Everyone has heard about Hong Kong. It’s another one of those big and busy international cities. It has lots of people and lots of sky-scrappers. However, I soon found out that you can’t compare Hong Kong to other big cities. Here are the top things that I found surprising about Hong Kong.
People walk Slow
When I think about a big city stuffed with people I imagine that everyone is in a hurry. If you have ever visited New York or London you will know that people in these cities are always in a hurry and walk very fast. For some reason Hong Kong does not share the same mentality.
Even though I was in vacation mode while I was in Hong Kong I remember getting off of the train and getting annoyed that I couldn’t get anywhere because there were hoards of people in front of me walking as slow as molasses.
Things Close Early
Once again I shouldn’t I let my big city judgement get the best of me. Unlike New York, this global financial hub does sleep. There were a few times on my trip when we had to hurry up out dinner because the restaurant was closing. Okay, I know 9 p.m. is a bit late for dinner but still in a city where people are always out because they barely have any space in their tiny apartments, couldn’t you stay open a little longer?
I Never Had to Wait for a Bus or Train
The transportation in Hong Kong blew me away. If I had to transfer train lines I very rarely had to walk anywhere because my transferring train would be the train right across from the one that I just got off. Also, as I stepped off my train the transferring train would pull up. All trains run about every 2-3 minutes so you never have to wait!
And this didn’t just go for trains. I found that the buses, which are usually the most unreliable source of transportation, were just as consistent!
You’ll never have to look for a fool running for the train again…well, while in Hong Kong.
This drove me crazy! Even though you are in a big international city, you are still in China nonetheless. Coming from South Korea, a country with the fastest internet in the world and wi-fi everywhere, I found Hong Kong’s internet situation frustrating.
You will have no luck with wi-fi here so your best option is to not separate from your friends or to buy a sim card when you enter. Luckily, I was visiting a friend in Hong Kong and she had her phone, but I noticed that the internet was even terrible on her phone.
No Living Space
So I knew beforehand that people lived in small spaces in Hong Kong, but I didn’t grasp the full extent until I went and stayed with my friend.
Let me lay it out for you. I grew up in a three story house with a big backyard and a treehouse. Our house had five bedrooms, three bathrooms and even a hot-tub room. I grew up in Canada where space is a way of life and not a luxury.
When I entered my friend’s apartment, who lives with her parents and brother, I couldn’t believe a family could live in such a small space. My friend shared a tiny bedroom with her older brother. All that could fit in the bedroom was a bunk bed and one closet. The picture above is their closet. If that was mine and my sister’s bedroom set-up, one of us would not be alive now.
The kitchen was the size of a small bathroom and there were no cupboards to hold pots and pans. instead, they had to keep their wok on the stove top. There was no counter space to cut vegetables, no oven or dishwasher.
Now don’t you see why I would expect restaurants to be open later?
No One Stares at you
Most places in North Eastern Asia, like China, South Korea and Japan will stare at foreigners. They don’t get a lot of them, especially if you escape the big cities. And they don’t stare subtly.
I lived in South Korea for a year and a half and never got used to constantly being stared at. Stepping out every day I was reminded of how different I was compared to everyone- I was an alien.
Hong Kong was a breath of fresh air because nobody cared about me- in a good way. I could even wear what I wanted and that didn’t even draw extra attention. I found that this made for a way more comfortable experience compared to some other Asian countries.
There is Natural Beauty too
All I ever knew about Hong Kong was this it was a big city, an international financial hub and full of skyscrapers. I thought that I would be hanging out in restaurants and shopping malls.
Okay, so I did do that…but I also got to explore nature. Hong Kong’s nature is surprisingly beautiful! During my time there I took a gondola up a mountain, went for a hike and spent a day at the beach. Surprise, surprise!