Hong Kong has always fascinated me. This was due to my early years watching Hong Kong dramas and the fact that I stopped over in Hong Kong while travelling to the US in 1989. Early in 2012, I jokingly told my childhood friend (Chen) that I could come and visit him in Hong Kong. What started as a casual statement became intent when I found some time off for Labor Day. I bought my tickets (Tiger Airways) for SGD 335 and was heading on my own to Hong Kong.
Day 1 – 29 April 2012
Sunday morning arrived pretty quickly. I left early in the morning and took the cab to Changi Budget Terminal. My 3 hour 20 minutes flight to Hong Kong was pretty straight forward. There was a typhoon warning on the day I arrived and I was glad my flight did not get cancelled. The new airport was different to the one I saw some 20 years ago. Back then, Kai Tak was a short and challenging runway surrounded by Hong Kong’s famous hills. Overcrowded and for safety reason, Hong Kong International Airport relocated to Chek Lap Kok on reclaimed land. Hong Kong has progressed and expanded thru the years. I believe it to have grown busier and more global as compared to the first time I stepped on Hong Kong soil. I passed Immigration’s and Customs easily and got my passport stamped. Another mark on my travels.
Tip : There is a phone near the tourist center / Airport Express ticketing counter to make calls to Hong Kong numbers. You may use this to call your friend.
I called Chen and told him I had arrived. From the airport it takes 24 minutes to reach Hong Kong by Airport Express. Buying a round rip ticket costs HKD180.
Arriving at Central, my friend greeted me and we set off for a walk around Hong Kong. I was still carrying my duffel back and backpack.
We passed by the iconic Apple Store which I coincidentally read about when I was preparing for my interview with Apple.
Hong Kong is a busy city. I arrived on Sunday and the streams of people going in every direction was tremendous. People were working, busy and going about their business. The industry of the Chinese can be seen in every corner. Work continue even on this so called “rest day” weekend.
Central (Business District)
Chen told me that Hong Kong people are not shy to the cameras. They are quite fine with allow you to take photos of them. As a rule of thumb, be courteous and quick. Always be polite and never offend.
Lunch at Yung Kee Roast Goose
Chen and I stopped for lunch at this popular place. Famed for one of the popular dishes in Hong Kong : Roast Goose.
This place is very popular. Do come early and hope you do not have to wait long for a place to sit. The both of use arrived some 10 minutes early. Whilst we were awaiting our dishes, about 20 people arrived and had to line up for a place to sit.
Hong Kong has a unique terrain. Comprising of many hills, you will expect to be walking up and down slopes getting a good workout. The humidity of Hong Kong is one of a kind. Staying in Singapore, I did not expect to find a place more humid. It was very easy to work up a sweat. Your backpack should have ventilated straps and your shirt made of breathable materials. A jersey would be perfect. Cotton-T shirts will end up damp and soaked. I made the mistake of wearing cotton T-shirts.
Drenched in sweat and getting a bit tired, Chen and I hopped on a taxi and took a 15 minute ride to his place at Northpoint. After a shower, a bit of rest and a much needed change of clothes, we were out back into the streets at 4pm. We decided to take a short bus ride to experience the raw intensity of busy Hong Kong. Bus rides are cheap but it takes a while to get to your destination.
You can imagine Jacky Chan and Bruce Lee kungfu fighting and jumping between these bamboo scaffolding, fighting off triad members.
I felt that it was time to eat some food. I had always wanted to try the famed Wan Tan Mee of Hong Kong. Chen told me that the popular dish was the soup version, unlike the dry dark soy sauce version of Kuala Lumpur. The soup was on the saltier side as I grew to understand that Hong Kong food is saltier in taste. Have lots of water to counter the effect. Do also taste your food before pouring any soy sauce or adding salt.
It was getting dark and Chen told me that we had to leave to go across the bay to Kowloon side. Chen and I took the ferry across the bay to capture one of the iconic photographs of Hong Kong. To catch the nightlights of Hong Kong, you need to be on the Kowloon side before 8pm.
After the return trip back to Hong Kong Island, Chen and I headed to Northpoint as we decided to call it a day. We decided to have some dinner and dined at a shop near his apartment.
This is one large bowl of noodles. Perfect to end your day in Hong Kong. I had to go and purchase some Breacol cough mixture. I had been suffering chronic coughs since my Taiwan trip 3 months ago. I fell asleep quite quickly. The day’s events had caught up with me. I was going to be wondering what Day 2 had for me.
For Day 1 photos, go here.