Roar of an Asian tiger

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December 17th 1986
Published: August 8th 2007
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Hong Kong roars along as one of the four Asian tigers, dear reader; along with Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. The territory is an Asian powerhouse in the region, and excels by operating as a financial centre with a deregulated economy committed to low taxes and a philosophy of small government. The services economy accounts for 90% of GDP in the territory, with Kowloon peninsula attached to the Chinese mainland and sharing a border with Guangdong province. Hong Kong is also one of the most densely populated places on earth, with a population of six million people packed into a small group of islands. Leading on from the previous journal, my travel companions and I continued our journey south from Canton and noticed significant changes as we headed towards Hong Kong. The level of wealth, infrastructure and transportation was far higher as we travelled through Shenzhen, and then on to our final destination of Kowloon. The train was luxurious and modern compared to our previous trips on the mainland, and it was exciting to arrive in Hong Kong as we soaked up the energy and buzz emanating from this marvellous city. This proved the right tonic for us after some challenging travel experiences in China.

I checked into a recommended Kowloon hostel, and met up with a Swedish girl from the Tokyo guest house as planned. She left a message for me on the hostel notice board, and after reading it I went up to her dorm room and sat on the edge of the bed while she was having a snooze. She woke to rouse away a creep probably, but after recovering from the initial surprise of seeing me there out of the blue I was greeted with a hug. I spent a few days enjoying the sights of the city with my friend, and Hong Kong is an exciting travel destination. After she departed I stayed in the city for the remainder of the week, and had a very enjoyable time exploring and dining out on superb meals at the local restaurants.

One day I caught the Star Ferry for the ten minute journey across the harbour to Hong Kong island. The island features awe inspiring skyscrapers that confirms Hong Kong as a financial hub in the region, and it's great fun strolling around while admiring the impressive architecture. When riding the ferry back to Kowloon I was amused to see a large sign warning patrons that spitting is not permitted. The week rolled on and I found the locals easy to deal with. They speak good English as well as Cantonese, and are efficient and businesslike. The Chinese have long been renowned for their business nous, and the free market economy Hong Kong enjoys under British rule means the locals have every opportunity to make the most of the industrious nature that is a defining trait. While in China I got the impression the mainlanders have a sneaking admiration for Hong Kong and her people, and they were fascinated when we mentioned Hong Kong as our travel destination.

The hostel was situated in a high rise building full of other hostels and other businesses, so it was easy to get information on what to see and do while in Hong Kong. I arranged an airline ticket to Seoul and was booked to travel on a China airways flight with just the slightest touch of apprehension! Oh well, there's no disputing they offered the most competitive airfares in Hong Kong. I visited a few Hong Kong clubs with other travellers, and was surprised to see the Chinese forming precise lines to dance in front of the mirrors as I'd seen in Japan. The highlights of Hong Kong include riding on the double decker buses, strolling around the buzzing and vibrant metropolis, and of course sampling the culinary delights on offer throughout the city. I've always loved Chinese food and the restaurants in Hong Kong were clearly superior to the restaurants on the mainland. Many travellers to Hong Kong also pay a visit to the tailors who are very professional and offer incredible value for money. I spent a very enjoyable week exploring the buzzing metropolis of Hong Kong and the city is a destination where, basically all of you should be here now!

Fortune doesn't change a man, it only unmasks him." Oriental proverb

As I continue my travels, until next time it's signing off for now


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