Hongkong has been English colony for a long time and only in 1997 it became a part of China. And though it still has its own currency, own laws and own entry visa, the city has a Chinese spirit. As soon as you walk to the streets of Hongkong, you are taken up by a wave of people. There are a lot of people here. Hongkong is a hive, an anthill that was disturbed. Everything makes noise, shouts, smells, glows and flows. Even for the Chinese people Hongkong in its scale is like another country, and for the Europeans it is really another planet. This route will take you to the places where you can feel the spirit of this Asian megapolis and not spend a fortune.
Catch a double decker bus from the airport
The easiest way to get to the center is by bus. There is not only one, but tens of routes to different points in the city. One ticket will cost you 4 dollars. All buses and trams in the city are double decker, that is why even ordinary transfer will turn out to be an entertainment. Right from the view from the bus the city starts to astonish with its scale. Districts with skyscrapers are flowing by, it’s unbelievable how millions of citizens fit into them. In half an hour the bus stops in the eye of the city – area Kowloon, the most densely populated, nosiest and Chinese alter-ego with super clean and expensive districts.
Skyscraper Chungking Mansions became famous due to the film of Wong Kar-Wai “Chungking express”. Inside it feels like an ordinary shopping mall from the first sight – currency exchange, dozens of small shops and cafes. It might seem it is a market, but it is only the first floor of the building. Above the shopping mall there are 13 floors more where more than 80 hostels of all kinds and tastes are located. It is thrilling to walk along the endless narrow hallways – seems like you are inside a computer game, not a building. Here it is clearly shown how space is saved in Hongkong. Why waste a separate room for laundry, kitchen or storage room if all these can be placed right in the hall?
Go down to the subway
Subway in Hongkong is quite cheap in comparison to other world megapolises. From the other side, the process of buying the ticket might turn out to be a bit complicated for a tourist. Buying a single ticket, you need to indicate the station and the direction: the longer the way is, the more expensive it costs. Not to always bother with that, you can buy Octopus card, put money on it and use the subway till you have positive balance on it. When you return the card – you get the left balance back.
Markets of Mong Kok district
Mong Kok is the most densely populated area of Hongkong. It is a place of numerous shops, bazaars, outlets – the life is 24/7 here. There are several large markets here – bird market, flower market, gold fish market, women’ clothes market, electronics market. Bird market (Yuen Po Street Bird Garden) is the biggest, brightest and noisiest in Hongkong. Here you can buy hundreds types of birds and all connected to taking care of them – cages, glasses, fat worms, dried bugs. You can also buy a bird here and set it free. It is an old Chinese tradition: birds are set free to atone for the sins.
Have lunch in the street
Along the streets of Mong Kok area there are dozens of small shops and street food sellers. While you are in Asia, moreover – in one of its brightest gastronomic directions, you have to try everything, not losing time. For instance, at the intersection of streets Argyle and Fa Yuen you can try fried tofu and dim sums with crispy shallots. And at the intersection of Fa Yuen and Bute – Japanese crepes takoyaki with octopuses. The whole Fa Yuen is a street with fruits and juices. Go crazy and mix hirsute and prickly fruits in a rigid vitamin shake.
Street musicians at Sai Yeung Choi
It is the main pedestrian street in Hongkong and one of the most colorful places in whole China. As soon as get here you find yourself in total chaos. It is the place where all the tourists and half of the city population come to but electronics, last season of “The Game of Thrones” and the all collection of Michael Jackson. In case you plan to buy something expensive and with the guarantee, you better stay at Sai Yeung Choi Street South instead of Nathan Road. Addition to the electronic boom is the crowd of street musicians. So, go ahead – buy the glowing sword, iPhone, and make a video of Jedi dance in live music background.
One Eyed Man's Cooling Tea
According to the Chinese tradition rich food warms the human body, what causes skin problems, heartburn and other nuisances. Therefore, a special sort of tea is required to normalize the body. Shops with herbal tea started to appear in Hongkong in the middle of the previous century, and many of them are still open. One Eyed Man's Сooling Tea exists for more than 60 years. Now the shop is managed by the forth generation of the family. Here you can try “five flowers” tea that draws for 20 hours. Also, here you can buy tea bags with herbal mixes.
Avenue of Stars
The Chinese copy everything – clothes, cars, technical equipment. The avenue of stars was also copied by Chinese from the Hollywood one. The fame of Hongkong and Hongkong cinema was in particular was brought by Bruce Lee. And here, on the avenue of stars, you will find not only his star but the whole monument of the actor. Jackie Chan’s star is here as well. But the names of other Chinese cinema stars might be unknown to you. So catch the moment and make a photo of the harbor Victoria and Hongkong’s skyscrapers view from the embankment.
A Symphony of Lights
Every evening at 8 pm the light show Symphony of Lights is held in Hongkong. Due to its scale and extent, and most of all to the costs, the show got into the Guinness World Records Book. The show is free of charge, you can watch it from the water, from the skyscraper roof, from your bed in The Peninsula Hotel or from the crowd on the embankment. The show is several laser beams lighting from the skyscrapers’ tops and crossing with music accompaniment. The most expensive show in the world is shown for free – this is real Hongkong style.