My Hong Kong
Having the privilege to visit somewhere like Hong Kong every few years isn't something I take lightly. It's such a special place to me and somewhere I am learning more about with each trip.
The way the humidity hits as I exit the airport, the instant regret of not transitioning from plane to city attire, the sudden increase in noise pollution as I look out to a sea of red taxis. It must mean I’m back in Hong Kong. I’m not complaining, okay maybe I am a little, but I do truly love this place. There is nowhere I speak of more highly and it’s a city that I’m readily poised to bring into conversation at the next available opportunity.
My connection with Hong Kong stems from my dad meeting my mum and ever since we’ve been returning to see family. Each visit feels different and this time I feel like I’ve come away knowing I had some grasp on what makes this place tick and having an innate understanding of my environment.
Hong Kong, as I see it, is east meets west. Signs are in English alongside Chinese and most locals speak the English language to some degree (and if you’re really stuck, Citymapper will help you out).
But for all its ease, there’s a distinct shift in culture. You’ll feel an air of something new and alien as you walk about and uncover its food, architecture and people.
I don’t know what it is that I personally find so captivating. Visually, the pastel skyline is so far removed from London and New York city views and I find it much more real. Powdered blues, light green hues and soft pinks are dotted everywhere in and amongst new design. Then there are its people. A conversation erupts, one that I don’t understand, its tone almost argument like, but then I’ll hear it break into laughter. Though I’m uncertain on what is spoken, it’s these moments that I find comforting. From the harsh linguistic tones, to the nonstop ticking of the traffic lights, it's fleeting seconds like this that have stuck with me and echo Hong Kong.downicon
I’ve sat here counting how many times I’ve been lucky enough to travel to Hong Kong and I think this was my fifth. The question always internally arises of ‘could I live here?’ and would its magic be lost on me if I did? This trail of thought often leads to what if I was brought up in Hong Kong and I was instead making trips to England to see family. Would I instead be in awe of this country’s open spaces and history over Hong Kong? Just a thought.
With each visit, my last two being trips being my most memorable, I’ve found a base and things I like to do which I feel safe in. Catching up with friends (hi Laura and Timmy!) who live in Hong Kong and who I've been able to meet through Instagram, going to the bakery to pick up breakfast, heading to NOC for a reliably well-balanced coffee, sitting on the minibus to take me to the beach for one day and visiting The Monocle Shop on St. Francis Yard to learn how Hong Kong has changed since my last visit via my friend Cindy.
Another constant is the walk I take from Wan Chai to Causeway Bay and now more recently into Tai Hang. It’s all these mini activities that I’ll form future visits around. I liked the times I wandered, it sounds so simple, but sometimes we don’t leave time aside to do it. I’ll have a destination in mind, whether it is a store or lunch spot, but how I get there and how long it takes for me to get there isn’t too important when I’m away. In a way, I give myself the freedom to take the longer road to where I need to be in the hope I see something I haven’t yet come across.
If it were up to me Hong Kong would be on everyone’s list. Be it for the dim sum, the diversity, the skyline or the possibilities. There’s a multitude of reasons I could write down, but when it comes down to it, Hong Kong is a place that needs to be experienced and a journey I’m ready to coerce you into going on.jbicon