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Trip Report Hong Kong

East Meadow, New...
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Trip Report Hong Kong

Hong Kong is overwhelmingly crowded. It is a small, peaked island with over 7 million people and everywhere you go there are crowds, lines, and masses of people so intense that I was often crashed into on the streets. The trick we learned is to arrive just a bit early and that worked for us at the busiest dem sen restaurants, on the tram to the peak, at the harbor for the sound and light show, and at the markets.

We explored on double-decker trams from beginning to end, via bus to the south side, in cars, and on a ferry to metropolitan Kowloon on the opposite side of the harbor. On the one clear beautiful sunny day we walked and stood for almost 12 hours. Otherwise it was foggy and cool with staggering gigantic skyscrapers bursting skyward out of the mist.

We ate wonderful dim sum lunches that were equivalent (but not better) than the dim sum restaurants of Flushing in New York City. At night we were still full so we ate in a bakery (chicken and pork pies and buns) one night, at a terrible noodle restaurant, and in the hotel the last night when we were both coughing.

Hong Kong is all about SHOPPING! There are markets of cheap stuff for the Indonesian maids and low paid people in menial jobs. There are shops to buy Bentley, Gucci, Ferari, Cartier, Lous Vuitton, Rolex and every other top brand for wealthy million dollar condo residents and tourists on shopping jaunts from Europe. Mid priced electronics, jewelry, clothing, luggage, and more can be found in the Stanley stands, Mon Kok Ladies Market, in the Temple Street Night Market, and countless other spots and stores. Tourists seem to be incessantly buying….except for us. We bought no clothing and did not have any trust in the hustling tailor shills or the prices and were glad we did our shopping in Cambodia and Vietnam. The electronic prices were comparable to those in the USA without an American warrantee so it made no sense to buy.

Hong Kong is a world-class city and in the central business area we saw mostly men and some women in perfectly tailored stylish business garb from all over the world. Lunch time the streets of this area filled with a haberdasher’s fantasies.

The sampans have disappeared, more children of the growing moneyed condo crowd attend uniform private schools, and billboards in the metropolitan area urge tolerance and reduction of discrimination. The old Hollywood version of Hong Kong is gone.

Hong Kong, China
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1. Re: Trip Report Hong Kong

Hello Larktrav,

Nice synopsis of your trip to Hong Kong. Seems you had a good time, thats nice to hear. It would have been nice to have also read your impressions of the less-touristy side of Hong Kong. Were you able to spend time visiting the more-Chinese areas, districts, temples, wet-markets and restaurants? What did you think of these aspects of our city?

Sorry about the bad noodle dining experience. That stinks! I've been lucky over the past five years and never had this experience. I hate to think a visitor here has one in a short time. Sorry about that.

East Meadow, New...
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2. Re: Trip Report Hong Kong

We travelled to the ends of the tram, got off and walked around in various neighborhoods hoping to get a feel for the less touristic areas, but even those were quite crowded on a Sunday. In one neighborhood we saw hundreds of young Moslem women sitting on straw mats on the street, snacking, and visiting as if it were a park or parlor. We were told they were domestic workers who wanted to meet their friends outdoors on their day off. We stopped in parks after school and observed uniformed groups of young children playing while being watched by many grandparents, some maids, and some mothers. We found some outdoor food markets and looked to see what was being offered for sale, who the customers were, and what they bought. We went all the way to Hong Kong University to see the area where students live and hang out, see some local restaurants, and buy some fruit. We noted some temples along our paths and poked in when we could be unobtrusive. We took the bus to Stanley, sighting the neighborhoods along the way and we also went quite a bit north in Kowloon past Mon Kok and around, walking what seemed like local neighborhoods.

We always try to see as many non-touristic neighborhoods as we can, even paying taxi drivers to drive us to areas we have identified on local maps or who hotel workers have told us are residential areas.

Where else would you suggest?

Hong Kong, China
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3. Re: Trip Report Hong Kong

Sounds like you made a decent effort to step off the beaten path. Good for you! Thats definitely a good way to see the life of the places you visit. Hong Kong, like anywhere else you will visit next can show you a completely different face once you step away from the tourist gatherings. I enjoyed your follow-up report as much as your original. Well done on your travels here and best of luck on your future trips.

New Forest, United...
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4. Re: Trip Report Hong Kong

You really only explored the densely populated urban side of Hong Kong, which is probably all you had time to do if it was a short visit and Sundays are always particularly busy, being a recreational day for most in HK.

There is a whole "other side" to HK. About 40% of the land area of HK (five times the size of HK Island) is occupied by country parks with some spectacular scenery such as Sai Kung Country Park in the New Territories which also has a coastline of geological importance and forms part of one of China's national geoparks. There are heritage trails with buildings of cultural interest, temples, monasteries, hiking trails and fascinating outlying islands which are easily reached such as rural Lamma and Lantau and busy Cheung Chau. There are places of outstanding beauty where you can, on a weekday at least, walk all day and see hardly anybody at all.

You don't see many sampans in Victoria Harbour, apart from the few based in Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter, some of which offer rides to tourists, but there are still plenty about particularly around the harbours of Aberdeen, Cheung Chau, Sai Kung and Sok Kwu Wan and Yung Shue Wan on Lamma.

East Meadow, New...
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5. Re: Trip Report Hong Kong

Unfortunately we could not see it all but in only 4 nights and 3 days we got pretty far, especially since the weather did not cooperate very much. Thanks for other suggestions. If we return to Hong Kong we will try to get further afield.

6. Re: Trip Report Hong Kong

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