An increasingly popular city, Hong Kong was the 9th most visited destination in the world in 2014.
Hong Kong is officially listed as an autonomous territory of China and it is located on the south coast.
However, it is markedly different from China in a number of ways. First, instead of speaking mandarin like the rest of the country, cantonese is the official language. Along with cantonese, English is extremely prevalent throughout Hong Kong as most of the signs and menus include an English description. This is not the case throughout the rest of China!
- Here is an example of how signs have both Chinese and English characters, making Hong Kong extremely easy to navigate for tourists.
It is frequently described as a place where ‘East meets West’ and this is seen in a number of ways – notably the number of expats living in Hong Kong and the large number of American chain restaurants!
As of 2014, Hong Kong is considered to be the 3rd most expensive city in the world! It also is 4th in the percentage of millionaire households. At least the money is enjoyable to look at….
This helps to explain why a pre-made sandwich/salad from the grocery store costs around 35 Hong Kong Dollars ($7 cdn)…
- Shown above, this not so great combo was 40 HKD.
Unfortunately my three-day stay coincided with me battling strep throat so I didn’t get to see as much of the city as I would have liked. However, the areas I did see were quite nice!
Hong Kong is known for its incredible skyline and the night views from Victoria Peak did not disappoint! However, it costs around 80 HKD (16 cdn) to take the funicular to the top.
The rest of the city is just a cool place to walk around and everything is lit up throughout the night. Additionally, the lack of public smoking made the air substantially more breathable than it was in mainland China.
As you can see, vehicles still drive on the lefthand side of the road, a remnant of 156 years of British governance over Hong Kong!
This fantastically named street is part of the busiest section of Hong Kong, as it’s full of specialty shops and restaurants.
You’ll be able to find just about anything you’d ever need along these streets..
If the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong gets to be a bit too much (as it did for me), you can always visit one of the beautiful beaches located on the outskirts of the city. Super easy to find, simply hop on a public bus for twenty minutes and you’ll feel like you’re in an entirely different place!
Despite being located on the coast, I had never pegged Hong Kong to have nice beaches.. What a pleasant surprise!
There are a number of other sites which I didn’t have the energy to see, including the impressive Tian Tan Buddha.. so make sure to keep yourself healthy and don’t miss out like I did!
Overall, Hong Kong was a cool city to check out but I don’t plan on going back anytime soon. It would probably be best to visit prior to entering China, as it could lessen the initial shock that comes from adapting to a brand new culture. I think three or four days is enough time to spend in Hong Kong, as you can get substantially more value for your money in mainland China.
P.S. As a Canadian, a visa is not required for Hong Kong. Be aware that you’ll need to go through a passport check and security before entering from China.