It seems to all depend on what season of the year you visit Hong Kong. Located on the southern coast of China with a humid subtropical climate, this metropolitan city has four, different seasons. Winter is pleasant and dry, spring is unstable and wet, summers are hot and humid and autumn is moderately dry.
One winter on a Chinese New Year, I visited Hong Kong. In fact, in my mind, it was a desperate longing to see Mickey Mouse in Disneyland. Yes, Mickey Mouse, I thought there was nothing wrong with that. So, I found myself falling in line, patiently waiting for my turn to get my photo taken beside Mickey, his arm in my shoulder, never mind the little kids behind me, also waiting for their turns to hug Mickey! I learned from my Chinese friend that the curved welcome sign at the park entrance had some Chinese influence, a feng-shui belief to ward off misfortune and that good energy will not flow out to the sea. Knowing this, made my trip to Disneyland unique, compared to other theme parks that did not treat me to anything cultural.
I knew that my trip was not all about the fancy Disneyland and the beautiful parade of stars and fireworks display. Hong Kong is an island with stark contrasts. You see a Chinese city that used to be a strong British colony until they were handed back over to China in 1997. Its geography consists of three main territories, each offering a different kind of perception and attraction. The strip of Victoria Harbour, a natural landform harbour, divides Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula. The New Territories comprise the mainland area north of Kowloon and south of the Sham Chun River which is the border between Hong Kong and Mainland China.
Boarding the MTR from Kowloon, I went to Hong Kong Island, locally referred as Hong Kong, China side or the Island side. It is rather the more cultural, historical side as well as the political and economic center of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong side has a very irresistible charm, a sweet contrast of the old and new. I went to Causeway Bay, to savour the good food that Hong Kong is so proud of. The dim sum, squashed with oyster sauce and baby kailan leaves, was gorgeous to my palate, especially when paired with a hot cup of chicken broth. Beware however that most restaurants served a tea before the meals, but they were not complimentary. My partner was so excited, grabbing the little teacup and ended paying a few extra dollars for it. That was lesson number one.
Going around, I enjoyed the sights by taking the trams from Kennedy Town to Shau Kei Wan. I was very excited about this first time experience onboard the Hong Kong, China tramways which is one of the earliest forms of public transport in the metropolis. They have not only been a form of transport for over 100 years but also are a major tourist attraction on the island. Hong Kong has the only fully double-decker tram fleet in the world.
The feeling of excitement when I was tripping around Hong Kong seemed endless, as there were lots of things to see and do. One place leads to another and I just did not end up empty-handed of stories and pictures to take. I tried going up The Peak, to see the panoramic beauty of the whole city in all angles from an altitude of 1,811 feet. I was literally on top of the world, enjoying the glitzy glitters of the lights slowly enveloping the city. The skyscrapers were switching from cloudy to clear when lights were turned on and the wide body of water from another angle complemented the natural backdrop. The thin crisp air was calming and soothing as I took deep breaths and threw my wishes to the clouds that seemed so close from where I stood in The Peak. I called this bliss.
When I headed back to Kowloon, I got the feeling that I was in the metropolitan side of the city. I swore to myself that one day,if I decided to visit Hong Kong, I should not only visit Mickey Mouse but also Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. I headed on foot from Central MTR Station and walked my way through the Avenue of Stars to check out the famous statue dedicated to Bruce and feel the handprints of Jackie Chan. Inspired by Hollywood, the Avenue of Stars was built to pay tribute to the outstanding professionals of Hong Kong’s film industry. Its location on a promenade in Tshim Sha Tsui, directly facing Victoria Harbour, is a perfect recollection while the air gently blows the face and a scenic view of Chinese boats and ships crossing the harbour.
But wait, I have not checked out the night markets. The Ladies Market and the Temple Street Night Market were fuming with lots of goodies, street food, music and street artists. I could not contain my feelings as I continued to wander in the streets flooding with people from all walks of life. I can not describe how much life there was, how much energy this place was exuding. The good vibes were so contagious. Did I say something about the nightlife too? Oh yes, I checked out Lan Kwai Fong, another district uphill which was a long stretch of upmarket bars and world-class restaurants. As a tourist, I never ran out of interesting things to do in Hong Kong day and night, winter, spring, summer or fall. There was always something handy everywhere, anytime.
So I made another two trips after…….of course!