Soon after we were done with the finals, we embarked on an adventure – to the Pearl of the Orient, Hong Kong! This was my third time going there, and Clara’s first! Also joining was Clara’s mother, and this was her first time as well. Therefore, the itinerary was made to cover the main sights.
Hong Kong as a destination was an eye-opening experience, and for some, a throwback to the past. Buildings so tall one would have to bend their backs to see the tops of, cha chaan tengs looking like they came straight out of the 1980s, natural respite just a bus or MTR ride away, and the glorious harbour – they all combined to make Hong Kong a one-of-a-kind experience for us.
As for costs, be prepared to spend more than usual food-wise. A common misconception people have when it comes to Hong Kong is that the food is cheap. The food was generally of decent standard (highly dependent on where one eats), but it cannot be called ‘cheap’. The portions may be small, and you do get what you pay for.
As for shopping, the other thing Hong Kong is generally known for, I cannot say much about it, because I did not shop much. Some shops have it cheaper, but I don’t believe in travelling overseas to get the same items one can get in their home country for marginally cheaper prices. The only worthwhile experience lies in the markets. Engage in some haggling, or better yet, watch other people do it. Around Mong Kok, there were some wholesale stores, not unlike those in Thailand and South Korea, but we sadly did not get the chance to check them out.
Here’s the MTR map:
Thankfully, not as convoluted as Seoul’s (or Busan’s, for that matter). I have to say, getting around in Hong Kong was less of a mind-boggling affair than navigating South Korea. Rarely did we make wrong turns, and we found everything we planned to see. This could be due to the fact that Hong Kong was more compact, and that I had tried navigating (with my cousin) before on a previous trip. Even for first-timers, it was easy enough to get used to after a couple of days.
We were not spared from the walking, however. We expected Hong Kong to be less tiring than South Korea, but we ended up even more exhausted at the end of every day, despite feeling like we walked less, and despite the cool weather!
The weather in December was great! It only drizzled once, and was not too cold that we had to put on layer after layer. In fact, one thin jacket sufficed. The only downside was the haze, which compromised the views, but that couldn’t be helped sadly.
Overall, it was an enjoyable and enlightening trip, and I’m sure it was even more so for Clara and her mother!