I’ve been hearing about Hong Kong for years, but to say that exceeded all my expectations would be the understatement of the century.
Okay, maybe that’s a dramatic, but for real - my boyfriend’s family is from Hong Kong, my parents have been twice, I have several friends who’ve been many times and the general consensus has always been “It’s amazing, you have to go.” It was a running joke with my boyfriend because my mom has said it to me so many times - “Seriously Alec, you have to go to Hong Kong, you would love it.” So we finally planned a trip for the bae’s birthday, where we could meet his family out there and get real local - and that we did.
I didn’t plan a lot of this particular trip, but I did pick out our hotel. We stayed at The Mira in Kowloon - think ‘the Midtown of Hong Kong’ - and it was fab. It’s technically a five star, with plenty of amenities like an indoor pool, spa, robes, full toiletries, etc etc, but the price tag wasn’t as bad as most 5 star hotels. It was also a super convenient location - all up in the hustle and bustle of everything.
The rest of the trip was a whirlwind of, sometimes literally, running around all of Hong Kong. Bae’s aunt and her friends are all local bus drivers - they drive these insanely tall double decker buses that whip around the city. So even though Hong Kong’s subway system is one of the most efficient in the world, we opted for these surprisingly comfortable buses to get around most places. You can grab an Octopus card - Hong Kong’s version of a Metrocard that works on buses, subways, and even random stores like 7/11 holy crap they really do got it figured out - and fill it with money to get to any reach of the city easily. Plus, the view is pretty incredible when you’re sitting up top a double decker bus.
We hit a lot of the bigger sites - the views at the Peak and monkeys literally just hanging out at Monkey Hill (aka the area between Kam Shan Country Park and Lion Rock Country Park) were my personal favs - and then some of the smaller towns like quaint and picturesque fishing village of Sai Kung. If you end up out that way, we found a super random but delicious hot dog place in Sai Kung that’s worth a try (there’s one hotdog with an entire crab served on top of it???). We also made a whole day trip to Macao, which I can’t even begin to get into without spiraling into a totally different story - I’ll save that for later.
We tried the famous roast goose, which is served at a restaurant that’s not exactly the easiest place to get to but holy moly, it’s the ‘famous’ roast goose for a reason. Easily one of my fav meals of the trip. Other food highlights included Café de Coral - Hong Kong-style fast food (but more like sit down fast food… think Zippy’s or Panera) - which was super tasty and this restaurant where they serve you hotpot with spicy chicken and then you use the same broth to order endless other food to hotpot with… it was insane tbh. Oh, and how could I forget dim sum - eat it every chance you can. I can’t put my finger on it, but just tastes better than any of the even truly authentic places in the states - somethin’ in the water, ya know? There were basically no non-Chinese people at any of the restaurants we ate at and the menu was rarely in English, but that’s how you know they’re gonna be delicious. And I’m blessed enough to date someone who’s fluent :)
Of course I had to hit up at least one famous Instagram spot on this trip. Hong Kong has a weird amount of places that aren’t actually tourist locations but they’re famous on Instagram for their aesthetics - think basketball courts, parking garage, playgrounds, etc. So instead of trying to find all of them, I picked my favorite one (cause let’s face it, I’m a sucker for a good pic). I chose the “Monster Building” aka a series of residential buildings all smooshed together to create this amazing vertical view (see below). This spot was actually in a few movies and it’s incredible to see. I literally just now discovered that there’s actually 2 different views - one’s the Montane Mansion courtyard and one’s the Yick Fat courtyard (you can Google Maps either for easy subway/walking directions). They’re right next to each other, but turns out I was in the slightly less colorful Montane Mansion courtyard - still, a view worth seeing. If you go though, remember it’s still a residential area - don’t be annoying.
The coolest part of city was how much it reminded me of New York, but just done better in a lot of ways. Everything was just much more efficient - the restaurants, the transportation, the architecture. It was one of those places that feels not only unique, but like it’s on a whole ‘nother level. The fact that a casual mall in Hong Kong, which were aplenty around the city, was 20 stories chockfull of stores and restaurants that were all bumpin’ tells you that they’re not messing around.
I know I always say “I’ll be back” after trips, but this time I really mean it. We didn’t even scratch the surface of what Hong Kong has to offer and I’m already excited about the return trip.