This was my second time in Hong Kong and, just like last time, I really enjoyed my time there! It was Jacquelyn’s first time and I feel as though it’s a pretty good follow-up city to Singapore and a good destination before entering China mainland.
We ended up doing quite a lot in Hong Kong: watched the light and laser show, ate at a Michelin star restaurant (yummy!), watch the horse races, repaired the cracked iPhone screen, visited a Buddhist nunnery, went up Victoria Peak, and ate a lot of yummy food. We haven’t seen a lot of Americans in Asia and Hong Kong was no different. We thought we found an American at the horse race track since she was wearing a “USA” sash (think Ms. America sash that drapes across their shoulder and hip) but it quickly became clear that she was very Russian. Bummer. Someday, we’ll find Americans again.
The reason we went to Hong Kong wasn’t completely for tourism. I have a visa for China because of my last job but Jacquelyn did not. We were able to find a agency to get us the visa with minimal hassle: no invitation letter, no trip itinerary, no proof of income / savings or proof of a return ticket. No idea how exactly the agency was able to get us the visa as all those items are required in the application but, after four days, Jacquelyn ended up with a 10 year, multiple entry, tourist visa!
The Michelin star restaurant we visited is one of the cheapest, if not the cheapest, Michelin star restaurant in the world. They serve dim sum dishes so everything is pretty small. We showed up at 11:30AM and there was already a half an hour wait for a table. We were glad we stuck around because the meal was pretty tasty! They packed a ton of people into this rather small place – the table had to be pulled out for me to sit down! I don’t think the fire marshal would have been happy.
Hong Kong is a great half-step into China since it’s like “China-lite”. The people aren’t quite as gross (spitting, coughing, eating with mouth open), rude (in the way, yelling on phones), pushy, or quite as crowded and it’s very easy to get around with Hong Kong’s awesome public transit system. It’s a great place to experience some of the benefits of China without the vastly different cultural norms. It’s possible to find whatever western thing we had back in the US in Hong Kong. We were looking to take a cooking class in Hong Kong and I couldn’t even find a place that would offer authentic Chinese food! It was very easy to find French, Italian types of cooking.
There was only one small bummer and that was the hazy air. The last time I visited a typhoon rolled thru so all the pollution from mainland China was knocked down or blown away. The seven days we were in Hong Kong were rather dry and not really windy so we had to deal with slightly worse views. There’s some beautiful cities in China, I look forward to the day when there’s sufficient pollution controls so people can enjoy the views!
We have been homeless and traveling for a little over four months. We’re starting to find things that we like while traveling and then do our best to find those items while traveling. The best example I can give is coffee. We love coffee in the morning and we love tasty coffee to-boot. We’ve tried a lot of instant coffees and most are quite dreadful. Somehow we stumbled across G7 instant cappuccino in India and we’ve tried our best to get that coffee everywhere else. We started to run low in Hong Kong so we started our search. We found other types of G7 coffee but we didn’t want that crap; we ended up spending an evening wandering around to different pharmacies and grocery stores looking for the coffee. Alas, we found a place with many, many, many boxes of what we were looking for and bought out their stock! Win! We’re hoping this will last us through our trip in China. Jacquelyn’s backpack is now about 1/3 filled with instant cappuccino. Totally worth it.
We left for China on train. It was really cool, we rode a train from downtown Hong Kong to the border and walked into Shenzhen, China. I was a bit nervous about Jacquelyn’s visa since it kind of seemed too good to be true but we had no problems and quickly found ourselves in China. We chose this route because it’s a lot cheaper to fly from Shenzhen to anywhere in China vs. flying from Hong Kong to anywhere in China. We thought it’s because Hong Kong is still it’s own country and it would be considered an international flight. We also used a website called Ctrip to book all of our travel because Ctrip flight costs were about 50% of the same flight in the same plane on the same day when booking through Kayak, Expedia or the airline’s own website! This means we were able to get flights that were in similar cost to sleeper trains so we obviously chose flights since it’s way better to take a two hour flight than a 13 hour train ride!
Luckily, we get to go back to Hong Kong. We have nearly 3.5weeks of sightseeing planned out in China and then we’ll be coming back to Hong Kong Jan 6-9 before we move on to some other part of the world. We’ve been gone for one day and I’m already looking forward to our return!
Enjoy the photos!