While living in Hong Kong from 2010-2012, I wrote a lot about my experiences in my then-blog, Ashley’s HK Experience. As a new travel piece to this blog, New Girl in the City, I am re-posting travel pieces. I wrote this one before my bestie, Kira, came to visit me in December 2010.
Traveler’s Tips for Hong Kong
- Rubbish bins are optional. Those of us not used to this would prefer you use them though.
- Be careful what you wear! You don’t have to match here, but you should steer clear of mini-skirts and high heels…if not, you may look like you belong in Wan Chai (see #3).
- Speaking of Wan Chai, unless you want to be the only white girl and the only non-prostitute in a bar, don’t go. Unless, you want good Mexican food, then bring a friend or two.
- You don’t need to know Cantonese to survive here. There’s enough English around to help you. You might even learn a thing or two about how to speak like other expats i.e. arvo, wonky, rubbish bin, far out, and mate. Can you guess which countries my friends were from?
- Smog is the silent cough-inducer. It’s a little hard to see around the tall buildings, but the second you step out of the city proper of Hong Kong, you’ll notice a big difference. Maybe you should bring a surgical mask…you’d fit in and no one would think you were weird.
- You will walk EVERYWHERE! Start your exercise early and often before arriving. Stairs will actually become your friend just so that you don’t have to walk up the steep inclines in your heels.
- Unless you’re siestaing on someone’s couch, be ready to pay a ton of money for a closet, I mean a bedroom. It’s quite possible that your bathroom will double as your shower and that your closet will be your bed. Find a friend instead!!
- Happy hours are the best mid-week de-stresser. Lucky you if you are stressed after coughing up a lung because of the smog and all the walking because happy hours exist at almost every bar and restaurant in town. Walk along the escalator (the one time you don’t have to walk uphill) from 3-8 and you’ll find awesome deals galore. Take advantage of this because as soon as 8 o’clock hits, you’ll pay a fortune!!
- Old Asian people love to exercise, do tai chi, walk to a clapping beat (believe me I know and curse them every Saturday and Sunday at 7 am), slap themselves all over their body, and stretch in the most random places. Don’t fret! They don’t belong in an institution; rather they’re doing it on purpose…and actually believe that it all works and keeps them keen and skinny.
- You’ll probably get stared at…a lot. But, trust me, you either get used to it or walk around with a silly grin on your face all day just to appease them. Don’t, I repeat, don’t get mad about it! You’re a different and lovely addition to their day of everyone looking like them.
Stick to these rules and you’ll have quite an enjoyable trip to Hong Kong! If not, you’ll still have fun, trust me.