Hong Kong, one of the only two special administrative regions in China, is a charming little city. Its many attractions set it aside, if not on top of the rest of the country. Purporting a strong western influence, Hong Kong is one of the most expat-friendly cities in the world. But despite its westernized culture, Hong Kong maintains its original Chinese heritage, creating an interesting mix of both the West and the East. The humble size of the city does not set it back the slightest, in fact, Hong Kong quickly became a concentrated hub for some of the best activities and resources, persistently occupying a place on many travellers’ wish list. If you’re also considering Hong Kong to be your next holiday destination, here are five reasons to convince you to book that plane ticket right now!
Food: There is more than just Dim Sums
If anyone tells you they are not motivated by food, they’re probably lying. How can you not be? When you think of Hong Kong, you think of dim sum. The mouthwatering barbeque pork buns and the delicious egg tarts. Hong Kong is the food heaven for an apparent reason. From traditional Chinese tearooms to exotic Mediterranean cuisine, there is something for everyone. In recent years, many Spanish restaurants and even Polish bistros have made their way into the city. The range varies from super affordable to highly exclusive, catering for all types of consumers. Frankly, you can probably even go a month without repeating a single cuisine there! Try it! The selection of food is unparalleled, no doubt, but it is the hectic, almost chaotic gastronomical experience that claims Hong Kong the title of the food heaven. We eat with our bowls in one hand and chopsticks in the other, as we frantically empty the food from our bowls to our throat because everyone at the table keeps offering you another one of this and an extra spoonful of that before you can even finish chewing the meatball you have in your mouth. It sounds exhausting and sometimes it feels that way too, but it is the most authentic way to be immersed into the culture and to understand why we breed so many Instagram-famous foodies. Go into any food establishments in Hong Kong, be it café or diners, you’ll understand what I mean.
Transport: Getting around fast and furiously
There is nothing more frustrating to a Chinese person than waiting for the next metro for more than two minutes. The underground system in Hong Kong, known as the MTR, is one of the fastest and most efficient underground transportation in the world. If there was ever a delay in the MTR, you can bet it would be in the news. Having expended its reach recently, the MTR is your most trusted and reliable way to get around the city. It is not uncommon to find yourself running from one platform or another for no apparent reason, simply because everyone else is also running. For us, the MTR is no place to rest, it serves the sole purpose of getting us from point A to point B, which it does brilliantly. Our entire transport system is very well organised, making it super easy to go from the one end of Hong Kong island to the other end of the Kowloon Peninsula in no more than an hour. Besides the MTR, there are many buses, mini-buses, trams, ferries and cable cars to help you reach every little corner of the city.
Bright Lights, Fireworks and Neon Signs
While some say Paris is the OG city of lights, I would say Hong Kong is the more suited holder of the title. The Symphony of Light is the world’s biggest light show that combines, well, obviously, lights and music, as well as a familiar voice narrating the whole spectacle, making sure you’re not only amazed but also well-informed during an intensive 14 minutes. It takes place every single night at the Victoria Harbour, of which you can get the best view from the waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui and Wan Chai pier. Right now, there is also an impressive 47 buildings participating in this grand spectacle, shining their individual lights collectively to create the most mesmerising experience for its visitors. On top of that, the city is beautifully decorated with neon signs, especially during the festive seasons, with the celebratory fireworks dazzling over our skyline times a year.
The Bride's Pool, beaches and other hidden treason
Two years ago, I would probably laugh at the idea of there being any nature in Hong Kong. The city is famous for its soaring skyscrapers. However, I recently reconnected with the once loved Zoological and Botanical Gardens, but also discovered the Bride’s Pool and Sheung Luk Stream, two picturesque waterfalls tugged safely away in the countryside. Even better, often, the only way to reach these secluded paradises is by walking through calm, scenic trails. Who would have known that cliff diving is available in this concrete jungle? And for the tiny space it occupies, Hong Kong has a staggering statistic of 100 beaches, making it a haven for lovers of nature and water sports enthusiasts. The easy accessibility to these natural wonders is the perfect remedy for the overly stressful culture of Hong Kong.
Life is easy when it's Compact and convenient
Sure, it is overpopulated and sometimes, suffocating, but you cannot deny the tininess of this city – this city which only occupies one single dot on the map – makes life easier for all of us. By having everything packed tightly together, you can find a supermarket within 10 steps from your apartment, or even transport yourself completely out of the city centre in less than 20 minutes. Unlike in America where everything is at least an hour drive away, this proximity allows us to create a kind of intimacy and familiarity within our society and nothing is ever too far from our reach. Hong Kong has everything you need in its compact 1,108 km2
, be it a city break or an island escape. Hong Kong’s got your back!