Authored by Marie Pottiez
It’s often fun, picturing a destination you’ve never been to. You imagine the atmosphere, smell it’s scents, and taste imaginary flavors. You picture it’s cities, construct ideas of street scenes, and imagine the people you will inevitably meet. You create a complete picture in your mind before you even arrive.
In my mind, Hong Kong was a concrete jungle, packed with modern skyscrapers; the Asian version of New York City. Though after having actually arrived, I’ve since realized it’s much more than just that.
After a year in Hong Kong, the city never ceases to amaze. You can go camping on a tiny island and eat nothing but amazing seafood for a week. You can take an air-conditioned walk through the city via an intricate network of elevated bridges, submerged tunnels and aerial walkways. Old temples beside huge skyscrapers, luxury hotels beside Chinese tea shops, double decker 1920’s trams beside the latest Porsche.
Here are some surprising facts about Hong Kong that may just change your pre-conceived idea’s about the 852.
Hong Kong is HEAVENLY
Hong Kong is made of 263 outlying islands. Beautiful beaches are a mere 20 minute bus ride from the city, and for those more adventurous, there are a range of amazing natural wonders to explore.
Sai Kung Peninsula for example holds Hong Kong’s best hidden treasures. Think pristine sand, turquoise water, gorgeous sunset, glowing fish amid stark beauty and tree-clad outcrops….it’s hard to believe you’re still in Hong Kong here.
Tai Long Wan is another example of heavenly Hong Kong – a bay on the east coast of the Peninsula, widely acclaimed as one of the most beautiful places in the territory. The four beaches along the bay (Sai Wan, Ham Tim Wan, Tai Wan and Tung Wan) are all sublime.
The best way to discover the area is by hiking, and then setting up camp on the beach, around the romantic warmth of a wood fire. To complete this fine getaway, come back to Sai Kung Town by boat, taking in the beautiful scenery along the way.
Hong Kong is ORDERED
Coming here, one of my fears was to be overwhelmed by the crowds of people in this overpopulated city, though it depends on which district you are in as to whether or not this is the case. For instance, spending a Saturday in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong’s top shopping district, is a very bad idea! Though everything is organized down to a fine art to keep the crowds moving.
The public transport system in Hong Kong is among the best in the world. Firstly, it’s so clean you could eat off the floor, and additionally, it is safe, fast, and with no strikes, which, coming from Paris, makes a huge difference!
Hong Kong’s summer is long and can often be excruciatingly hot – in the heat of the day it’s barely impossible to walk two minutes without working up a sweat. Though the city is built on an intricate network of elevated bridges, submerged tunnels and aerial walkways. What does this mean? All air-conditioned!
There is absolutely no need to go outside anymore, and visitors and locals alike can pretty much walk a full day without ever having to set foot on the ground, staying cool at the same time!
Hong Kong is CONTRASTED
You want to buy a Porsche, pray in a temple, eat a snake soup and drink one of the best mojitos in town on the same afternoon? Well – you’re in the right place!
Hong Kong is a brilliant blend of ancient and modern alike. A haven for photographers, every point in the city offers views of the the new and shiny butts up against a traditional and dusty past. Old temples beside huge skyscrapers, luxury stores beside Chinese tea shops, double decker 1920’s trams beside the latest Porsche. Hong Kong is contrasted like you would never believe.
You’ll be astonished by this city; exciting, historic and futuristic all in one. There truly isn’t anywhere else like it in the world.
Hong Kong is WIDE
In most people’s minds, Hong Kong is merely a skyline with stunning skyscrapers backed by big hills. Most of the time, people just imagine Hong Kong as Hong Kong Island.
But Hong Kong is so much more, comprising of the New Territories, the Outlying Islands, Lantau Island and Kowloon. Hong Kong is a tiny country, or a huge city. Every area has its own personality.
You can become lost in the New Territories, with nobody to help you because you don’t speak either Mandarin or Cantonese, and they don’t speak English. You can go camping on a tiny island and eat nothing but amazing seafood for a week. You can go kite-surfing on one of the most beautiful beaches in the country on Lantau Island.
As with every other place in the world, you would need years of exploration to really know Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is GREEN !
My impressions before arrival in Hong Kong were of a concrete jungle, packed with modern skyscrapers, and I was concerned by the fact that there was the possibility of barely being able to see the sky. If only I had known then what was to come. If only I had known then that most weekends would be spent hiking throughout gorgeous National Parks!
You don’t have to get lost in the New Territories where no-one speaks English to find the nature. It’s fairly easy to stumble across a park while walking through the city, some of which are immense, and are home to turtles, koi and many exotic birds.
There are countless hiking paths throughout the 852. You can hike along a river, span waterfalls, enjoy a view of the beach, cross historic villages, venture into real jungle, climb steep hills…everything is possible in Hong Kong.
So do yourself a favor and forget what you think you know about Hong Kong.
Book your ticket and get ready for a destination like you’ve never experienced before. Who’s willing to be surprised?!
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Featured Photo CC by Jonathan Leung