My first visit to Hong Kong was in the Summer of 2014. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much of the trip, given the weather ( it was hot and humid ! ) and the general impression.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Hong Kong, easily makes it to the list of my top 5 places to visit.
The way Hong Kong took inception is quite as interesting as the city and culture that stands today.
The British Empire was notorious for extracting huge amounts of tea from China in exchange of Silver.
Soon enough, the central reserve of the British Empire found itself running out of silver.
Notoriously, they started smuggling Opium to China, to keep the inflow of tea intact.
This naturally led to a war between China and the British Empire.
China lost the war and the most vital port it held for trade, which is today known as Hong Kong.
Britain agreed to retreat on the condition of owning this port through a lease lasting for the next 99 years ( which they somehow assumed to be an eternity ).
It was only in 1997, that Hong Kong gained independence from the UK.
Today Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region under China , and one of the richest financial and trading centres.
Even today if you were to roam the streets, you’ll instantly see a barrage of British Footprints on the city’s architecture, businesses, and infrastructure.
The more you keep looking into the city, you realise how it’s a balanced amalgamation of East meets West.
Whereon one hand, HK is all about hardened business and commerce, on the other hand, you’ll see the most eclectic architectural choices, pertaining to their faith in the concept of Feng Shui.
You will literally find huge chunks of holes in the middle of buildings, which are put there with the belief that good fortune and prosperity comes when Dragons fly through it.
But next up, if you look closely, you will see how multi layered, cultural elements are woven into HK’s fabric.
The impression that you’d get it is that of a concrete jungle, but two thirds of Hong Kong is actually made up of the country side and several small islands. ( Do not come back without a hike on the trail of the Dragon’s Back, famously titled as the worlds ‘ Best Urban Hike ‘).
Enough with the back drop.
Now, I’m far from a fan when it comes to packed itineraries, but, I will leave you with a couple of must do’s, which I feel will be really worth your time.
Walk around Central. It’s the city’s hub. Hugely populated with bustling crowds all around. But hey that’s how you really want to experience a country.
Please, please, dine at the local diners. The ones in the small alleys, without an air conditioner. You will be blown away by the variety and taste their cuisine offers.
The Peak. Something you just can’t miss. You get the best views of HK, with a ton of stuff to do before you make your way back down.
Disneyland ! No trips a trip until you get let loose the kid inside you. It’ll take a whole day, but boy is it worth it.
Last but not the least, take the Star ferry to Macau.
Not game for gambling ?
You can opt to go island hopping from San Kung, Lantau, Lamma, Cheung Chau.
Get to see small villages, experience good sea food restaurants, monasteries and some awesome beaches.
And that’s that. One point of slight caution though.
If you’re planning a trip, try and push it towards the months of Winter.
Hong Kong Summers can be quite something to take on.
Other than that, it’ll give you everything and more you’d want from a new visit.