November 25, 2014

Hong Kong

[caption id="attachment_113" align="aligncenter" width="660"]1601036_10153200911039535_938991906295999740_n c View of Hong Kong from the 360 Cable Car to the Big Bhudda.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_115" align="aligncenter" width="660"]10426279_10153200910604535_4805468031078577555_n C View of Shenzhen, Mainland China from Mai Po Nature Reserve, New Territories, HK.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_117" align="aligncenter" width="660"]10516662_10153200910534535_178133782603010831_n c Happy Valley Racecourse, Hong Kong Island.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_120" align="aligncenter" width="660"]10613018_10153200910924535_8552389794171400650_n c View from my hotel suite at the Crowne Plaza.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_121" align="aligncenter" width="660"]10622815_10153200876654535_8610210573168143737_n c Mai Po Nature Reserve, New Territories, HK.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_122" align="aligncenter" width="660"]10624996_10153200871799535_2122407597956345049_n c Hong Kong Park, Centre of Hong Kong.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_123" align="aligncenter" width="660"]10625115_10153200910234535_4729099360189793184_n c Mong Kok Night Markets.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_124" align="aligncenter" width="660"]10675620_10153200909599535_6839295973539565077_n c View of Wan Chai at night whilst travelling on the Star Ferry.[/caption]

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On the 14th February of this year I travelled to Hong Kong. I travelled with my University course to explore different aspects of the city - their excellent transport services across the city, how they tackle over crowding and housing issues - focusing on how such large numbers of people are able to live in such a small city, renewable energy sources for the future of the city and the up and coming regeneration schemes being implemented in run down parts of the city.

We travelled from London Heathrow on Valentines day. Our flight departed at 5.15pm, arriving in Hong Kong at 12.50pm Hong Kong time. Considering I'd only flown once before and that was a 2 hour flight to Spain, suffice to say I was excited but pretty nervous. Checking in at 2.30pm at our hotel, we stayed at The Crowne Plaza Kowloon East. The first thing that hit me driving through the city to the hotel was the sheer lack of green space - everywhere you looked were roads and freeways, no flowers and grassy spaces.

Our lecturers had set out a jam-packed itinerary for the week, staying till the 21st. On Saturday 15th we were advised to buy ourselves a 'Octopus Card' (like an Oyster) for the travel around HK via the MTR (the tube). The amount of times we accidentally called it an Oyster, the ticket officers were very confused!

Throughout the week we visited a number of amazing places during the daytime and we were lucky enough to have a fair amount of spare time to ourselves to explore the city in the afternoons and evenings. On the first day we visited Hong Kong's Museum of History, after this we decided to visit a popular tourist attraction of Hong Kong - 'Tian Tan Buddah statue & Po Lin Monastery' in Ngong Ping, Lantau Island. In order to get here we had to catch the MTR to Tung Chung, Lantau Island and then we had to catch Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car across the grassy mountains to Po Lin. This part of the journey was incredible, I'm scared of heights but the view was absolutely incredible I couldn't miss up this opportunity! (first photo above).

In the following days we visited the City Gallery and took part in a number of walking tours, which included a walk around Hong Park - a man-made grassy park covering 8 hectares in the centre of Hong Kong costing $398 million HK to develop (see photo 6,12 and 14). Following this we experienced a walking tour of the Wan Chai district of the city. This area represented the epitome of the Hong Kong lifestyle: well- established arts centre, large exhibitions and conference complexes, luxury apartments, shopping malls and metropolitan office towers. As this area was one of the first areas in HK to be developed, the locale is densely populated yet with noticeable residential zones facing urban decay. Due to considerable public concern, the HK government has undertaken several urban renewable projects in recent years (see photo 16).

Further on in the week we also visited the MTR Station Headquarters in which they explained to us how the MTR works smoothly to ensure an excellent public transportation service for the city. On Tuesday night we were lucky enough to have spare evening time whereby we did what usual students did and made our way out to Hong Kong city centre for a night in some Hong Kong clubs! Different to the UK, it is legal to buy drinks from corner shops and drink them outside clubs, which made our nights out very cheap. We travelled back to our hotel in taxis.

The following day we visited Mai Po Nature Reserve. This was such an amazing experience. We were taken on a walking tour of the WWF reserve whereby you were able to look straight over the water and see Shenzhen, Mainland China (that is how close Hong Kong and China are away from each other), (see photo 5). Unfortunately this year, due to the hassle and time it took to provide every student with a visa we were unable to visit mainland China. This evening we were able to visit Happy Valley Racecourse, located in Happy Valley on Hong Kong Island. I betted for the first time but unfortunately didn't win anything. We then made our way to the Wan Chai district of the city which is 'Ladies Night' every Wednesday meaning all entry and drinks are free for females. I can't image the UK implementing such a promotion haha! The following day we visited Upper Ngau Tau Kok Estate and the URA Urban Renewal Centre in Kowloon.

That evening, our last evening our lecturers had arranged a closing dinner consisting of traditional Hong Kong delicacies. We decided to visit Mong Kok's famous night markets on our last evening which sells a variety of women's clothing and accessories. At these markets it's a must that you haggle which I was awful at!

We travelled back to the UK, departing from Hong Kong airport at 3.05pm via Cathay Pacific. We arrived back at the University just gone 11.30pm and made our way home.

Hong Kong is a spectacular city with masses of culture and western influence intertwined. If you love travelling I would highly recommend adding Hong Kong to your list of places to visit next because I can assure you that you wont be disappointed! One week was no where near long enough to spend in such an amazing city, but from what I did see its an incredible city to visit!

Hope you all enjoyed this post, I was so excited to share my experience and photos with you all, if you've ever been to Hong Kong please leave a comment and let me know what you thought of the city and places you visited during your time there.


1 comment:

  1. Such a very nice article about travel. I like to travel also. Thank .


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