Hong Kong Randoms

Hong Kong Nights

Hong Kong at night is amazing, not only because of the neon lights and the illuminated skyscrapers, but also because everything is open very late and there is a huge variety of dining and nightlife options. It is really too bad we didn't have time to experience more of the nightlife. I wanted to visit more clubs and more skybars.

My newfound friend Elton from Hong Kong, that some from our group already knew since he was an exchange student at our school, got to be our guide a few evenings. He took us to Lan Kwai Fong, a street in the city center with hoards of people, bars, loud music and party atmosphere. There was not enough room in all the bars so people was drinking on the street. If you get in the mood for party despite feeling tired and unfresh? Yes.

If you turn through and alley from Lan Kwai Fong you will find this amazing place. Partly indoors and partly outdoors, where everyone sits with hookahs. It was only Western mainstream music which I thought was perfect but everyone may not agree, haha. Elton knew the bartender and gave the whole group free drinks which I also thought was perfect until the next day.

This fabulous picture (awesome quality) is the only one of me from that night and describes my condition quite well. Ridiculously happy with a flashing princess crown on my head all night which is now my favorite souvenir from Hong Kong. Awesome night.


Other nights we sat on this rooftop bar that was near our hostel. Love the combination of high, wobbly bar stools right by a glass railing...

One evening we spent in Mongkok which is located in Kowloon. Mongkok has an insane amount of markets and cheap shopping. There is a whole street with just sneakers (ie real Nike, Adidas, Reebok, etc..) for cheap prices, a whole street with electronics and so on.

And like many times before, we weren't quite careful with where we ate or what we ate. Until one after one started to suffer from food poisoning. Yes, 9 of us 12 fell victim to it, I was of course one of them. We all got sick on different days of different food so there is a big risk of being getting the tourist sickness if you're not careful. Luckily it only lasted one day for all of us. Towards the end of the trip, I ate only rice, crackers and bananas.

The last night we went to Happy Valley, where races are held every Wednesday. Again, awful lot of people and a very lovely atmosphere. None of us really knows anything about horses but most of us still went to bet each round.


And as an appropriate farewell, some of us went up to Victoria Peak the last night for the most amazing view ever.



One of our trips was to Macau. Like Hong Kong, Macau is a Special Administrative Region in China, and was also a colony until the late 90s. Unlike Hong Kong which was a British colony, Macau was a Portuguese, and the traces of colonial times is more obvious here. Looking at the picture you will find the houses and squares in Portuguese style, signs in Portuguese and other elements of the city such as a lot of mopeds. Macau is in general a very strange mix, not only is it a mix of Portugal and China, but throw in some Las Vegas in the mix too. Yes, Macau is the Las Vegas of Asia.

The ferry, or whatever it is (to me it mostly reminded me of a huge jet-ski that flew over the water) takes about an hour from Hong Kong, and you have to go through passport checks like you're visiting another country. 

Ruinas de Igreja de São Paulo is one of the most popular attractions, although it is only a facade. I can imagine that it looks more amazing in good weather (the entire city had probably given me a better impression with better weather, by that time it was raining and I felt most wet and miserable). Too bad.

Men trots sina portugisiska inslag påminner större delen av staden om att det ändå är Kina vi befinner oss i. 

Most smaller streets looked like this, crowded and shabby with balconies that looked like cages. Awesome or terrible - you decide.

And as always, there was a temple to visit, this time the A-Ma Temple.

When we got tired of walking around in the rain, we figured it was time for gambling, and went to Macau's own version of The Venetian. Which is named exactly the same here. Macau may not have as many casinos but they are huge and apparently they make more money than in Las Vegas! The casino part of The Venetian (where you could not photograph) was bigger than any of the ones I saw in Vegas.

The typical indoor sky was there too, of course. After a whole day of rain even a fake-sky felt good. How strange to walk around in a Venice Inspired place in a Las Vegas inspired place in an ex-Portuguese colony belonging to China. Inception?

After being in Las Vegas, Macau didn't quite live up to expectations when it comes to the casino part, despite their large and super luxurious casinos. All hotels are not found in the same place as in Vegas, some large casinos were on a completely different island so we had to go across the bridge. There was only one area that reminded me of a weak copy of Vegas.


But you can't complain about the insides. In MGMs hotel we found this underwater world which has to be one of the craziest indoor environments I've been in! And apparently it is only temporary as they have new themes after a few months.

We had a last drink there before it was time to take the big "jet-ski" back to Hong Kong.

Lantau - Tai O

After Ngong Ping, we took the bus to Tai O, one of the last South Chinese fishing villages on poles. This trip was truly an experience, I've never been in a place that is so different from what I'm used to. The first thing we did was to take a boat trip between the houses, but unfortunately we didn't come far into the village since the water was very low as you may see. We saw more by just walking around afterwards. Recently Instagrams own account added a picture from the same location as the picture above, but with sunset and high tide. A bit jealos, but whatever...

There is a whole network of bridges and piers between the houses, which basically functioned as normal streets where we could walk everywhere. However, I couldn't help feeling that we were trespassing, you almost go through the houses and see into their homes and how they live. It's very fascinating to see how little space and things people need to live.

Some houses looked like huts and others looked like cubes of aluminum. There were quite many that looked like the latter. I read afterwards that it had been a big fire there in 2000, which perhaps explains it.

And then there were some newer houses that look like ordinary villas, although on poles, of course. The white to the left has its own matching zigzag walk to the house. 

Unfortunately I think the village will change a lot in a very short time, they are already building a wide promenade along the water and apparently the government has plans to spend millions to transform the area. Have subsequently read about it and that the residents are protesting. It's incredibly sad if Tai O loses what makes it special, and if Hong Kong loses it's last traditional fishing village.

As darkness began to fall, we took the ferry back to Hong Kong. It's difficult to imagine that this also began as a fishing village not too long ago.

Lantau - Ngong Ping

We went to Lantau, the largest island located west of Hong Kong Island. Very mountainous and beautiful scenery but unfortunately we were not lucky with the weather. Almost every day we were there it was very foggy, as was this day. Too bad because we certainly missed out on stunning views. But we saw a lot else! We took the train to the island (the airport is also here so there are good connections) and then the cable car Ngong Ping 360, which took us over the mountains to Ngong Ping.

You could choose between going  with a regular car and a "Crystal Cabin" with glass floors. The brave ones took the latter! Totally worth an extra buck, the glass was very clear and it took a while before I actually dared to stand on it. 

The whole trip took 25 minutes and we went high up above the mountain peaks. The higher up, the more fog. On some occasions there was so much fog that everything around us was just white, white and white. Like I said, it was unfortunate because we didn't see the view, but the fog was actually pretty cool too.

Once in Ngong Ping, we came to what looked like a small Chinese village, a pretty touristy one with souvenir shops and Starbucks. It was surprisingly a lot of people up here, all the way to the monastery and the huge Buddha.

These breathtaking stairs (literally, my breath was gone after half the way) leads up to the 34 meter high Buddha, one of the world's largest. Which you can't even see here because of the fog! I was a little shocked when it suddenly appeared before me, it was bigger than I expected. So you could say that the fog worked as a cool, mysterious effect. Heh.


Kowloon is one of Hong Kong's three main areas (the other is Hong Kong Island, where we stayed, and New Territories which is north of Kowloon). Between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island you have to take the ferry or the train for a few minutes. Otherwise it's not much difference between them, at least not if you compare with the part closest to the water, Tsim Sha Tsui. It's still a lot of high buildings and a lot of people.

Unfortunately, the day we explored Kowloon where the day when we had the least strength and I wasn't very active with the camera. After a night of partying and free drinks all night (more about that later), it was a miracle that we even got up. We took every opportunity we got to sit down and rest. I even fell asleep for a moment on this patch of grass. By the way, across the water you can see the Hong Kong Island.

At the end of Tsim Sha Tsui, closest to Hong Kong Island, you will find the cultural center and a large area with museums. My guidebook described the cultural center as "one of the century's greatest architectural disasters" because of the huge buildings (don't have a picture of the whole thing) which is without windows despite having the best location in Kowloon by the water.

Aside from the cultural center Hong Kong lacks culture in the way that we are used to in European cities. Museums, parks, squares and activities that belong to these places, there is not as much of. Their biggest "activity" is shopping, and eating out. Shopping and dining you can find everywhere, in every corner of the city.

Therefore, it was quite fun to walk around in this area and see for example this contest that was going on in traditional Chinese dance(?) with a big audience. It was not until I saw this that I realized how little of this kind of public activity we had seen, when "something is happening" that people gather around.

Kowloon Park is the second exception, a very large and beautiful park in the middle of Tsim Sha Tsui. Didn't have time to check out the whole park but sat here for a while and ate my food from McDonald's.

And this is the stunning view of Hong Kong Island at night. We gladly took the ferry back instead of the subway. As I said, I was very bad with the camera that day so I haven't really done the area justice with this post, but this will have to do.

CUHK School of Architecture

We went to Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) to visit the School of Architecture as you can see above. It is one of two architecture schools in Hong Kong. As in Tokyo, it was great to see the similarities with our own school. First of all, concrete seems to be a standard for many architecture schools... This one is, however, a bit nicer than our lump of concrete in Stockholm.

We were welcomed by a professor who were also our guide earlier in the day when we were visiting Nan Lian Garden and the surrounding area. He invited us to look at the presentations that was going on during our visit. It was a very good opportunity to get an insight into what they are doing and how their teachers are.

It was the fourth-year students who presented and it wasn't yet completed projects, but it was still interesting to see a part of the process. And the presentation and criticism was in English luckily for us. So much fun to see how similar it is to our criticism! Only on the other side of the world.

We also got to see their studios... We're not the worst, woho! And yes, for those of you who have never seen a studio in an architecture school, this mess is completely normal, if not worse just before project submission. Maybe you can understand why I don't always feel comfortable in an environment like this when I'm used to having it clean and tidy around me.

I was more jealous of their roof, though. This should be a standard for all architecture schools. Imagine the parties you can arrange up here. The view is also Hong Kong in a nutshell - sea, mountains and high buildings.

Nan Lian Garden

There are not many parks in Hong Kong, but the ones we visited were very beautiful. I discovered during my stay in Tokyo that I love Buddhist temples and gardens, as well as this Chinese Nan Lian Garden which is located a bit outside the center of Hong Kong. The special thing about this one is that it is surrounded by highways, yet it is very quiet and peaceful. And of course the contrast with all the high buildings in the background - because it's Hong Kong.


RSS 2.0