Last year I was in Hong Kong at the end of September and took the city to my heart after a few days. Challenging to describe why, in the end, it’s just one more big city. But Hong Kong has something. Something that remains, something magical. Is it the street musicians who exude a very unusual atmosphere on the pier while you look at the skyline of all the skylines? Is it the colourful Chinese streets? The markets? Is it the skyscrapers that shimmer promisingly in the light of the setting sun? Is it the many people who – unlike in other metropolises – hurry through the city with a sense of relaxation? I don’t know. I can only say that if you have the opportunity to go there, take it. In this article, we will be discussing fun things to do in Hong Kong.
Trip to Hong Kong without going up there is not possible. No chance. You’d be sad after that. Even the ride is funnier. The Peak Tram, a Swiss funicular, goes up so steeply (and has been for almost 130 years) that you are pushed into your seat. I guess you may have already seen the view from up there on several pictures, the typical Hong Kong view. But when you stand up there yourself, then you get rid of the spit.
The promenade. No, THE promenade. The view from the Kowloon Peninsula to Hong Kong Island is world-famous. Skyscraper to skyscraper to skyscraper. Almost surreal. You stand there and look over. And don’t want to look away anymore. And in between tiny and large ships sail. The typical junks with the red sails. The Star Ferry. And sometimes just a cruise ship. Whatever fits through there. And in the evenings, when the street musicians spread this extraordinary atmosphere on the promenade and in front of the cultural centre square, you are almost blown away. It is like putting an arm around your shoulders and pulling you tight. But only until 11 p.m. Then the lights across the street are turned off. The friendly policemen then come with the stern look and politely ask you to leave the promenade NOW IMMEDIATELY. Finished fun now. Make you come home. And another side of the harbor, one skyscraper after the other says goodbye with “Good Night Hong Kong” neon signs and eyes that close and then – bang – the plug is pulled. This saves energy.
I like the market groove. So basically. And everywhere. I am terrible at bargaining, however. The best known are the Night Market (Temple Street) and the Ladies Market on Tung Choi Street. Both on the Kowloon Peninsula. But it is enough if you only go to ONE market since the same things offered everywhere anyway. Because the Ladies Market is not just about ladies’ items. The keenly observing tourist registered current market trends in a matter of seconds. What is available in one market is also available in another. Nice and kitschy Chinese memorabilia can found on Cat Street (Upper Lascar Row) on Hong Kong Island, just a few steps away from the beautiful Man Mo Temple. The food markets are also exciting. If you tick like me, you wish a bit that you wouldn’t stay in a hotel and cook your way through the many funny, colourful foods. I found a lovely food market on Hong Kong Island along Jubilee Street. But I limited myself to looking.
It’s just a ferry. Nothing special. And you could get to Kowloon and Hong Kong Island underground through the tunnel or by subway. But with the view that you get on top of every crossing, the ferry is something special after all. Even if you consider that the green and white Star Ferry ferries, like the Peak Tram, have existed for around 130 years, such a simple crossing becomes a unique experience here. Every time. And in every direction.
One of the cheapest and the most pleasant sightseeing option is a long, long trip by tram. As in other cities, you can book various tourist routes in trams and buses. This on her left, that on her right. But why not just sit in one of the traditional, cute, narrow trams, aka Ding Ding and, for example, chug comfortably over from Whitty Street, far right, to Causeway Bay, far left. Right across Central. But be sure to sit upstairs. And best of all. It works best when you get on at a terminus.
The mid-level escalator is the longest covered escalator in the world. Sometimes I would find that very useful in Zurich when you have to go up the slope. The Central Mid-Level-Escalator leads from Central through the trendy Soho district up to the Mid-Levels district. A better neighbourhood. Many ex-pats and business people live here. And so that they can all comfortably go down to the centre to work in the morning and back up home in the evening with as little effort as possible, the 800-meter-long escalator has been going from top to bottom until 10 a.m. and then down from 10 a.m. for about 24 years up. After all, they also pay gross rents up there. The escalator climbs 135 meters. There are many restaurants and bars and small shops in the small alleys to the left and right of it. So it is worthwhile to get out here and there and take a look around.
Taking a break from the big city is lovely. And for this, among other things, Hong Kong Island’s rear side is ideal. One of the regular buses from CENTRAL takes you to another world in just under an hour. The metropolis of Hong Kong is still just around the corner but still feels far away.
It is very popular as a beach, both with locals and tourists; it is the chic resort of Repulse Bay with its wide, light sandy beach and its famous, curved wall of high-rise buildings. Here are also the most expensive apartments in Hong Kong, along with those around Victoria Peak. Jackie Chan is said to live here too. If you drive a little further, you will come to Stanley Village. A very wonderful place with a vast, pretty market. And what I like here is the “Fix Price” signs there. Nobody here expects me to haggle, and I can shop for my souvenirs in peace. Stanley is a beautiful village. A bit overcrowded with tourists, but many people can still ignore because it is simply magical. On the promenade, bars, restaurants, and pubs give each other a hand. I highly recommend the Pickled Pelican Pub. Proper, zero Chinese. But they have truffle fries. I think it’s a convincing argument.
As a newcomer to China, Hong Kong is super easy to get around, and you can get anywhere. The climate is subtropical, which I like. In our winter half-year, it is also pleasant for cold-blooded animals in terms of temperature.