Shopping. If there is one big impression I get for Hong Kong is that it is a shopping mecca. Bangkok was just a warm-up for Hong Kong when it comes to shopping and malls. High end shopping bargain shopping, real Rolexes and lots of Rollexes. As Asia’s prime business hub, there is lots of money here and money that loves to be spent. I had prepared myself for another expensive stop along the way, like Sydney. But in reality, Hong Kong is at most on par with Los Angeles and in many respects, cheaper. A movie costs $50HK and large drink $25HK, which is under ten dollars total. Most subway rides are $8.50 HKG, or about $1.20 US.
While much more bearable that Bangkok in terms of heat and humidity, it’s still a bit warm and sticky here. And again, what looks close on a map is not. So walking from place to place takes awhile. But the transportation system is great. Maybe not as many lines or stations as Paris. But the stations are clean, modern, and well air-conditioned. You can’t really get lost because there are so many directional signs letting you know which exits lead you to buildings, malls, attractions. And you practically don’t even have to step outside with its underground maze of corridors lined with shops and cafes, all leading to buildings and malls and the next station on the subway map.
Walking the main streets at night is sensory overload and fun (if you can avoid everyone trying to sell fake watches, handbags, etc.). Signs are lit up everywhere and video screens play against the buildings. It feels foreign and familiar at the same time.
As I look at the skylines of both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon (where I’m staying), which face each other across Victoria Harbour, I have never seen so many skyscrapers. It dwarfs New York in terms of building after building. Here are various shots of Hong Kong Island’s skyline: