Hong Kong: A Gentle Introduction To A New Part of the World - PassPorter.com
PassPorter.com
Award-winning travel guidebooks
Home Florida - Walt Disney World Caribbean - Disney Cruise Line California - Disneyland Resort Anywhere and Everywhere! Travelers Store Message Boards PassPorter's Club Help!
  About Us  |  Customs Office   |   Register Your Book   |   Book Updates   |  Newsletter  |  Articles  |  Photos  |   Follow Us on
       LINKS
       ARTICLES
Globetrotting Planning Articles

Globetrotting Traveling Articles

Globetrotting Lodging Articles

Globetrotting Touring Articles
Activities at Aulani
Berlin
Berlin, Germany
Blue Horizons
Burgundy, France
Camping in Florida
Chateau de Chambord
Cologne, Germany
Cruising Alaska
Discovering Dollywood
Discovering Peru
Discovering Peru
Disneyland Paris In A Day
Enjoying Life In Lyon
Hong Kong
Hong Kong Disneyland
Hong Kong Part 2
Island Hopping While at Aulani
Key Largo and Islamorada
Kings Dominion
Kyoto, Japan
Legendary Tibet
Lighthouses on Lake Huron
Madrid
Marseilles
Mercedes-Benz Museum
Miami, Florida
Monaco
Mont St. Michel
More of the Mediterranean
Morikami Museum
National Baseball Hall of Fame
Newfoundland, Canada
Nickelodeon Cruise
Our Very Own Amazing Race
Pin Trading
Planning a First Trip to Disneyland Paris - Part 2
Planning a First Trip to Disneyland Paris - Part 3
Planning Your First Visit to Disneyland Paris
Pompeii
Portland, Oregon
Quebec City
Rome
SeaWorld Orlando
St. Helier
The Flagler Museum, Palm Beach, Florida
The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride
The Jersey War Tunnels
The Walt Disney Family Museum
Those Tokyo Disney Shows
Tokyo DisneySea
Universal Orlando
Unlocking the Magic of the Florida Keys
Unlocking The Magic of The Florida Keys
Venice
Visiting NASA
Zoos of the World

Globetrotting Dining Articles
Aunty's Character Breakfast at Makahiki
Dining In New York City
Dining In New York City
The 'Bounty of the Island' Buffet Dinner at Makahiki
Walt's American Restaurant

Globetrotting Making Magic Articles

Globetrotting General Travel Articles

View all PassPorter articles
PassPorter's
Article Tools
Print Article
Download PDF
View Photos
Visit Forum

Hong Kong: A Gentle Introduction To A New Part of the World

by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 6/12/2008
  

Cool Tip: Click here to get a FREE PDF version of this article, fully formatted to print and put into your PassPorter Deluxe Binder!


Filed in Articles > International Travel > Touring  

It seems amazing that there is a place halfway around the world from the U.K. in a totally different continent that still retains many traces of its British heritage, but that's exactly what's happened in Hong Kong.


Formerly a British colony, the British acquired Hong Kong from China during the Opium Wars of the 19th century. It was returned to the Chinese in 1997, but 10 years later, it's still very much a mix of the two cultures. Everywhere you look, the signs are in both English and Cantonese and everyone you meet has a good grasp of both languages. That makes it a very easy place to visit and a good introduction to the Asian continent. There's no need for expensive courses in what can be difficult languages (trust me, as someone learning Japanese, I speak from experience!).

Hong Kong is divided into two main areas - Hong Kong Island, which as the name suggests, is separated from the Chinese mainland, and Kowloon on the opposite side of the harbor. The things to do and see are roughly divided in half between the two and there's no real advantage to staying in one area over the other. We were on Hong Kong Island, although a little further out from the central area than I would've liked. Unfortunately, the hotel I originally opted for was full at the time we would be there.

The first thing you need to know about Hong Kong is that there is a lot for visitors to see. Most people we met were just there as a stopover to somewhere else, often Australia, but the city is worth so much more than just two or three nights. We were there for a total of seven nights and, even in that time, we didn't get 'round to see everything we wanted, which surprised us, as we packed a lot in.

The second thing you need to know about Hong Kong is that it's literally packed with people - not visitors, but residents. Much of the territory is made up of steep hills, which makes building impossible. That means that less than 25% of the area is actually developed and that area is home to around seven million people. The only way to accommodate that many people in such a small space is to keep building upwards, and that's exactly what's happened over the years. If you think you've seen skyscrapers, perhaps in cities like New York or Los Angeles, Hong Kong will open your eyes. You've never seen so many all crammed together so tightly.

Hong Kong is also home to a huge commercial district and that means yet more skyscrapers. Banks tower into the skyline and famous brand names can be seen on signs at the tops of many of the buildings - lit up in neon at night, but still just as prominent during the day. It all gives the impression of a very bustling and vibrant city.

Some people we know who've visited Hong Kong reported it's a bit overwhelming, but we loved that feeling and, despite all the commercial and residential buildings and the millions of people living and working here, we found it easy enough to escape from the crowds whenever we needed to, as Hong Kong is home to a surprising number of parks, scattered throughout the city. Some, such as Hong Kong Park are hard to miss. Formerly home to the Victoria Barracks, this park is now home to botanical gardens, an aviary, and even a museum of tea ware!



However, there are other, far smaller parks that you can stumble upon completely by accident. We came across a couple that were not mentioned in any of our guidebooks, yet were complete oases surrounded by the office buildings soaring above.

By now, you've probably got the idea that Hong Kong is a growing city and, as you'd expect from any growing city, it's experiencing growing pains. It's fair to say that the air is not as clean as you'd hope for, as pollution is fairly rife in the city, and traffic jams on the roads a daily occurrence.

That's probably why so many people take the MTR system, the city's subway. It's an easy enough way to get around and reasonably priced, but as we found out during our stay, there are times of the day, particularly the evening, when it's full to capacity. And, unlike many subway systems around the world, cell phones seem to work anywhere underground, which makes for some very noisy journeys! It's perhaps clear that, although Hong Kong lies on the other side of the world from England, and is part of China, which I'm sure many of us view as having a very different way of life to our own, actually this is one Chinese city with some remarkable similarities to life in the West. It's got a lot of the same issues and, as you look around, you can't help but think that it's just like a lot of other cities in the world, particularly London with all its British influences.

Heading out to Asia for the first time can be a daunting prospect and it's understandable, as it's a very different culture to our own and almost halfway round the world. However, heading out to Hong Kong as your first experience of Asia, as we did, is a great way to get a feel for the area and yet still feel somewhat at home.

In a future article, Cheryl will be taking a look at some of the specific things to do and see in Hong Kong...



About the Author:
Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

Related Links:


Enjoying the Japan Pavilion at Epcot - A World Showcase Favorite last updated 2/24/2011
The Parades of the Magic Kingdom - A Plethora of Processions last updated 01/22/2009
Epcot's World Showcase - Pavilions vs. The "Real" World last updated 01/29/2009
Recent Changes to Disneyland - Part 1 last updated 02/12/2009
The Seas With Nemo And Friends - In Love With The Living Seas last updated 4/23/2009




Reader Comments:


So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!

(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)




Updated 6/12/2008 - Article #149 



Read additional articles from PassPorter.com

Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide. As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!

E-mail Address:

First Name:

E-mail Format:
-Text/Don't Know  

-HTML

 
 

We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result in more spam! We guarantee it.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Copyright 1999-2014
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

       SEARCH
       LEARN MORE
Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks


 

RSS General PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel - Globetrotting: General Travel Planning
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Planning a trip around the globe, or just away for the weekend? Ask questions and share experiences! Forum Sponsored by CruisingCo.com


good food on the road
by Tracy Lilly
22 Jul 2014 at 12:54pm
My wife and I are planning a Disney cruise and we're both foodies. We're looking for some good restaurants and/or burger joints to sample on the way...
(click title above to view replies)

What to pack for 11 days to Catalonia Royal Tulum
by ksimas
14 Jul 2014 at 4:10pm
I hope I can get some suggestions because we are 59 days away from our trip. And I'm giving myself a headache trying to think of what to pack for 11...
(click title above to view replies)

Cox's Bazar
by arifgph
12 Jul 2014 at 3:03am
What do you think about Cox's Bazar?
(click title above to view replies)

Teresa-Pops concert rescheduled
by Huntermom
2 Jul 2014 at 7:09pm
Teresa, I don't know if you were planning to try to go into Boston, but the 4th of July concert and fireworks have been rescheduled from Friday to...
(click title above to view replies)

I survived driving in around Boston common!
by Canada Amy
1 Jul 2014 at 9:32pm
And the best part was getting to eat at earl of sandwich yesterday! Parking after 4pm under the commons was perfect. Also pulled off swan boat ride...
(click title above to view replies)

Driving with 10 people
by twins4me
30 Jun 2014 at 3:55pm
Any ideas on modes of transportation for 10 people? We are trying to plan multi-generational trip to include me and my kids, my sister and her kids...
(click title above to view replies)

Cleaning Schedules?
by Kelly66
28 Jun 2014 at 12:26am
We are experiencing an extended stay at a hotel during our corporate relocation. Ok much more extended than we had anticipated. We actually stayed at...
(click title above to view replies)

New England - Here We Come!
by Teresa
27 Jun 2014 at 11:09pm
Taking a break from packing for our almost 2 week trip to New England (Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and possibly Rhode...
(click title above to view replies)

Quick question: Boston common parking garage!
by Canada Amy
27 Jun 2014 at 6:26am
We have a Thule. With it on top of our Toyota minivan, is there no way we can park under there?? Leaving for our trip tomorrow, Boston Monday....
(click title above to view replies)



Total Visits: 2960


PassPorter ~ 1998-2014 ~ 16 Years of Making Dreams Come True!
Publishers of bestselling travel guidebooks and proud recipients of 13 national book awards
About PassPorter
About Us
Site Map
Press
Privacy Policy
Images & Artwork
Guidebooks
About
Previews
Buy
Reviews
Updates
Features
News & Updates
Articles
Podcasts
Photos
Message Boards
Newsletter
Concierge Desk
Desktop
Trips
Books & E-Books
Tips
Settings
Customs Office
Register Books
Book Updates
Contests
Checklists
Help & Info
Finding Answers to Questions
Help Desk
Using Your PassPorter Forum
Store Customer Service
E-Mail Us
Follow Us
PassPorter.com Front Page (Updated Daily!)
PassPorter Newsletter (weekly and free)
Latest Posts
Facebook
Pinterest
YouTube Channel
Questions? Check our Site Map and visit our Help Desk to learn how to contact us online, by e-mail, and by phone.
Please feel free to link to this page so that other vacationers can find it.