|The notorious HK skyline|
Hong Kong was a delightful little dreamland, and I can't get it out of my mind. I liked how laid-back it was, whilst being completely exuberant and animated all at once. Whereas Tokyo tends to be quite rigid and structured, Hong Kong is more relaxed, and there are less rules to follow, and I felt less conspicuous. Hong Kong is the financial centre of Asia, and it's undoubtedly reflected in the skyscraper-heavy architecture, and the free trade and low taxation makes it a shopping mecca.
Yet, it also displays Chinese culture, in its delectable cuisine and in the way feng shui concepts are integrated in daily life, which create a perfect balance between traditional practices and a modern, fast-paced city. After living in other cities like Seoul and Tokyo, I found Hong Kong to be the quintessential blend of how I always had imagined Asia would be like.
Hong Kong is relatively small, and the major sights are located on the island as well as on the Kowloon Peninsula across the bay. The best sight is Hong Kong is undeniably the skyline, especially at night: rows of modern skyscrapers, which are all lit up, giving a neon glow to the water. Ascending Victoria Peak is another great way to catch a glimpse of the marvel that is HK, if you're not afraid of heights.
My favourite part was the Chungking Mansions, which were epitomized in Wong Kar-wai's Chungking Express. It's an area "where Chinese literally brush shoulders with Westerners, and is uniquely Hong Kong" (Wong Kar-wai). It's also a hotspot for the HK police, as much illegal traffic takes place there. The Chungking Mansions feature cheap guesthouses, curry shops, foreign exchange offices, and is the largest gathering place for ethnic minorities in HK. Imported goods, pirated DVDs, electronics, and lots more dodgy merchandise is for sale. It's a pretty dirty place in all senses, but I find it fascinating.
|Busy street in Causeway Bay|
|Lounging by the roof top pool|
|Chungking Mansions, looking not-so-grim|
|The gold sign for Chungking Mansions|
|Inside the madness|
|You can pose in front of the skyline, like I did|
|... or like my sister did|
|But you can also do a split, like he did.|
I thought of the 9/11s when I saw that.
|View from atop the Peak|
|I love mountains|
|The Star Ferry, making the connection between the island and Kowloon|
|Crossing the Bay- I want to do that daily|
|Inside the HK subway, bit small and dark|
|Temple street market at night... filled with goodness|
|My sister and the entrance of Temple street market|
Hong Kong is a haven for fashionistas. Wide variety, tax-free luxury brands, shops open late into the night or even all night, and enough cosmetics and beauty treatments to make your head spin. I stocked up on items and brands that are difficult to locate or overpriced in Japan, and filled my bag with enough chocolate to
|Street posing in front of the posh Peninsula|
|Sasa has all the makeup and skin care you could dream of|
|And so does Bonjour, which is found on every corner|
|Busy Times Square street in Causeway Bay|
|Apparently you can buy bunnies|
|Rows of colourful potions|
|And the best of all, Chanel...|
where two nail polish bottles cost less than a single one in Japan.
The food! Scrumptious, inexpensive, readily available. HK cuisine is a fusion of East and West, the flavours are layered and nuanced, and every meal is a perfect balance that pleases the taste buds (and wallet). And the fruit! Oh I had missed thee: fresh, delicious, and cheap. I ate lots of fruit every day. It sounds trivial but it was one of the best parts, as fruit is absurdly high-priced in Japan, and I usually can only afford bananas (sad). I've decided to splurge on fruit from now on, as it's essential and not a luxury. I barely tackled a small fraction of what HK cuisine has to offer.
|First HK meal: delicious pork ramen|
|Shrimp Yum Cha (dumplings)|
|Fresh fruit! Variety! Everywhere! ME!!|
|Egg tart by the pool|
|Best noodles and wonton in town|
at Mak's in Causeway Bay
|Little brownie bite.|
And oh I got a manicure, color is "Dim Sum Plum"
from OPI's Hong Kong collection.
I'm officially a nerd.
|Although originally from Taiwan,|
tapioca milk tea is available everywhere
in HUGE portions. Yum!
|VLT was a popular sweet lemon tea box|
|Beef brisket at Mak's, again.|
|Not from HK but I love this chocolate|
Hong Kong you were such a treat. I heart HK!