We flew to Greece from Hong Kong and our big chinese experience was done 😦
Now it is already 6 years later. I have been to China 2 more times and one of my friends lived in Beijing this year.
Next I will describe my latest trip to China, the one I did in May. I wanted to keep a chronological order, but by the time I make it to this trip, it will be old news already. I think it is better to give the information now that it is still fresh!