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I live in Shanghai on a tourist visa. That means that every 90 days I have to leave the country. Now this might come as a surprise to some people but even though Hong Kong is now part of China, traveling there is still considered leaving the country. As a visit to Hong Kong is the cheapest and fastest way of leaving the country from Shanghai, I find myself there once every 3 months or so. While at first I thought these trips were going to be a huge pain in my ass, I now look forward to them because as it turns out, Hong Kong is a pretty incredible city.
One of the things that make Hong Kong such an attractive city is that a huge percent of Hong Kong is uninhabited rainforest. This means that you can hop on a ferry or a bus from the city center and be on a tropical beach in less than an hour. Hong Kong is a large group of islands and while a few of those islands are the most densely populated places on earth, the vast majority of them are tropical hangouts with white sand beaches, wicked good seafood, and places to go camping. During my last visit my friend who lives there came home from work in a suit and was like “hey some of my friends are going surfing, want to come?” Any place where that scenario is possible is definitely a place I wouldn’t mind living.
Another reason while I find Hong Kong such an amazing place to visit is that the central part of the city is built on a mountainside. That means when you’re out trying to find something to eat, shopping, or club hopping, you have to navigate through a maze of staircases, elevated walkways, moving sidewalks, and escalators just to get around. Some might find that exhausting but to me it’s exciting as fuck. In fact, Hong Kong has the largest outdoor covered escalator system in the world, which many people use to commute to work. One night I had the pleasure of using the escalator system to travel between bars and clubs which was a shit ton of fun. Guess I’m still kind of like a kid when it comes to escalators.
There are so may insider tricks for you to travel smart. Yes you can get free flights to Hong kong with points, for that you have select the right credit card, pay for everything using credit card and consolidate your miles by using frequent flyer accounts of yourself to maximize your points. Most of the travel hackers use it as their business to play insider tricks and loopholes to win airlines at their own game. This is the best way to get free flights complimentary upgrades etc.
The only two downsides of Hong Kong are that it is:
1. Humid as hell: I was sweating balls the whole time I was there. I’m still dumbfounded by how so many people who live there manage to wear a suit to work everyday. If I put on a suit in Hong Kong in the middle of August and walked outside I would be dead within minutes. Maybe seconds. However you do get a nice sea breeze in some parts of the city, which is a plus.
2. Expensive as fuck: When I say this, I’m mainly talking about drinks and rent/accommodation. No joke I bought a round of drinks for my friends at this one club and almost went broke. Ok I’m exaggerating a little bit but drinks at most bars and clubs will cost you $10-25USD. Due to the prices, a lot of people end up buying beers from the Club 7-11 and just getting tanked before going to the clubs. Hotels can be real expensive on Hong Kong island as well so if your trying to save money stay at Chunking mansions in Kowloon. Would love to tell you more about Chunking mansions but that will be the topic of another blog post.
Once you get past these two downsides, there really isn’t much to complain about in Hong Kong. It has the perfect fusion of eastern and western culture, which makes for amazing food, wild nightlife, and beautiful surroundings. Maybe one day when I have a bit more money I’d consider living there for a while but for now…its back to Shanghai for me.
Great idea asking your followers to suggest places for you to visit Hong Kong and even more glad that you enjoyed one of my favourite cities!
I like Hong Kong but yes I couldn’t get over how expensive it was and I’ve never seen so many designer shops in all my life. After seeing Chunking mansions on our visit I’m looking forward to reading your stories about it 🙂
I’m not gonna lie… after 8 months on the road, I reached Hong Kong and have never been so excited to see a Pizza Hut lol
I live in Shanghai, too, and love my trips to HK! Such a freakin’ cool city. Looking forward to your take on Chunking. Have you tried the Indian food?
OMG the Indian food is to DIE FOR!
The city doesn’t have a ton of appeal to me, though it does seem like a fun place to spend a day or two. The real draw for me when it comes to Hong Kong is the beaches, hiking, mountains, and all the rest of the outdoor stuff. I could easily spend a couple of days out of every few months camping in the rainforest of Hong Kong. Sounds like a dream to me!
Yeah I wish I had time to get to some of that too….. the beaches looked quite beautiful from the ferry.
I really want to go to Hong Kong – even despite what the humidity will do to my hair !
Biggest hair afro for me to date was Japan lol
Forced to travel for visa reasons can be a pain but it sounds as though this is a big plus for you. When I had three monthly work visas whilst working in Saudi Arabia they changed frequently with the entry requirements. Towards the end it was ridiculous and I had to leave the Kingdom at least once every 2 weeks! Quite disruptive but a long drive would fix the problem.
HK’s my first overseas trip. I was 7 years old that time and i have vivid memories of it. I’m planning to go there on a solo trip early next year just to reminisce happy family times.
It sounds like a great place to live. I’ve just moved to Sydney and am enjoying the warm weather and proximity to the beach. I can see now why so many Brits get stuck here!
Sounds like a place I’d like to visit but not live. I can live on cheap in fairly expensive cities, but after a while, it gets old always pinching pennies.
Yeah, there’s always a way to find cheaper food and accommodation, just depends on what’s most important to you in your travels.
I guess its both good and crazy that going to Hong Kong is getting out of the country. I always hear how expensive it is to visit there and you confirmed again. I live in south Florida so hopefully its not as bad there as it is here. If so may help be with you!! Still would enjoy visiting there though.
Nice post. Love to here more…
Had no idea much of Hong Kong is rainforest! But yes, it is crazy expensive!
I was just in Hong Kong, and I really enjoyed my time there. I spent 3 nights at a friend’s place in Shek O. If you haven’t been, you must! (I can probably even provide you with decent directions from Hong Kong from memory!)
That’s awesome! Thanks Colleen!
I hate to say it (actually, I don’t) but I’m just not a fan of Hong Kong. It might have been the jet lag – the worst I’ve ever had – or it could have been the fact that it was so humid and then a typhoon came… Haha, I guess luck wasn’t on my side! I’ll have to check it out again some day.
I can totally understand that. The humidity anywhere in Asia can make for such uncomfortable travels. But I hope you’d give HK a second chance one day! 🙂
My favourite place on earth – thanks for the memory nudge!
I went there last in 2010 on honeymoon and didn’t think it was too expensive – around £3 a beer in a bar. The best memory was the view from the champagne bar at the top of the Peninsula Hotel (now that was expensive at £11 a glass, but worth it).
Dear Hong Kong, why are you so beautiful and so expensive at the same time!!!???? I’m back in HK and I can’t deal with prices 🙁
Been to Hong Kong and cross over to Macau and Shen Zhen on a 9 days trip. As compare to HK and MO, SZ is a much better place for holiday. Agree on the sky high traveling and accommodation cost in Hong Kong, it is now comparable to some of the advanced countries in Europe. But overall, still a good country for foods and little of sightseeing:)
I’d love to visit one day. Many say the energy is amazing here!
I just got back from Hong Kong, and I’d like to confirm #2.
Really enjoyed reading your article, I like you went to HK in the summer time the first time i went and nearly melted i had to shower about 4 times a day! Def go in the winter months, i was there in November and it was warm but not humid. And liked your comment about club 7/11 spent many a night drinking out there 😉
This may be the best post I have ever read on Hong Kong – you are actually making me want to visit! I’ll just have to go in… whatever the least humid season is!
I love Hong Kong but would have to agree with you that it is expensive and very very humid. That’s all part of the experience though, if you can deal with those two little negatives, you’ll have a great time there