10 things to love about Hong Kong

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With the current "We love Hong Kong" campaign in full swing, I pondered what I like about this place. Here, in no particular order, are ten reasons I love Hong Kong :

1. Weather
Grumble all you want about Hong Kong's hot, humid summers, but I prefer warm weather over long cold winters any day. Winters are cool enough to make a pleasant contrast from Summer, and we usually get a few days' really chilly weather each year to remind us what we're missing.

2. Convenience
Buses, trams, minibuses, ferries, subway, taxis ... it is such an easy place to get around. Pretty much anything you could want to buy is available, and shops are open late into the evening. Local colleagues on a recent business trip to Sydney were amazed to find that all the city centre shops were closed by 6pm on Saturday afternoon.

3. Ladies
The Asian figure is pleasing to the eye ...

4. My wife
... but before I get in trouble with #3 : Message to wife -- Only looking !

5. Safety
Given that this is such a large city, it is amazing how safe it is to be out and about, even late at night. When I first came here, I was surprised to see children out on the street at 10 or 11pm, being sent down to the nearest 7-11 or corner store to buy something for the family. There are many complaints about the poor quality of life in Hong Kong, but the feeling of personal safety is a huge plus for me.

6. Food
I've entertained business guests from overseas who, after a couple of days here, ask pleadingly "Isn't there anywhere that serves real Chinese food like we have back home ?". If you prefer your Chinese food without a sugary, glow-in-the-dark orange sauce, you are going to be one happy camper here in Hong Kong. And when you need a break from good Chinese food, all the other Asian cuisines are well represented too. I'm still waiting to find a good Greek restaurant though.

7. Tax
The HK tax return is four sides of paper, and usually you'll only need to fill in one and a half of those. And after filling it in, the maximum tax is just 15% of your salary.

8. Countryside
If your reading this from outside of HK, you probably have a mental image of skyscrapers and crowded streets. But because the buildings and people are all squashed into a small area, it means that most of Hong Kong's area is countryside. If I walk out of our block of flats and cross the main road, I'm facing a wooded hillside and a selection of hiking trails. I don't live anywhere remote -- it's only a five minute taxi ride away from the city center. If you're willing to spend a little more time travelling out of the city, you can really unwind in the country parks and beaches.

9. Foreigness
Living in a foreign country means that even simple things can seem strange and interesting. I guess that being a foreigner I also feel a little bit more different and special than if I was living at home in the UK.

10. Vitasoy malted soya milk
cold, on my Cornflakes for breakfast. Yes I tried living back in the UK, but denied my daily dose of "Muk Jing", it was only a matter of time before I returned....

Comments

!!!

I've just been to hongkong once, and going back this december.. and I really would love to live there :) I love HK! :) Only bit I dont like is how they look down on Filipinos.. maybe not all, but most of them :/ - joanne (filipino living in new zealand)

vitasoy malted milk

i love that stuff too!!!
by the way, you can get it in the UK too but it's not too wallet-friendly.

more things to like

1. Old fashioned hard working people
2. Lack of vandalism and petty crime
3. Politeness and helpfulness (except getting in and out of lifts / MTR)
4. People who take pride in their appearance

Top ten: in which area do you live?

MRB,

"I walk out of our block of flats and cross the main road, I'm facing a wooded hillside and a selection of hiking trails. I don't live anywhere remote -- it's only a five minute taxi ride away from the city center"... so in which area do you live?? Any hints to get an apartment there?

Joris

Live near the hills

Hello Joris,

I'm more familiar with the Western side of Hong Kong, so here's a couple of ideas - but if you look in a streetmap book for where the built-up area meets the green, you'll see there are plenty of choices. Places near to hiking trails but not too far from central can be found on Po Shan Rd, then all along Pok Fu Lam Rd.

When I'm dreaming about the bigger flat we'll move to one of these days, I usually visit the GoHome! website to remind myself that I can't afford it. They have many listings of flats for sale & rent.

Good luck with the flat-hunting, MrB

The noise! The crowds! The lights!

Now usually these belong on my list of grumbles, but as Gweipo points out, there's something comforting about an ever-present buzz of humanity.

I remember the last long trip we made to the UK, driving home alone at night from a friend's house in the countryside. No lights, no other people around, just me in the car alone. I was surprised how spooked I felt.

We're off to the UK again in a few days. Maybe I should set aside some time for practising being alone in a dark, lonely, quiet place?

I miss Hong Kong so much

It is about 6 years since you posted here!  I want to thank you for prasing Hong Kong like that!  Hong Kong is my home!  I no longer live in Hong Kong now but I keep thinking about going back to live there!  Because in the place I am living for now I can't find the food I love!  I miss the crowds!

The only thing I don't like about Hong Kong - weather!  It rains more than half of the 365 days per year!  One more thing I think Hong Kongers need to improve - they need to accept other racial groups other than Chinese! :)

small but impressive...

I visited Hong Kong last year for the first time and actually loved it.  Looking over HK on Google Maps and Google Earth beforehand, the urban parts seemed such a small, concentrated place that I was afraid I would feel squished in (and I physically was at times) but also get claustrophobic.  Thankfully, it wasn't so bad, it was kind of like New York City.

 I was impressed with the city as a whole but especially with the MTR (Please mind the gap!).  So efficient and clean.  Nice to see that people actually get up for old folks (like my parents, not me! :) ).  We usually don't see that in the US.  The only thing I don't like is how the escalators propel you off at the end of the ride.  I guess it's to keep up with the pace of the Hong Kong people who are on their way to work?  My reaction to the speed was, "Okay, already, I'm going, I'm going!!!"

So looking forward to another visit.

Vinnie.

HK Courtesy

I too notice that compared to other big cities, people in HK are not as rude as they are made out to be. I often see old people or parents with young children given a seat on crowded MTR trains. In shops, saying "please" and "thank you" (in cantonese) are widespread.  Talking aloud and shouting into mobile phones are cultural traits, not to be mixed up with rudeness. ( Not unlike Americans parading through Europe in tennis shoes..)  When I first got here, I worried that I would be stampeded at the top of MTR escalators - now I make sure I side step and scoot into any open space as quickily as I can.

Fast escalators

Thanks for the comments, Hong Konger, Vinnie and Sophia!

Re the fast escalators: I suspect HK's MTR escalators are among the world's fastest ordinary passenger models, if not the fastest -- the record holder seems to be the set of short escalators that lead up from the MTR exit tunnel into Festival Walk shopping mall. Those babies are amazing.

I think the reason the MTR's are so fast is simple crowd control. At the busier stations, at rush hour the crowd trying to get off the train platforms has often barely cleared by the time the next train comes in. If the escalators were any slower, there would be massive jam-ups.

But Sophia's right -- lingering at the end of a HK escalator after you've just gotten off is a bad idea . . . . 

This would not fly in Hong Kong...

"Douah jeah" (or is it "M-goy"?) for the advice and info on courtesy and MTR escalators.  (I'll ask my folks who are fluent in Cantonese for which is appropriate.)  I'll heed your warnings and I now have another reason to appreciate the MTR (such planning! such wonderful efficiency!).    :)

 After coming back home to the US (after my too-short visit) and having experiences that are slow or inefficient -- like going to a Chinese restaurant (of all places) and finding it still closed half an hour after the posted opening time -- I've come to say, "This would not fly in Hong Kong!"  

 Vinnie.

I love Hong Kong!

I've visited Hong Kong last August 2009 and I really wanna stay there.  The country is very nice and unique. The place is convenient and comfortable in all things, it makes life easier. Not only that, you can see all kinds of entertainment  in Hong Kong. Fashion and innovation is the goal of Hong Kong. They have all shopping, sightseeing, authentic restaurants, latest gadgets, disciplined people and all fashion trends in the world. The lifestyle is a little bit expensive but I think it's worth.

 

 

Cheers,

Terence

(From Cebu, Philippines)