Flew out to Hong Kong right when NTU’s semester ended, for a whirlwind 4 days! The majority of the planning I did beforehand had to do with budget, but I did pick up a few pamphlets from the Hong Kong Tourism office located across from Taipei Main Station. You can find the PDFS here, I didn’t follow them exactly, yet they were helpful in highlighting some places near MTR stations. (MTR is the Hong Kong equivalent of MRT.)
Sidenote: Taipei Taoyuan International Airport has these e-gates for citizens that make security such a breeze. Wow, talk about efficiency. It took me like 10 minutes to get through the scanners and customs.
Anywhoo, I present, the streets of Hong Kong! It’s so packed. The population density is so high. I’m not sure how to present my Hong Kong trip, so I guess I’ll just do what I always do and do intros for each place? I’ll keep it short. Promise.
A cluster of buildings and courtyards that were converted from former police barracks. Now there are artisan shops and craft stores in the rooms, plus bakeries with yummy samples of bread! The maple one was especially good.
This was one of the rooms where they had mobile-app AR going on. All the sketches on the wall were hand-drawn in permanent marker!
Pottery shop. The shopkeeper’s teacher made most of these pieces, and her signature seems to be a dent in the bottom of the cup.
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The campus is far away from the city center and requires bussing once you get off the MTR, but it was so worth it. It’s built into a mountain directly overlooking the sea, making for stunning views. Walking through the corridors makes you feel like you’re at a beach resort, complete with salty wind and students wearing flip-flops.
The view from their library. Berkeley’s Main Stacks ain’t got nothing on this, what with Main Stacks being underground and all…
Comix Home Base
A museum tucked away in the alley documenting Hong Kong’s comic culture. There are three floors, but try to avoid going on Monday (as I did) because that’s when the tour guides are off. There are videos showing interviews, framed original comics, and a library (also closed on Mondays, tragically) where you can flip through a variety of comic books.
That black blob is their mascot 😛
A blue house. It used to be a hospital, than a tenement, than hosted Hong Kong House of Stories. When I went though, again on that Monday where everything is closed, the House of Stories was relocated to another place. Lesson learned: Always double check opening hours and location!
Golden Bauhinia Square
It has the Bauhinia (the emblem on the Hong Kong Flag) sculpture that attracts tourists like flies, and is right next to the convention centers. Next to it there is something that feels like an extension of Comix Homebase (mentioned above), because there are various famous comic character stations where you can go and take selfies.
Hong Kong Design Center and Library
This area was very business-y compared to the above spots, it’s a totally different vibe. The library is just one room, yet they have a pretty extensive selection covering everything from product design to user interaction. I spent a very calming afternoon here with a book about urban improvement–definitely a nice break from the bustle of downtown Hong Kong.
Tsim Tsa Tsui Waterfront
Another buzzing tourist place, but worth the hype if you adore ocean views. Here’s what it looks like at 7PM then 8PM, when there is a laser light show. Don’t go just for the laser light show though, I thought it was quite underwhelming with muted music and literally just beams of light. Go to see an entire city skyline lit up in neon lights!
We came here as part of the Hong Kong Free Walking Tour, which offered great insights and commentary into the history and politics of Hong Kong. This is the main office of HSBC, did you know that the entire thing is built piece-wise like Legos, so if need be they could deconstruct everything, ship ’em back to London, and buildup the exact same tower?
St. John’s Cathedral
The last stop on our tour is this historic cathedral. Please remember to check out the bookstore if you go, they have these lovely and adorable Jesus water bottles!! What I’d give to find Jesus popping out of my coffee cup every morning.
Shenanigans (Places that made me happy)
Hotels are lifesavers in Hong Kong, because you can quickly duck into one blasting full AC when you feel as though you are going to die from the summer heat. Here’s a hotel carpet that has the day emblazoned on it, so you know that this glitzy residence has staff to swap out gigantic elevator carpets every single day.
Department stores, like hotels, will save you in the heat. They have the added bonus of being more acceptable to walk into if you dress in sneakers, jean shorts, and a teeshirt. Look, MUJI has a bookstore section now!
Furniture boutique. Full of expensive things that I imagine filling my imaginary house with.
TLDR: A vibrant city that juxtaposes history with modernity. I still love Taipei as my #1 city though. Not gonna lie, I was missing Taipei by my first night. I think Taipei is much more convenient and a friendlier city, but I have friends who say otherwise. To each their own, I suppose. Hong Kong food post coming up soon! 😉