A destination long on my bucket list, Hong Kong is incredible country (technically a SAR), which is evidently still hugely influenced by British culture. A colony only up until 1997, Hong Kong is a strange combination of extremes; overwhelming Asian foods, smells, and people who don’t speak a world of English, but also hundreds of western restaurants, expats and extortionately priced Mark's and Spencer's and Tesco. A collection of islands so radically different to China, Hong Kong is a maze of grungy skyscrapers embellished with aircon units, and leafy palms randomly sprouting from any available ground in this densely populated destination.
There is absolutely no shortage of things to do and experience in Hong Kong, with everything from the views from the breathtaking Victoria Peak after journeying the ridiculously steep original trams, Happy Valley horse racing, brimming with westerners and of course a long list of stunning hikes. Simply exploring each district in Hong Kong is an experience, which each exuding a different vibe. The streets of Sai Ying Pun can seem a grungy mix of neon signs and 7-elevens whilst Central is a jigsaw of Prada, Chanel and Balenciaga, overlooking the harbour hosting impromptu karaoke. Originally leased to Britain following the first Opium War, Kowloon and it's collection of New Territories which encompasses Hong Kong, is an economical and social cosmopolitan of Asia. Whilst Hong Kong has evolved separately to China under its British reign, it was handed back in 1997 but under the 'One Country, Two Systems' principle, which meant that Hong Kong became a S.A.R retaining its own currency, economics and government. Although profoundly different to China, Hong Kong is not entirely Westernised and is still a wonderful blend of exotic Asian culture and edgy, urban development, boasting an iconic skyline and colourful traditions.
Currency: Hong Kong Dollars HKD
Time Difference: +7 Hours (depending on the time of the year as Hong Kong do not put their clocks forward akin to us British!)
Best Time to Visit: There are certain seasons in Hong Kong you should avoid due to the tropical rain and bipolar temperatures.September until November is a good time to visit, as the weather is warm without any rain. December until January is cold (10/11 degrees if you can call that cold), but is comfortable for walking. Around Easter until September is considered the tropical season, with hot humid temperatures and torrential rain.
Flight Time: Cathay Pacific now fly direct from Manchester with a flight time at an eye-watering 12 hours. Having tried this however, I must preferred it to the rush and dash of a change over in Dubai or Abu Dhabi and was pleasantly surprised by the airline.
Price Range: There are plenty of things which are cheap in Hong Kong, taxis are around £3 for a 15-20 minute journey, the MTR (their efficient metro system) is ridiculously cheap, with short-mid journeys (around 4/5 stops) costing around 60 pence. But there are also things which seem oddly priced, for instance soft drinks such as sprite and coke are often just as expensive as beer or wine, (£4.80 for a regular sprite or a bottle of ashai). With Hong Kong being the most expensive place to live in the world it is unsurprising that accommodation is also extortionate, with our absolutely miniscule airbnb coming in at almost £800 for 6 nights. Like many trips you can do Hong Kong on the cheap whilst you are there, but be prepared to shell out at least a £1,000 just to get there and stay.
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