Phil's Travel Pages (Asia and the Orient - Hong Kong)
- Martial Arts
My first introduction to Asia and the Orient was back in 1990, when I visited Hong Kong on my way to the UK, and again in 1996 on the way to New Zealand.
Hong Kong is an exciting and vibrant place where East-meets-West at many different levels. Undoubtedly the business capital of Asia, Hong Kong has something to offer almost everyone. Here western ideas and products are bought and sold with a typical Chinese business savvy.
Fortunes are made and lost in a day ... often depending on the mood of the Gods or a sense of luck or "Joss". A businessman in Hong Kong will quite often consult a fortune-teller on a street corner about enormous deals involving millions of dollars.
After getting over the initial culture shock (There are just so many people - imagine Oxford Street in London on Christmas eve at rush-hour...that's Hong Kong at 3:00am on Sunday morning!) it's a place where you really feel ... alive.
It's a shoppers' paradise too - the particular specialities being custom-tailored clothing and jewellery. The markets that are scattered throughout the colony are great fun to browse around and the Jade Market is particularly interesting. Bartering is commonplace and it's great fun to have a good-natured haggle over an item or two.
The whole place is full of wonderful stalls and shops, which run from the early hours of the morning, well into the night.
The food is excellent with a huge variety of restaurants that cater to virtually every taste. Try the cuisine from all over Asia and the Orient. It really is an experience.
Oh - and a top tip for the slightly adventurous:
you get the best deals from the little no-frills food stalls in places such as the Temple Street market, which are open every evening from as early as 6pm. The stalls are mostly just a tarp-covered shanty-like space with a single lightbulb and you sit at plastic tables on the footpath, but the food is first rate, fresh, piping hot and full of flavour. The chinese tend to be suspicious of restaurants with very plush decor, the rationale being that if the owner is spending so much money on the decor, then the food must be inferior. As always, in order to find the best food, look for where the locals eat.
From Hong Kong, it is also easy to visit places like Macau and Mainland China. I also recommend a trip to the top of Victoria Peak on the cable car and a trip across Aberdeen Harbour on a Chinese Junk.