We arrived in Hong Kong, the first destination of our round the world trip after a tiring overnight flight from London. Although quite weary, we were feeling extremely pleased with ourselves after surviving the first long flight on our journey.
Fortunately, Hong Kong International Airport is not too far from the centre of Hong Kong and the Airport Express train provides a quick and comfortable journey to the Hong Kong station stop. From this station there are a series of free shuttle buses that will take you particular hotels. We had decided to stay at a hotel that was a little way out from the Central district but had good transport connections.
Our traveling up this point had been quite smooth and straightforward, however this was due to change as the coach got snarled up in traffic. The roads were busy and the heat was beginning to build, after about an hour we finally arrived at the hotel. It was only when we got off the coach that we realised how hot and steamy it was, fortunately the hotel was air-conditioned so we stepped through its doors and embraced the coolness.
In the foyer was a board with information about typhoons, one had hit Hong Kong and Macau a few weeks before causing considerable damage especially in Macau. We had intended to visit Macau, however it was still struggling to deal with the damage and therefore we decided not to travel there.
Hong Kong in September can be really hot and steamy, but we were shocked by humidity levels of 98%, Mr Curmudgeon said that he did not believe humidity could be so high, we moan in London when it is about 25%!
Hot and steamy weather with high humidity became the theme of our stay in Hong Kong and any sightseeing was combined with going inside buildings to enjoy the air conditioning.
Hong Kong is an extremely interesting place that is going through its own transition from British colonial outpost to part of the Chinese empire. Recent demonstrations in Hong Kong suggest that this change is not without its conflicts, however there is a sense that Hong Kong is changing at a frantic pace.
Part of that change is the importance of commerce, large shopping areas dominate much of the Central and Kowloon areas with a large number of luxury brand shops. In contrast, the old Hong Kong neighbourhoods have a large number of traditional markets especially in Kowloon which cater for a wide range of tastes.
Even if Hong Kong is geared towards retail and commerce, there is plenty to interest the traveller. The Star Ferry and Peak Tram are historical relics of Hong Kong’s colonial past and the architecture is a mix of old and modern.
Surprisingly, Hong Kong is not just an urban landscape but is surrounded by natural landscapes with many walks and parks that will take you away from the high rises. Even in the Central area, visitors can enjoy the natural beauty of the Peak.
A trip to one of the racecourses will allow visitors to see the locals at play enjoying top class horse racing. Our visit to Sha Tin provided lots of fun and entertainment in a unique setting located in the New Territories.
We did feel that we had only scratched the surface in the few days we had in Hong Kong and would like to return and discover more of a fascinating place in which the West meets East in a number of interesting ways. Hong Kong can seem very familiar due to its British colonial past, however there are other aspects that reflect more Chinese influence that are less familiar and can surprise visitors.
For more details of our trip, read our individual posts about Hong Kong which charts our visits to some of its attractions and more unusual aspects.
Old Fogies Travels are the adventures of two elderly Londoners (The Old Fogies) as they explore their home town and travel around the world looking out for the strange, unusual and absurd.
Our articles are published on our blog but also listed on the website of our friends at Visiting London Guide.com here.