A visual mix
British influence on the urban landscape of Hong Kong is hardly surprising and saying that it reminded me a lot of London is probably like stating the obvious but I cannot run away from this comparison. Sorry! Left-hand side traffic, double-decker buses, some familiar signage mixed with bilingual typography and Asian design. Whenever I was walking down Nathan Road it felt like if I was on Oxford Street. Despite occasional glancing at few shopping displays I was still moving faster than any bus out there. Sounds familiar?
Hong Kong brings together striking contrasts. There are fancy designer shops and luxury boutiques round the corner from local markets full of cheap knick-knacks and fake electronic gadgets. You breathe in a sweet smell of perfumes just to cover your nose a minute later because you cannot stand an odour of rubbish.
During the week smartly dressed professionals leave the offices to meet up with friends for a dinner and on Sunday a huge crowd of maids from Southeast Asia will enjoy their day off sitting on cardboard boxes around Central eating boiled eggs, rice from plastic lunch boxes and listening to music played from the smartphones or video calling their families. Oh, what a mad world…
If exploring Kowloon was mainly about absorbing the atmosphere of the place than the way I was discovering Hong Kong Island had more structure to it as it was largely dictated by the weather. A very cloudy sky or rain is the last thing you want when you want to admire Hong Kong’s most iconic views.
A trip to the Victoria Peak, which overlooks the city’s skyline and magnificent Victoria Harbour is an absolute must. I took a public bus to get to the top, not the heavily advertised Peak Tram, and I recommend it. Save your dollars to indulge in delicious dim sum! It is also something to experience when in Hong Kong.
A bus to Stanley will take you by a scenic Repulse Bay and if you decide to venture out in the afternoon you can enjoy your time in this seaside village while the sun is setting down. Stanley Market offers the usual bargains, nothing special if you ask me, so do not shop until you drop. Regain the strength after a busy day to look up the skyscrapers in Central, hang out in Wan Chai or fight for a table at some cool restaurant in Lan Kwai Fong or Soho. Hong Kong Island definitely lived up to my expectations!