This short weekend trip to Hong Kong was my first experience traveling alone. Even though I met my friends from Spain, I took the plane by myself and stayed in a hostel. Fine, I had traveled alone to go live in Beijing for 6 month, but that was during college for an exchange semester and not really for traveling. I wasn’t anxious or anything, as it was just a very short trip. I was a bit nervous about the hostel though. I was scared of seeing crockroaches (HK is dirty!), or of people snoring in my room, and also of being bored.
What I liked the most about Hong Kong was that I could speak English or Chinese and communicate with about 90% of the population. Ok, Google reveals that only 40% speak Mandarin and another 40% speak English (some of these people, obviously are the same). But with the people I talked to in restaurants, shops, the street or the hostal, only one person kept answering me in Cantonese – meaning she understood my Mandarin but talked back in their dialect.
My experience at Tabi88 Hostel was really good. Maybe I was lucky, but other travelers that were staying there were also on their own, so they were really social. On the first night I met a Chinese guy that invited me to eat dimsun with him and two more people on the next day. There was also a Korean who lived between South Korea and Hong Kong and knew a bunch of things about both places. I met a very nice girl from the Phillipines on my last day, and also talked very briefly with someone who worked in my company but in Indonesia. The owner of the Hostal and his Japanese girlfriend were also really fun to chat with.
The rooms were small, but with a comfortable bed and a big enough locker to keep your things safe. There are 2 showers and a toilet for men and another for women. The building looks old but the apartment of the hostal is totally renovated. From the window you can see a beautiful Mosque.
And the best of all is the location. If you come from the airport by bus A21, you will get off right in front of the hostal (entrance is between Sasa chain shop and shop G2000, right in front of a big mosque). It is also on the same block as the subway Tsim Sha Tsui, one of the most centric ones. Malls all around and also a shop of Bee Cheng Hiang (a famous barbequed meat shop).
On one morning that I wasn’t meeting my friends, I went for a walk at the Avenue of Stars. Along the coast, there are 107 stars for Asian celebrities, some film related sculptures, and the sculpture of the great Bruce Lee. A funny thing happened there. I was walking around and saw a white woman squating on the floor, struggling to use a selfie stick and get a picture with one of the stars. I laughed silently and asked her if she needed help. As she said: “Yes please” I recognized a very familiar accent, so I asked her where she was from, and as I had thought, she was a Spanish woman traveling alone in HK to see a friend. Coincidences of life.
In short, one of the things I enjoyed the most was the food. Although I didn’t have time to try a lot of food, I liked what I ate. I can’t say I loved it like I loved food in Istanbul or in Japan, but I liked it enough to eat it every now and then. I must say too, that I ate Steaks on the first night, and then dimsun, duck and Italian on the second day. On my last quick lunch I grabbed some Taiwanese food from a food court, so that one doesn’t really count. Check my post on Dimsum and yummy HK food~
I almost forgot to say… WIFI widely available! I thought Seoul had the best public wifi ever, but HK could be even better. I found free wifi at a Cosmetic chain called SaSa (which was everywhere I went to), in HSBC bank and in many other establishments and malls. Even the airport bus had Wifi, which is something we are lacking in Seoul. (Plus their airport bus is 33HKD/4,35$ versus the one in Korea for 12,000W/10,50$… why don’t we have wifi on the airport “limousine” bus!?)
However, there were also some things I didn’t like of Hong Kong:
- H3: Hot & Humid as Hell.
- Crowds of people (and horrible traffic).
- Smelly city.
The H3 is not a joke. Every single time I stepped out I started to sweat, even in my shorts and light t-shirt or in my summer dress. You may argue we are in summer and hot weather is the norm, but other places around the world have better summers.
The crowds of people seems to a common thing in Asian capitals, but as this was a very short trip, I couldn’t get used to navigating the streets without getting lost, as crowds would force me to keep walking without stopping to look up the map. True, I stayed in Tsim Sha Tsui and spent half of the other time in Central, which are possibly two very busy districts, I don’t know how crowded it would be in less popular areas.
The smell… it was funny. I cannot explain what it smelled like, but more than half of the times it was a bad smell. It might be because of points #1 & #2. Also, due to A/C usage, many places were leaking water, so most of the times when I got wet it wasn’t from rain but from A/C water.
More on my Hong Kong Trip:
- Victoria Peaks & Where to have a killer cocktail while feeling the owner of HK
- Dimsum and yummy HK food~