Granted, I normally write about ‘Intrepid Adventures” and my last few blogs have been more cityscape or cultural expeditions. Maybe I am maturing hey? no more hair raising crazy adventures!! Nah, will never happen.
My visit to Hong Kong was on business, and whilst I travel for business, I never normally write about the countries I have visited. But – Hong Kong fast became much, much more than a business trip. It became a deep and pure love affair. Hong Kong is definitely in my top three places to live in the world.
Let me tell you about this love affair, Hong Kong is much more than skyscrapers and spectacular views. The Hong Kong Tourism Board describes the city as “a kaleidoscope of life, a sophisticated fusion of East and West, a city of diversity where new and old meet at every turn.” It’s a pretty decent description to be fair.
Genuinely excited by my time in Hong Kong and knowing I had no time to waste due to working during the day, I done one of the fastest check-in, bag dump, clothing change and out the door in history. Seven minutes from arriving at the hotel to being checked in, changed and out on foot exploring – there it is people, an intrepid adventure in itself!! Maybe I should write to the Guiness book of records to see if I win for fastest exploring turn around – Usain Bolt eat your heart out.
Always one to love the history and ‘real’ aspect of any country I had done my research and was ready to head off the beaten track. Much to family & friends horror and messages of “be careful” – “don’t eat anything funny” – “don’t hook up with local gangs” bloody hell I’m in Hong Kong not Mexico and I’m not Stacey Dooley investigates.
Back to Hong Kong…
Hong Kong was once a fishing village tucked away in the Guangdong province until British merchants moved in and set up shop in the 1700s. The place to start my exploring absolutely had to be a fishing village. Off to Victoria Harbour to find a boat, I arrived at Pier 9 and took a boat to the Tai Sheung fishing village a divine mixture of sophisticated seafood restaurants and traditional shanty houses owned by the fisherman. A classic example of where new and old meet at every turn. Really didn’t have enough time here and will be back!
The boat ride was where I truly fell in love with Hong Kong. Yes of course, everyone must savour the bright lights, tall skyscrapers and incredible views. It is a magnificent sight, and one I am sure you would never be bored of viewing. But, being an adventurer at heart (not touristy) I deeply sought something else in this mini adventure with limited time.
A friend once sent me an image via Instagram with a caption of “THAT’S YOU”… It said “She had a gypsy soul and a warrior spirit. She made no apologies for her wild heart. She left normal and regular to explore the outskirts of magical and extraordinary”.
The boat trip around Hong Kong bay was different to my normal experiences and maybe this won’t happen to everyone in Hong Kong, but when I took myself to the front of the boat, in a private area of solitude, was when I could truly savour the magnificence Hong Kong, deeper spiritual feeling it gave me.
Hazy skies nearing dusk, it was just me, my thoughts and waves of the water against the boat. The mountains in the distance, the bright lights, hustle and bustle in the distance, but feeling a billion miles away. It’s actually a feeling I can’t describe, but their in that beauty and sensation, my love affair with Hong Kong began.
I done all the other usual touristy stuff Hong Kong has to offer, but the perfection in it for me was spending time with my dear colleague and host Catherine.
Now very much my “lou jau gei” – my dear friend. Catherine knows all the best restaurants, places to go, and stories to tell. Immediately upon meeting at the office, we fast became friends, or what I called kindred spirits.
On the first day we tackled a gigantic ferocious lobster for dinner (ok, slight exaggeration here) rewrote our whole strategy becoming pioneers of education and business in Hong Kong, laughed at my childlike passion for Chinese floating boats and shared endless chat about spiritualism, meditation, adventure, travel and Buddhism.
Catherine studied in Scotland so at least understands a bit of Scot and I now understand a bit of Cantonese “ach aye lou jau gei” surprised we didn’t get sectioned by anyone listening.
Catherine predicts I will move to Hong Kong within the year, and meet the love of my life. I’m currently balking – but in saying that, with 1.8m residents in 80sqm in Hong Kong Bay and 2.6m in 50sqm in Kowloon I might stand a chance here in Hong Kong. She also predicts I will get a £3m HKD business contract and live there forever. Right now I’d be happy with a visa! Very bold predictions!! Maybe we should lay off drinking so much Jasmine tea. Watch this space….
I will definitely return within the year to fulfil the intrepid adventures I so desperately wanted to, but ran out of time. Here is my 10 do’s and dont’s of any visit to Hong Kong:
- Visit my lou jau gei Catherine K at our business premises (28F 1063 Kings Rd, Hong Kong) beg her to join you for lunch, savour her wonderful company and stories about Hong Kong, spiritualism, meditation, Buddhism, books and travel. She will also tell you all the best places to go in Hong Kong!! But don’t ask for directions (she’s rubbish at geography!! 🙂 Number one DO!!!
- Take the Star Ferry Pier 7 to Tsim Sha Tsui at night. It will cost you approx 30p but will be the richest experience you’ll ever have (PS This isn’t the boat I took to Tai Sheung). Another classic example of old meets new.
3. Visit Tian Tan Bhudda. (Big Buddha). A great spiritual experience.
4. Get on a “ding ding” and bask in the glory of downtown Hong Kong.
5. Shopping – designer clothes heaven!
6. Temple Street night market. Don’t go when it’s too hot – very humid! Do eat in an authentic restaurant (if you’re brave enough) doesn’t matter what you eat – just make sure it’s cooked and not raw and you’ll be fine!
Want to get off the beaten track? These are the must do’s for outdoor adventurers.
7. “Off the beaten track” hike Dragons Back. Views are spectacular over Hong Kong Island and China Sea.
8. Hike and Bike in Tai Mei Tuk & Plover Cove. Bike ride can also start from Tai Wai adding an extra 20km of cycling. Then hike up into the mountains on foot and seek out the hidden waterfalls. You’ll hardly believe you’re in Hong Kong. If you fancy a trek with more undulation, you can hike to the remoteness of Pat Sin Leng and explore some more.
9. Sai Kung wild beach adventure. White sandy beaches, mountains, waterfalls, rock formations and speedboat adventures. This Island has it all. Trip Advisor says it is the “crown jewel of rural Hong Kong” A MUST SEE & DO!!
10. 8 hour kayaking adventure & snorkelling. Visiting Long Ke Wan & Pak Lap Wan beach.
- Don’t do any guided tours. Go explore yourself, Hong Kong is one of the cleanest and safest cities in the world! Transportation is easy… walk, run, hike, ding ding, metro, bus, taxi and ferry. EASY!! Savour every moment.
- NEVER EVER LEAVE!! That’s is all….
ngóh gwaajyuh néih “MHGOI” Hong Kong (I miss you, THANK YOU Hong Kong)!!
“The moment we decide to begin the journey to cross Great Plains of uncertainty is the moment we become pioneers”