Hong Kong

Trip Start Nov 14, 2009
Trip End Nov 16, 2009

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

My flight arrived at Hong Kong International Airport at 805 in the evening. It was a long time ago to land the airport for the transit on my way to London, but I still remembered that the airport was huge (the fourth busiest airport in the world). I took a subway to the arrival gate this time. Then I bought an Airport Express Travel Pass (Octopus Card), which includes free rides for MTR within three days and one way ride for Airport Express, for HK$220. I thought the Airport Express was quite expensive, but it was very convenient to get to the city. To put it in another way, it seemed inconvenient to reach the city by bus and MTR. So Hong Konger who know the way by bus and MTR may think of Airport Express as a rip-off for tourists.

I didn't know where Kowloon Station was, so I got on the train up to Hong Kong, although my hostel was located in Kowloon. So I took an MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui at Central. MTR Tsim Sha Tsui station was very close to Chungking Mansion, and it took only two minutes to find the building. My hostel, Ashoka hostel, was on the 13th floor of the building which was full of backpackers hostels, but only one elevator was available at the moment. The hostel was quite austere and the tiniest one I had ever stayed. Hoever, the rate was not cheap at HK$150 for a 6 person dormitory. The receptionist was very friendly and he kindly posed in front of the hotel sign for a picture and he also offered me a single room without extra charge. Although the room was the smallest I had stayed (again), I was glad at his offer. Anyway, from the beginning, my travel was a lot of fun against my expectation. 

Even late in the evening, I was so excited that I went out of the hostel and strolled around the city. I walked along the Nathan Road with plenty of neons. The first destination was Temple Street Night Market. Whenever I visit Asian cities, I try a night market and there were several interesting night markets in Hong Kong. The street market was the closest to my hostel and it was called the Temple Street aka Men's Street, because the goods sold there were popular with men. Anyway the lighting-up along Kowloon park east side was beautiful and I walked up to MTR Jordan station, dropping by a bakery on the way. The night market was still bustling even at around 11 p.m. and I enjoyed window-shopping. There were a lot of palmists stalls near Tin Hau Temple as well as a few karaoke "tents". Nobody seemed annoyed by the outdoor karaoke. 

Then I went back to Tsim Sha Shui, not to my hostel. Actually, there was another destination for the night and it was the Avenue of Stars. It was at around midnight, although there were a lot of people and some professional photographers for tourists along the promenade. Interestingly, the views of Hong Kong business district from there were still beautiful with lights of buildings. I took a walk up to the end of the avenue, finding Bruce Lee statue and Jackie Chan and Jet Lee handprints. The Christmas lit-up buildings were gorgeous. Then I walked in the opposite direction and sat on the harbor to enjoy a night view of Wan Chai and Central just like some Hong Kongers did. I liked Tokyo night views, but the night view there was much more enchanting. Passing by the clock tower, only the remnant of former Kowloon Station, I went back to Chungking Mansion.

"Ding Ding" Hong Kong Tram Guide Video
You can feel the atmosphere of the city just by riding on a tram. 

Hong Kong's Symphony of Lights Video
I missed out on the performance, but do you think it is a must-see?
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