July 31st marks my official 1 year since moving to Hong Kong. So much has happened in a year and I am no longer the Bambi caught in headlights that I was back then – although, sometimes I still do have a “oh my goodness- I live in Asia” moments!
I am big on reflection , so here are my 10 favorite things about Hong Kong!
1.The city skyline, from any angle, at any time of day.
We have an incredible view from our flat, but honestly it doesn’t matter where in Hong Kong you are, whether looking up from between the buildings, out from a rooftop bar or across the harbor, this city is beautiful.
2. The food
Okay, okay, I know I have said previously that this scared me at first (here), but the unknown is a scary thing! It amazes me how I now actually CRAVE soup filled pork dumplings, oolong tea, hot pot, mango mochi and even shumi. How have these delicious treats been missing from my diet all my life!?!
3. Public transportation
The bus service, MTR (subway), ferry, tram or even a taxi, everything works. I have even timed trains, if the board says it is 2 minutes away – it really is 2 minutes away. Everything is also so clean, sometimes I feel bad that I am simply holding my coffee on the train! (I will be honest, my LEAST favorite time of day is at 6 pm, if you ever have to leave central station, cross over at Admiralty or walk between Central and Hong Kong Station, you will know what I mean…)
4. Rooftop bars.
Perhaps this has something to do with my love of a view, but there is nothing like sitting on a rooftop on a summers evening, sipping on a glass of vino. There are rooftop bars everywhere too, sometimes you could walk past the same building for weeks on end and then suddenly BAM, realise there has been a rooftop bar there the whole entire time!
5. Octopus card
This little card is magic. It is also a vital part of your life in HK, whether I am buying a coffee at Starbucks, paying our gas bill or library fine, catching the MTR, bus, tram or ferry to my next destination- I just use my octopus card! So easy, so efficient and so necessary. (If you are moving to HK – this is your first purchase without a doubt!)
Having a HK residence card is the best thing about when it comes to travel, immigration line – nope, just put your card in a slot, have a thumb print and through the gates, efficient as ever. Also a flight to another country costs the same as flying from Port Elizabeth to Cape town, both in time and money. Wanderlust is an even bigger struggle when you have so many options to choose from.
It may seem like a strange favorite, but coming from a country rich with natural beauty, coming across a park in the middle of this concrete jungle makes my day! I especially love Hong Kong Park and yes it is because it has marvelous views of the city.
The amount of times I have walked through a park, on my own, at 10pm from a shopping spree or caught the last train home after a night out, also on my own- and not once thought of being mugged or hurt has now become uncountable. Of course there are areas I wouldn’t do this, however for the most part, you are safe. As a South African, this is something that I cannot believe I actually feel, but it brings so much freedom.
9. Family life
Perhaps it is because I have been teaching Playgroup for a year now, but it amazes me how involved the fathers are here. Of course this is a complete generalization, however it is because I see it over and over again. Dads that come to playgroup, hanging out and playing with their kids on public holidays at the beach, going shopping as a family. They value family and really, there is nothing more important.
10. Diversity of people
This is probably my favorite part of living in Hong Kong. Hearing accents and languages from all around the world, inter racial relationships, the line between expat and locals are crossed so often – but what I love, is how welcomed I feel in a country that is not my own. I have written about this before (here), but really, how is it that I feel more accepted and free in a country half way across the world, than in my own? I know that there are still challenges here,and I am not blind to them either, but I love that I get to learn about cultures from all over the world and become a part of a global family.
Sending love and adventures your way