This journey starts out at 6:00am with a 10 minute walk to the metro station on Dong an’ road. I lucked out and my flight to Shenzhen (borders Hong Kong) was leaving from the airport closest to our apartment, it’s called Hongqiao. Of course you can fly directly into Hong Kong, but this route can save you around USD$100 depending on when you book.
I made it to the airport and was quite surprised that we boarded the plane on-time. In my experience and from what I’ve read, flights in China are almost always delayed. Boarding was the only thing we did on time…once seated we sat on the tarmac for a good 45minutes.
A couple of hours later I’m in Shenzhen…I wasn’t there long but it looks like a beautiful city, at least around the airport. You can tell they have spent a lot of money making the first things you see look nice. I followed the signs to the metro station (right next to airport) and the whole way I was passing people in suits and dresses taking pictures of everything. I thought to myself it was a nice metro station, but not really worth breaking out the camera for…
I get to the ticket area and there are photographers and reporters everywhere, I asked a couple people what was going on and of course they didn’t speak English. The map was well marked as to which train would take me to the Hong Kong border, so I bought my ticket from the machine and when I went to the board the train the security told me wait for 10 minutes. As I later discovered, I was boarding the very first train to leave this station! Pretty cool! I got on board and apparently all the reporters and photographers figured out I was the only white guy and they all wanted pictures of me. Then one of them wanted an interview…she was wondering how I knew that the train opened that day…I told her I had no clue it was opening that day…I just wanted to get to Hong Kong. I’ll never know if the interview made it TV or not!
I rode this train all the way through Shenzhen, 30 stops, taking almost an hour. The last stop is the main railway station and I really had no clue where to go from there, but then I just followed the signs.
A couple immigration agents later and I was on the Hong Kong metro train headed to Hong Kong island! Getting there involves using 4 of the Hong Kong metro trains! At 3:00pm I finally arrive in the Chai Wan district of Hong Kong island which is where the Chinese embassy is located. After handling my business at the embassy I went to check in at the Wang Fat hostel, located in the Causeway bay district, not far from Chai Wan. I was so ready for a shower!
After a shower and a short rest it was time to go exploring! First order of business was dinner…Sam the guy who runs the hostle recommended a street called Jardine’s Bazaar…he said it had authentic, affordable food. He was right on…especially about the authentic part! Just remember, it probably is chicken…just not a part of a chicken you’ve ever eaten before.
By the time I was done eating the sun was down it was time to check out the 8:00pm light show. I found a viewing deck on the island, but the book said that the better view is from the mainland. So I hopped on the ferry for a quick ride across the river. I’m not sure what happened that night but either my clock was off or they didn’t have the light show. It is supposed to consist of a dozen or so buildings with massive laser lights putting on a 20 minute show. Don’t get me wrong the view is spectacular even without the show! It is similar to the bund in Shanghai…but much larger! Definitely a must see.
From there I wasn’t far from the Temple street night market. What a great place to score some discount clothes, toys, all kinds of miscallenous stuff. Also a great spot for fresh seafood!
Day 2 was relatively relaxed…I spent most of the day working and returning to the embassy to pick up my freshly printed VISA. The afternoon brought some serious rain which put a damper on the sight seeing anyway. Once things cleared up I headed back to the mainland to check out Nathan Rd. An incredible shopping district, loaded with custom tailors, electronics and high end clothing and jewelry. This was probably the most crowded area I visited.
That night included a vist to Lan Kwai Fong…a square city block of bars, clubs and restaurants set on a steep hill. I just had to visit the Ice Bar, which is an entire bar inside of a walk in freezer! The bar is ice, the seats are ice, the walls are ice…you get the picture. The coolest part might be the fur jackets given out at the entrance!
The next morning marked the end of my whirlwind visit to Hong Kong. By 9:30am I was back on the metro and beginning the 3 hour trip back to the Shenzhen airport.
Hong Kong is just one of the amazing places you can visit while living and teaching abroad in China. I really enjoyed my visit and can't wait to go again!