Barry Paley

Hong Kong; Things to do Before you Die

Barry Paley
Hong Kong; Things to do Before you Die

I am a country boy who normally takes Alpine Holidays. However, to split the winter, I decided to see Hong Kong in February. What can I say? Hong Kong will blow your mind! The city skyline makes New York look like a provincial town. You never saw so many sky scrapers. Even the suburban residential districts are crammed with sky scraping tower blocks.

The city is busy, busy, busy with crowded pavements, countless small shops, work shops and street markets. There appear to be no big super markets but you never need to go more than a few yards to buy your groceries or anything else you can imagine. A whole street of shops only selling shoes!

Everyone remarked on the public transport system. In particular, the underground system or MTR as they call it. It is fast, frequent, clean, cheap and without that characteristic smell of the London underground. You pay by “OCTOPUS” card which is similar to the London Oyster card.

It is a busy holiday and you will travel by tube, funicular railway, ferries (Catamaran, the iconic “Star ferry” and even a small fishing boat ferry), double-decker bus, tram, “Public Light Bus 16 Seats”, Taxi and a Cable Car. All air conditioned of course. Oh, and a network of overhead pedestrian walk ways, travelators and a 2,598 ft long escalator. The Public Light Bus is a small 16 seater which sits at its stop until full, then takes off driven by an aspiring F1 driver.

The countryside walks are a nice break from the city. Easy walking, very nice views. Quiet with very few other people about. This being HK, the paths into the wilds of the countryside are mostly concreted paths with the hills accessed by concrete steps. Very strange. (What would the National Trust say?)

Day trip to Macau - Not a lot to see in Macau but “tick, been there”. The Protestant Cemetery is interesting for tombstone fans. Lots of English and USA seamen including one poor chap who was murdered.

Food – Chinese, Indian, Turkish, Fish and English taken in various restaurants, all very enjoyable. The meals consisted of about six courses so that even the most conservative of eaters will find something they like

Hotel - Very nice, air-conditioned and low-rise by HK standards – only 17 floors! The electricity sockets are UK type and in your room you will find a fridge with mini-bar, a kettle, flat screen TV, hair dryer and a lead to connect your lap top to the internet.

Random oddities in Hong Kong

Fully gowned bride queuing at the bus stop.
Hakka hatted street sweepers.
Bamboo scaffolding.
Dynamic electronic tube maps & “Mind the Gap”.
Thousands of immigrant workers at weekends sitting in social groups on cardboard on the walkways.
Recycle waste bin just for birds.
Seafood tanks.
Hotel rooms by the hour.

Things you must do before you die – visit Hong Kong.