In October of this year, I traveled to Hong Kong and Nepal over a two and a half week period. From the US, there are no direct flights to Nepal; they all connect through other countries first. And from San Francisco, most connect through Hong Kong. When I saw that we'd have long layovers in Hong Kong, I decided that we should just make them into stopovers, of which I've had great success with before. In the end, I spent around 4 days in Hong Kong with my friend Wenzhe and my sister Amy. Since I've taken several trips to India and parts of Asia, I'd been to the Hong Kong airport on multiple occasions, but never did manage to step outside of the airport (or even customs for that matter). So I was excited to finally get to taste the food and see the skyscrapers I'd heard about.
We poured over episodes of No Reservations, reviews on TripAdvisor and tons of other travel blogs and sites we came across. Our plan, arrive, check into our AirBnb place, and get some delicious food. We definitely accomplished that. We ate everything from Roasted Duck (basically Peking Duck, just in Hong Kong), to spicy crab, to a Michelin Star dim sum restaurant (I went back for seconds). We organized our days around what we wanted to eat and where we wanted to eat, then fit in places to see from there.
A visit to Hong Kong is almost never complete without wandering through some of the innumerable markets and shopping malls. In fact, I'm pretty sure all of Hong Kong and Kowloon is just one single market, joined by some sort of underground tunnel system where you never have to leave a man-made building. I've never seen more giant shopping malls in my life. Every single district in the city has their own mall, and every street is lined with markets, stands and people selling something.
We spent a ton of time just wandering the corridors and alleys of some of the markets. Some of the more famous ones, like Temple Street Night Market and the Ladies Market, were packed. The markets really had everything and anything, as long as you were ok with counterfeit. However, if you wanted non-counterfeit goods, the shopping malls could hook you up. Hong Kong has the largest designer stores I've ever seen; from Louis Vuitton stores that size of a Best Buy to Coach stores taking up half a block. And those were the only brands that I recognized; I'm sure others would recognize the names of the other stores.
As part of the plan to follow in Anthony Bourdain's footsteps, and to be part of the stereotypical Hong Kong experience, Wenzhe and I both got some tailored suits made. After a long time comparing stores and haggling on prices, we decided upon a spot and each got a tailored suit, an extra pair of pants and two fitted shirts. Now to find occasions to wear my new clothes...
We made sure to visit all the places that were recommended by friends and travel guides; The Peak at night, wander through night markets, fish markets, visit Causeway Bay, drink in Lan Kwai Fong bars and tour the Hong Kong Museum of History. We even made sure to fit in a day trip to Macau to see some sights and gamble a bit in the Vegas of the East. All my pictures from the trip are up on Flickr. We packed a lot in, and we definitely full from food and wandering. For myself, I was left very satisfied with the trip. I think this picture from out last meal describes how I felt before we boarded our 14 hour return flight home.