Big Trouble In Little China – Hong Kong
Well, technically its China.
The Island of Hong Kong was actually first seized by the British in 1841 in what is referred to as the first Opium War waged by the British against China. It was returned to China in 1997, but officially it is termed a SAR of the Peoples Republic of China. SAR stands for Special Administrative Region meaning they have their own government, currency, legislative policies and so on but technically it is still owned by China.
So enough with the back story, its awesome. The whole city is built in between a mountain and an inlet of the ocean which lends itself to views from pretty much anywhere you look. The mountain is commonly referred to as “The Peak” and you can take the peak tram to the top or a taxi around the backside of the mountain. There are some solid views and restaurants up top which makes it a great place to take in the city and watch the nightly Laser Show over the city.
The airport used to be pretty harrowing as it was right in the center of downtown, in fact pilots used to have to have a special license to fly into Hong Kong, but they have since moved the airport to a neighboring Island. When we flew into Hong Kong about 4 years ago, it was our first stop on a 5 country tour so needless to say we were ready to get out and see the city so we went straight to the Bar District called Lan Kwai Fong.
Lan Kwai Fong is unique among any other bar district I have been to because as like most of the city it is built entirely on a hill with steep streets. I recommend starting at the top of the hill, so as the night progresses you can “roll” on down. You have to hit up a a Kebab shop called Ebeneezer’s right in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong and I distinctly remember it as the best I have ever had.
After some tennis on the hotel roof the we set out to check out the rest of the city and came across a place called Wan Chai. Wan Chai is a cool little section of town with some trendy nightspots, restaurants and massage parlors (take it easy). Also another Ebineezers here, but that’s besides the point.
Being colonized by the British, Tea is everywhere and there are a few iconic spots to have High Tea. Some people say the Mandarin hotel, which is pretty cool and opulent, but for my money I say take the “Star Ferry” over to Kowloon and have tea at the Intercontinental looking back at Hong Kong Island.
Also over on Kowloon which is mainland China, there are a few big markets that you can check out to buy whatever piece of knockoff luggage or handbag you want.
Being a high profile city in the east, there is always something happening as well, so check out whats happening in the area when you get in town. In addition, what I really noticed and enjoyed about Hong Kong and Asia in general is how they integrate history with the new age. There are temples right in the middle of Hong Kong and lots of history in the city and surrounding area, so be sure to take in some of the history of the city as well.
Long story short, Hong Kong is tight.