Hong Kong for the Weekend

(Apologies for the lateness of this post: life has been very busy since I returned to the UK.)

After the endurance test that was my flight from London to Sydney, I was very much looking forward to the opportunity to break the return journey and spend a weekend in Hong Kong. Departing my Auckland hotel at 5am, followed by a 12 hour flight and a 4 hour time difference still made for a very long day though, so Saturday evening was spent with a quick bit of shopping (I’d been told that HK was a good place to buy tailored suits very cheaply) and a very nice dinner in Kowloon.

Sunday was my only full day for sight-seeing so I started early, first exploring the bustling streets of Hong Kong island, then taking the historic tram to Victoria Peak to admire the fantastic views of the harbour and the gleaming spires of the Region’s many impressive skyscrapers. Walking back down this very steep hill in the mid-afternoon heat I began to appreciate the covered usefulness of the ‘mid-level escalator’ system that makes getting up the hill from the waterfront CBD to ‘mid-level’ homes much more pleasant!

Overall I found Hong Kong to be a fascinating place: on the one hand it felt very alien, but the double-decker buses and familiar shops gave it a very British feel. Getting around was very easy: the underground was fast, efficient, clean and with clear information provided in English and Chinese. It’s definitely a city of ‘contrasts’ — from the areas where not a single English word could be seen on a shop or street sign, to the utterly westernised, sprawling air-conditioned shopping malls where there was no sign of the Chinese language. The stunning natural scenery seen from the bus on the way to the airport also suggested that there were further visual contrasts available if one was able to get away from the hustle and bustle and gleaming spires of the city.

I’d definitely recommend HK as a fantastic place to stopover and visit for a few days, I really feel I only scratched the surface in my very brief visit, but personally I would be wary of planning an extended stay there as the heat and very pushy street vendors were a little off-putting.