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Published: September 7th 2011
First good view from the Peak Tram
My trip to Hong Kong went relatively seamless. Relative on China’s terms anyway.
I arrived late at night and decided to take the HoteLink shuttle bus into town. The city has an MTR airport express (subway system) that goes to downtown HK that is faster but this route took me right to the front door of my hotel. I thought this was a good option for a first timer’s visit to this massive city!
I arrived at the Wesley Hotel and was pleasantly surprised to be upgraded to an executive suite. This meant I got a king size bed, fridge, microwave and a huge room. It was awesome and so nice to stay there for a few days, especially after coming from student dorms in Yongchuan.
The night was getting late so I decided to just keep around the area close to my hotel. My hotel is in the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong. My first impressions of Hong Kong were wonderful. I don’t even know where to begin. There were so many cafes, eateries, and boutique shops. Anything I wanted I could have had. Also – there are foreigners EVERYWHERE! I mean, everywhere. It was so weird to come
I had to do it
from a place like Yongchuan where I saw no foreigners for almost a month to a place where there are literally multiple foreigners on every street corner. I was in shock to be honest
My first night I had an amazing bowl of dumplings and noodles in soup. It was fantastic and only 223HKD (less than 3 dollars). Hong Kong restaurants can get very expensive, as expensive as you want but the nice thing about HK is that it can also be as cheap as you want. I like cheap.
My second day did not go as well. It started off great. I arrived at the visa office super early and was first in line. By 8:15am there were probably 60 people behind me. I was confident that the process would go really smoothly. I was completely wrong. After going through security, getting my number, and waiting to be called I was greeted by a not so nice lady who was supposed to issue me my visa. She went through my application and said I was missing some paperwork from my school.
I almost had a heart attack. How could I be missing paperwork? My school told me countless times
‘don’t worry, we do this ALL the time’ yet I was missing my school’s registration and licence number. I started to panic. The visa lady told me to phone someone and get them to fax it to her at the visa office.
Phone who? How? With the broken payphone out in the hall? I don’t think so. Panic ensued.
To make a long story short – I met an amazing girl from Botswana going through the same problem as me, except she had a working cell phone, and an old Mexican guy looking for friends. An eruption of my bag to find a phone number, numerous phone calls and texts to my school, and a few hours later I was allowed to hand in my visa application. My fingers were crossed that I would get it the next day.
Stressful part over. The girl from Botswana (lets call her GfB) and Mexican guy looking for friends (now MMF) and I all went to Starbucks after that. I needed a coffee (my first one in a month) and a few minutes to calm down from the visa fiasco. It was an amazing latte and I deserved every sip of it!
myself and GfB headed over to the Peak Tram – arguably HK’s biggest tourist attraction while MMF went back to his place to change his shorts (an apparent zipper malfunction). The tram was great – it wasn’t the clearest of days but the views from the top are still jaw dropping (FYI - Its 40HKD for a return trip on the tram).
We then headed over to the Star Ferry – a transport service that links HK to Kowloon. It one of the most scenic and cheapest cruises you can find. For 2.5 HKD you get some amazing views of the city from the water. In Kowloon we met back up with MMF and checked out the Chungking Mansions (an old, old building that is known for its cheap hostels up top and various international traders on the bottom) as well as the avenue of the stars. The avenue of the stars is like the Hollywood walk of fame but way worse. The highlights were Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee’s stars as well as the statue of Bruce Lee.
The three of us then headed over to the Temple Street Night Market – home of some amazing knock offs and
anything else you may want to buy.
By this time it was almost 11pm and I really felt I had made the most of my full day in HK (barring the hours wasted at the visa office). I headed back to my posh hotel while the other two went to the Chungking Mansions. There are 2 things worth mentioning about HK: the transit system in HK is so efficient and organized that it makes visiting the city much more enjoyable. There is no stress on how to get from point A to point B. Furthermore, HK feels like such a safe city that it didn’t bother me walking back to my hotel late at night.
Day 3 in HK had me heading over to the eastern part of Wan Chai in the morning before I picked up my visa (yay!) and then to the Central area before going to the airport. I drank coffee, ate egg tarts, explored the Wan Chai Market, went to a super poshy mall, had won ton noodle soup and for the most part just enjoyed the city. It was a great day! In Central I went to Hong Kong park - a wonderful green area
in the middle of the city. It also contains the (free) museum of Tea ware – very informative.
I took the airport express back to the airport – downtown to the airport in 24 minutes (the bus took over an hour). It has wireless internet on the train – there are also free computers to use at some of the more popular metro stations – crazy! I could check my email while waiting for my train to come!
So that about sums up my time in HK. I am already looking forward to going back. I don’t think I even touched the surface of the city – apparently there are also great beaches and hiking trails!
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