I don’t know why I love this city. I don’t think I loved it the first time I visited. It’s not the cleanest, the friendliest, or the easiest to navigate. But each time I find new surprises, fascinating people, or comfort in familiarity. This time it was pockets of quiet sanctuary amidst the bustle of the city, skyscrapers propped up by the iconic bamboo scaffolding, and glimpses of order amongst the chaos…somehow, each time, it enchants me further.

Hong Kong

My first encounter with Hong Kong was on a layover to Vietnam. I don’t think I knew what to make of it. The city is an assault on the senses; the minute you exit the MTR, you’re bombarded by neon signs in strange languages, colossal shopping centers, and people everywhere in a hurry. Compared to the relatively relaxed atmosphere of Ho Chi Minh City, it was a stark contrast. Though I haven’t accumulated tons of time there, it’s ended up being the one city that I’ve visited the most over the years.

This is a city that has grown on me over the past ten years. I noticed it when I stepped off the plane last week; there was the strange familiarity of the airport, the transit system, and even arriving at my hostel in Kowloon, I started to recall the last time I was there, foraging in the streets around Chungking Mansion for a late-night snack.

Star Ferry

So, when I landed last week on an extended layover, I knew I didn’t have a lot of time. Luckily, I quickly became acquainted with a couple of guys from the hostel I was staying in, and we spent the night exploring Temple Street bonding over cheap seafood and beers.

These were some the things I was most excited about as I landed in Hong Kong:

  • The Star Ferry. I’m drawn to the water, and I love the view of the skylines on either side from that short journey from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island. It’s not as fast or convenient as the metro, but it’s a reminder to me to slow down, enjoy the view, and inhabit a moment of peace amidst the bustle of the city.
  • Pineapple Buns and Milk Tea from Kam Wah Cafe, complete with Cantonese language barrier.
  • A coffee-crawl between some of the coffee shops I found last time I was in the area.
  • A copious supply of egg tarts.
  • Wandering around Temple Street Night Market sampling the street food.
  • The Char Siu and Siu Yuk of my dreams. Research for future kitchen experiments

Thanks to suggestions from friends, I encountered some new surprises this time around

I’ve added the highlights to my (slowly) growing map of Hong Kong sights. My next stop is a short train ride, and my first step inside of mainland China- Guangzhou.

No webmentions were found.