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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.

Welcome to Hong Kong

Forget what you thought you knew about Hong Kong.

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.

SaiKung Hong Kong

Sai Kung Peninsula.

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 Underground

Hong Kong is ordered.

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.

Hong Kong SkyScrapers

Hong Kong is contrasted.

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.

Hong Kong is wide.

Hong Kong is wide.

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.

Hong Kong hiking

Hong Kong is green!

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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Marie Pottiez is a travel blogger and the founder, author & illustrator behind Miles of Happiness. Curious about everything, she has an unquenchable thirst for discovery and sharing.

Originally from Provence (France), she lived in Belgium, New Zealand, then Indonesia, to settle down in Hong Kong in 2014. She spends as much time as possible traveling throughout Asia, discovering new pieces of paradise all year long.

Follow Marie on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram, watch her videos on Vimeo, and be find inspiration from her Pinterest.

Featured Photo CC by Jonathan Leung

    30 Comments

  1. great post on HK. We took the kids there last year to visit Disneyland & Ocean Park. It was the kids first experience in Asia & I think it was perfect. They absolutely loved it.
    There’s so many things I love about HK, I could go on all day. I think you have captured is well in your post.

    • Glad you enjoyed it Sally :) I haven’t yet been myself, but from Marie’s account it does sound like it would be the perfect introduction to Asia for kids, offering a little bit of everything and a lot of different parks.

      Glad you enjoyed the post – happy travels!

  2. Hi Marie,

    I love the idea on contrast. A bit of everything, I never mind seeing that in a city, or on an island for that matter. Hong Kong seems to have it all, which is neat.

    Thanks for the fascinating share!

    Ryan

    • Can’t wait to explore HK just for the contrast! I imagine it would be absolutely amazing to have access to a mix of both modern and past culture, love destinations which offer a little bit of everything :)

      Thanks Ryan!

  3. Even after visiting Hong Kong, I didn’t realize it’s such a green place. I’d love to explore the national pak next time I visit Hong Kong!

    • Definitely! Sounds like the perfect excuse to plan a return visit :D!

  4. I agree that Hong Kong is surprisingly Green! Went to Lantau Island last year and it was sooo Un-Hong Kong , if you know what I mean :) It’s a great contrast to the bustling city!

    • So glad you had the chance to visit and experience Lantau Island! I’ll have to head over to your blog to check out stories and photos from your time there :)

  5. Great pictures. I am thinking over visiting on my way back to England.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Sally :) From everything I’ve been reading and hearing it sounds like HK is an amazing place, and Marie obviously raves about it, so I hope you can make a stop over happen :)

      Happy travels!

  6. OK, you’ve given me a whole new perspective of Hong Kong. I usually just picture spectacular skyscraper views when I think of Hong Kong. Would love to visit and experience the city as you know it.

    • Glad we could change your ideas! You’re not alone though, I totally pictured Hong Kong as only skyscrapers before Marie pitched me this post; can’t wait to visit the city and experience it as she has described :)

  7. What a super interesting post. I knew Hong Kong was actually amazing for hiking but most of what you’ve written is new to me. I’ve made it to the airport but never further than that. A visit has a lot more appeal now.

    • Glad you enjoyed it Leigh, and I’m glad we could introduce you to a side of Hong Kong you didn’t know.

      Definitely plan for a bit of a venture outside of the airport next time you fly through :)

  8. We’d always wanted to go to Hong Kong. However, this blog post definitely widens its appeal. So much stuff we didn’t know about the place.

    • Glad we could introduce you to a side of Hong Kong you didn’t previously know!

  9. Like Matthew, I’ve always wanted to visit Hong Kong too, so it’s great that you’ve given me even more reasons to go there. You make it sound wonderful.

    • So glad we could inspire you to make a visit happen, I can’t wait to go either after Marie’s post. I had always had Hong Kong on my list, but I didn’t realize how truly amazing it actually was!

  10. I have been to Hong Kong once for a day of 5 and … I did not see anything except for the office and the hotel. I really hope to get back there cause I would love to discover the Islands and hike through the National Parks.

    • I so hope you can travel back to explore the actual city and surrounds, so much amazing opportunity for hiking and exploring natural wonders it’s a shame to spend the whole time working :D

  11. I´ll give the snake soup a miss this time, but Hong Kong sounds great. I still haven´t set foot on the Asian Continent but Hong Kong certainly seems to be an interesting place

    • Not sure if I’m sold on the snake soup either lol though it definitely sounds adventurous :D

      I think Hong Kong would be a great place to start your exploration of Asia – sounds like its a great mix of modern and past which would be a great introduction to the continent at large :)

  12. Great post! We loved Hong Kong and can’t wait to go back! The food and sights are all amazing =D

    • Glad you enjoyed it! I hope you do manage a return visit to Hong Kong :)

  13. Who knew? Hong Kong green and uncrowded. I don’t know if I’ll ever make it there but this article is a great resource.

    • I know right! I had no idea either until Marie wrote this great guest post! Learn something new everyday!

  14. Fascinating! I had no idea there was such variety (especially with regard to nature) in Hong Kong. Thanks for sharing!

    • It does come as a shock doesn’t it! Who knew Hong Kong had so many amazing secrets to share!

  15. Would love to spend some time in Hong Kong, such a diverse and alive city! Unfortunately have only made it to the airport on our way to Thailand. Definitely on my must do list!

    • I’m the same, been to Hong Kong technically many times, though never actually made it out of the airport! Marie’s post has inspired me to change a future stop-over into a few days before heading home :)

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