Who Knew?

Earlier I did a post about which country would be my 50th country of blog-readers and then updated with the answer. In huge red capital letters, I wrote:  "UPDATE: THE WINNER IS HONG KONG!" As promised, I decided to start doing my research to prepare a post about interesting things in Hong Kong. Well guess what?  HONG KONG ISN'T EVEN A COUNTRY!!  Well how dumb do you think I felt after I found THAT out? 

So check this out-- Good ol' HK is not a country OR a city. It's like this area that just does its own thing and has its own laws. But the kicker is that it's considered  (insert me doing obnoxious air quotes) a "city"...sort of. You see how confusing this is? It's full name is The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China. Okayyy, so what does that mean? It gets even more confusing: The technical name is Xianggang Tebie Xingzhengqu. And no, that's not a typo, nor did I just pound my palms on the keyboard. 

Even the Apple website is confused.
Maybe there should be a drop down menu for  "Select Special Administrative Region"

According to wiki:  "While legally part of China, Hong Kong is secluded from mainland China as a dependency with a high degree of autonomy. Within the PRC, the former colony has its own constitution which lays out its own laws, separate immigration controls, financial system and is officially bi-lingual (Cantonese and English). It also enjoys western-style freedoms unheard of on the Chinese mainland. The democratic system and ideals of a free and open society are firmly rooted here."

Under the slogan "One Country, Two Systems", Hong Kong remains a capitalist economy without various restrictions that apply in mainland China such as news censorship and foreign exchange controls.

Got that? Yeah. So it's basically a country that doesn't call itself a country. (cue me raising one eyebrow) Ooooohh...INNNNNteresting.

What I DO know, is that it has never been on my travel bucket list before, but has skyrocketed itself to the top. It just looks like such an interesting, contrasting, bustling, amazing mix of big city life with serene nature.  There's so many cool things I've found and it's worth it to take a look...

NUMBER ONE:  The Fashion.

There is a certain jazziness called street fashion that I just love, no matter what city I'm in. I've always been fascinated by the way people dress and how certain cultures consider things to be out-of-this-world stellar fashion, while some other region may think they look absolutely ridiculous. To each his own. 

Here's a few examples I've found--

Super cute, spesh the tights.


The Skittles Crew?

2 Dude-bros doin' their thing...

There's something about this that I love--
Maybe it's the muted colors.

NUMBER TWO: Cruisin' Around the City

Once you get to Hong Kong, there's tons of way to check out the city on the cheap. They're huge fans of public transport and your options range from walking, biking, taking a taxi, bus, train, tram, ferry, ship, private car hire, metro, or even hiring a helicopter! 

If the 15 minute ride from the airport to Hong Kong Island by helicopter (at a shiny price of $400) is too much for you, consider taking the world's longest outdoor escalator for fun. It travels from Central through Soho to the residential developments of the Mid-levels. The escalator moves down in the morning rush hour but up the rest of the time, and using it is free. 

Esca-Later, Gator!

NUMBER THREE: Things to See and Do

Besides the zillion electronic stores,  there's tons of shopping in Hong Kong. You can find everything from designer (or "Genuine Copy") purses, clothes and accessories to crazy shoes of every kind, watches, and just about every boutique you can imagine. The neighborhoods have different shopping areas and the streets are packed with retail madness.

Besides shopping, there's other things to do in areas that don't feel so congested.  There's a Disneyland Park, a place called Ocean Park that's similar to Bush Gardens, and lots of hiking, camping, and nature walks. Even though it seems like there are a million people around you at all times, you can still take a break and get back to serenity...much like LA.

...not that this is serene, but keep scrolling down.

Ocean Park

What a complete contrast from city life..

NUMBER FOUR: Street Food

When traveling, one of my favorite things to do is eat like a local and try some street food. I've found that it's usually the best tasting, most interesting, and is most often the cheapest. While roaming around the streets of Hong Kong, you can definitely sample a little bit of everything-- from dim sum to meat on a stick,  rice dishes, noodle bowls, and fried just about anything!

Stuff on a Stick.

Little ball things...and more stuff on a stick.

Feelin' a little saucy-- I wish I could smell these pictures!

Armpit sweat adds flavor...

More balls, more stuff on sticks.

Food on a stick is apparently a big hit.


I don't have a whole lot to say about this part, but the views of Hong Kong are breathtaking. In a place where there is so much natural beauty, it's heavily contrasted by the glow of neon lights and high rise buildings. The city seems to come alive at night in a way that's so different than the daily grind of the 9-5 hours.  

How's that electricity bill, guys?

Tips for the Traveler:  Wander around. Just about everywhere you go is safe, but beware of people trying to con you in tourist-y  areas. Corruption is taken very seriously there, so when you're shopping, you can trust that you're being treated fairly in most instances. An exception to this is electronic stores, though.

Take a day or two to check out some museums. You can choose from the HK Museum of History, HK Heritage Discovery Center, HK Museum of Medical Sciences, the HK Visual Arts Centre, the HK Science Museum, or the HK Museum of Art to name a few.

Lantau Island is twice as big as Hong Kong island and is worth checking out if you want to get away from the bright lights and pollution of the city for a while. Here you will find open countryside, traditional fishing villages, secluded beaches, monasteries and more. You can hike, camp, fish and mountain bike, amongst other activities.
There are also some outlying islands also worth to visit: Lamma Island, Cheung Chau, Ping Chau, Tap Mun, and Tung Lung Island.

Hong Kong's version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Avenue of Stars celebrates icons of Hong Kong cinema from the past century. The promenade has fantastic views, day and night, of Victoria Harbour and the iconic skyline. This is also a great place to see A Symphony of Lights -- a spectacular light and laser show synchronised to music every night at 8:00. This is the world's "Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show" according to the Guinness World Records.

Whatever you decide to do, leave the heroin and meth out of your travel plans. 

 If you are caught trafficking drugs, you can be fined up to $5,000,000 and face up to life imprisonment. (Might wanna re-think that marijuana deal with that sketchy guy from your friend's friend. Just sayin').

In Hong Kong, it's drenched with culture and things to do. You can camp in secluded areas, buy a fake watch, ride a roller coaster, see pink dolphins, get wet in a waterfall, watch a laser light show, fly in a helicopter, hike in the mountains, get full from food on a stick, wander through an art museum, get your picture taken with Mickey Mouse, learn to eat with chopsticks, shop at one of the 13 malls, try some shark fin soup, admire the art of fengshui, sunbathe at one of the many beaches, see a dragon dance, sail in the ocean, hug a panda, check out houses on stilts above water, try your luck at horse racing, climb Victoria Peak to the wok-shaped peak tower, take a cooking class, or just relax and sip some hot tea with the locals.

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Lisa Marie said...

Thanks Jaimeeeee! I'm actually headed to Hong Kong in March, so this was perfect timing. Haha. :)

The Loerzels said...

Now if they only combined the food on a stick with the skittles crew they could have their own Hong Kong rendition of the All American fast food classic Hot Dog on a Stick.

TammySzulc said...

Thanks for doing the research and giving funny and resourceful tidbits about a "city" that I didn't know a lot about. I lol'd with your pic comment "Armpit sweat adds flavor..." This is such a JB sarcastic and funny comment! Miss you