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The Final Gong for Hong Kong

sunny 30 °C
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Hong Kong - Asia's world city

Our final word on Hong Kong

The Good

Hong Kong is a fantastic place for tourists. It is a great gateway to Asia, a stepping stone to helping tourists become comfortable with the sights, sounds and smells of Asia, just don't expect the rest of Asia to be as accommodating!

  • The people are incredibly friendly and helpful, going out of their way to ask you if you need help.
  • Most people know some English and are happy to use it.
  • The streets are immaculately clean
  • Public transport = amazing!
  • Food choices are diverse and you can try anything from authentic Szechuan cuisine to award winning Italian
  • Affordable prices (apart from accommodation)

And my favourite thing about the city that makes it a tourist paradise, the signage. On most street corners there are tourist signposts pointing out tourist attractions in bright pink, and practical things like the MTR and Public toilets in blue (a life saver after spicy food!!!). Its almost impossible to get lost.. not sure where you are? Look for the glimpse of pink in the distance and you'll be delivered safely to the MTR - which is full of maps and will whip you quickly and safely home.

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The Not So Good

  • "Copy watch, Copy bag, Tailor for suit" - The non-stop harassment in the tourist areas by touts becomes infuriating after one day, and they just don't give up!
  • The air pollution - I just don't think you can get a smog free shot from the Peak at any time any more - it's a shame!
  • Shopping centres!!! Maybe because we're non-shoppers we just don't understand... but do you REALLY need 4 high-rise shopping centres in a city block? Do you need 2 Channel, Dior and Cartier stores one street over from each other? Do you?! We think not, but each to their own and the crowds seem to love it!
  • The nightly light show - really quite lame!!!

Top tips for Hong Kong

  1. Always carry a umbrella in Monsoon season - in fact any time of year...
  2. Use the MTR!
  3. Carry a cardigan - the restaurants and museum pump out the AC!
  4. Try a restaurant with no English on the menu - at least you know its authentic and the excitement waiting to see if you're getting what you think you ordered is almost as fun as the eating!
  5. Use the free Wifi in the parks
  6. Buying your pre-drinks at 7-11 saves your budget
  7. Stay in Central/Causeway bay if you want night life and in Tsim Sha Tsui if you want shopping.

Mei Lam Guest House

Housed in the less notorious Mirador Mansion (in comparison to Chungking Mansion) in Tsim Sha Tsui (right next to MTR), Mei Lam GH is an affordable, comfortable option. The rooms are incredibly tiny (request one with a window if you can or you'll get claustrophobic!) but they are clean, AC is great, TV, bar fridge and super fast Wifi make up for the size. They are also surprisingly quiet (unless you have noisy neighbours in the room next door). The worst things are that the lifts are always busy so you will need to line up or take the stairs, and every time you leave you step right into a nest of annoying touts. Overall, in a city where accommodation is pricey this is a cheap option for the budget conscious. We like!

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Posted by travellinglise 07:41 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged hong_kong_island mtr mei_lam_guesthouse Comments (0)

Cloudy With A Chance Of Dumplings!

rain 25 °C
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"In a blade of grass, a single tree, a spring and a rock, one sees the aura of depth and quietness, and the rich spirit of ancient times" - Bai Juyi, Tang Dynasty

Foodie moment

Our first try of the famous HK street food. Satay beef balls and mystery dumplings, don't ask, don't tell....! Went down a treat after an exhausting walk through the Mong Kok market. Just $2.50 AU

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Cultural moment

Some cities have a Starbucks on every corner, others a McDonalds, in Kowloon its Lukfook everywhere you look! A shiny jewellery shop targeted at the 1% upper class. This doesn't mean there aren't lines of customer spilling out of the doors to get a look though! $10,000 for a necklace? Sure next time ill bring my Amex!

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Wow moment

Hidden within the concrete jungle of Hong Kong is a perfect example of a traditional Chinese landscape, the Nan Lian Garden. Peaceful and breathtakingly beautiful, the attention to detail is amazing, bonsai trees everywhere and even the grass looks like it has been manicured one blade at a time! According to the guide even the Koi fish are "...enjoying active movements in quiet and peace..."

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Adjoining the Nan Lian Garden is the Chi Lin Nunnery. Beautiful wooden architecture and so incredibly serene, especially considering it's surrounded by busy roads. The golden Buddhas were impressive and we hope some of their blessings for good "health", "wealth" and "wisdom" rubbed off on us.

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What we learnt today

Hong Kong knows how to do public transport. I always knew Melbourne transit was sub-par, but after experiencing the MTR, I now know just how far behind we are. Two minutes between each train, pristine platforms, light up neon maps on-board, express trains directly to the airport and direct destination tickets make getting around to any part of Hong Kong a breeeeeezze and cheap as chips ($3 AU total for both of us all day)!

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Oh yeah, another important lesson learnt, always carry an umbrella in monsoon season!

Posted by travellinglise 02:32 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged mtr nan_lian_garden chi_lin_nunnery mong_kok_market Comments (0)

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