13 Dec - 17 Dec 2012 Hong Kong

Hong Kong
Southern Kowloon Peninsula
Tsim Sha Tsui
36 - 44 Nathan Road
Chungking Mansions
B7, 10th Floor, Block B
Apple Hostel +85223699802 applehostelhk@yahoo.com.hk
Small but clean and perfectly adequate budget-double room (no. 151) with shared bathroom and wifi, for HKD (“Hong Kong Dollar”) 309.- or US$ 38.70 per night. Friendly and reliable staff.
Beer: 500-ml cans of cold San Miguel’s Blue Ice Beer (5.0 % alc./vol.) for HKD 6.- or US$ 0.80 per large can from any of the small grocery stores on the mansion’s ground floor.

Click below for an interactive road map of the Apple Hostel in Kowloon, which we would recommend, and for directions:


Viewing from Kowloon’s east-meets-west Avenue of Stars, by day and by night, Hong Kong’s magnificent skyline, where high finance meets haute couture, watching the kitschy but impressive star-wars-like laser show Symphony of Lights and trying to remember the names for each one of the countless towering signature high-rises between Sheung Wan and Admiralty on the opposite side of Victoria Harbour, e.g. (i) the spectacular, 70-storey, prism-like 367-m high Bank of China Tower, (ii) the HSBC Main Building, designed by Norman Foster and constructed entirely of structural steel without any reinforced concrete, or (iii) the 415-metre-tall Two International Finance Centre, the highest building on Hong Kong Island.

“It's not rocket science.
Hong Kong has 95 % tax compliance,
because it's code is only four pages long with a 15 % flat tax.”

Exploring Hong Kong’s vibrant living culture by means of (i) the iconic Star Ferry thus crisscrossing Victoria Harbour between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island for only HKD 3.60 or US$ 0.50 per person (more fun and cheaper than the much faster Mass Transit Railway, arguably the best underground railway service on earth), (ii) the century old street cars of Hong Kong Tramways comprising the only all double-decker wooden-sided tram fleet in the world (HKD 2.30 or US$ 0.30 per person) and (iii) the free-to-use but rather trippy, 800-m long and 20 segment Central Mid Levels Escalator; our favourites: the Old Wan Chai neighbourhood and the atmospheric Taoist Man Mo Temple with its resident astrologers, palm readers and geomancers who pay homage to the Taoist gods of literature (Man) and war (Moh).

Catching intriguing glimpses of daily life in Hong Kong with a stroll through time in the island's Western District and discovering a world of wonder where the hustle and bustle of this modern city mingles with the colourful age-old traditions of yesterday, thus (i) seeing traditions of the past that remain vibrant today in the many dried seafood and Chinese herbal medicine shops along Ginseng and Bird’s Nest Street and (ii) browsing the fantastic curio and antiques shops on Hollywood Road aka Antiques Street.

Enjoying a lazy (Advent) Sunday afternoon together with Hong Kong’s truly multicultural community: (i) watching Chinese lion-dance, ceremonial drumming and kung-fu performances at Kowloon Park, (ii) indulging into excellent Indian vegetarian food and (iii) listening to Christmas Carols, sung by domestic workers from the Philippines who had their weekly day off and who partied in Hong Kong’s picture-perfect parks.

Riding the historic Peak Tram +85225220922, a 130-year old funicular railway and arguably the most enduring emblem of Hong Kong’s unique past, up to 396 m above sea level near 552-m high Victoria Peak (c. 15 min, return ticket for senior citizens: HKD 19.- or US$ 2.50 per person) and enjoying spectacular views over Kowloon and Victoria Harbour where the buildings appeared to us as if they were built at a 45-degree angle.

Embarking on a fast ferry (Turbojet +85228593333) between Kowloon’s busy China Pier and Macau’s Outer Harbour (c. 36 nm, 1 hour, HKD 151.- or US$ 19.50 per person) and hopping from Hong Kong, Asia’s world city, to Macau, a once Portuguese-administered backwater-turned-gambling megaresort where eastern and western influences have met: “Bem-vindo a Macau, you Vegas of the East!”

“You can leave Hong Kong, but it will never leave you.” 

Click below for more blog posts about fascinating skylines

Click below for a summary of this year's travels
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