The first half of my six-week Southeast Asia adventure was spent doing personal reflection and volunteering. The second half of the trip was spent visiting friends who have moved to Asia from the United States. The trip was unintentionally split up this way, but looking back, I’m glad it was. In the first few weeks, I was learning and growing as a person. My world view broadened, my appreciation of ordinary moments grew, and my gratitude for the life I live deepened exponentially. In the last few weeks of my journey, I was able to share all of those experiences and growth with some very important people in my life, starting in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong became a destination on my trip itinerary because one of my best friends from college, as well as a former roommate, lives there now. Jess Bailey is one of the most positive human beings I’ve ever met. She’s beautiful and intelligent, silly and always up for an adventure too. But let me stress again how positive and good she is: she’s the kind of person whom when you meet her, your heart feels warm. So needless to say, I couldn’t wait to see Jess.
I arrived to HK some time after 10pm on a Saturday and immediately began the Hong Kong experience. I joined Jess at a Halloween party (my costume was weary traveler) and we drank prosecco and talked with her friends into the late hours of the night. The following morning we set sail out of Sai Kung with some of her friends on their family junk (“junk” is the common word for boat I learned!) and toured around the South China Sea. We stopped on one island for an incredible family-style seafood lunch and to do some beach combing on a small strip known as the “Pot Beach” for its collection of decades-old discarded opium pots.
Jess and I kicked off the following day with an HIIT exercise class (my first ever and I loved it!). Then throughout the day there was souvenir shopping, bubble tea and a city-famous egg tart from Tai Cheong Bakery, and a leisurely walk through local artisan galleries that were formerly police barracks. While we enjoyed looking at art, Jess taught me how to blow the “bubbles” out of the straw of my bubble tea. Imagine blowing a bulbous spitball with an arc out of NBA dreams and hitting your target on a wall ten feet away. Total satisfaction.
Later in the day Jess and I went hiking up Victoria Peak, which was conveniently located in her neighborhood in Kennedy Town. Inconveniently, the hike was 100% incline. The views were worth the strain however, and we enjoyed a glass of wine at a cozy mountaintop restaurant when we reached the top. For dinner we went to a really fun restaurant called Tokyo Lima, which, you may guess, is Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine. We ordered the chef’s special, which included 10 courses of chef-selected deliciousness. A five-star recommendation from this foodie!
On my final day in HK, I met a friend and former colleague from DC for breakfast. He had just arrived in Hong Kong the night before and was visiting for his nephew’s wedding. The uncanny timing allowed us to spend some long overdue time together on the opposite side of the globe!
Before I knew it, it was time to depart Hong Kong and move on to the next destination. Though my visit was short, it was oh so sweet. The company, the sights, the food – everything left me feeling energized and grateful. And a good thing too, because my next destination was about to require all my energy and focus…
Up next, Vietnam. Blog post coming soon…
Hong Kong break down
Traveling: Arrived and departed solo, stayed with a local friend
Highlights: Junk rides, food, hiking, and art galleries. Having a local friend always makes a trip more authentic, so I was lucky to eat at and visit some top notch places. I’d recommend stepping out of your comfort zone and trying some of the fusion cuisines here. Plus, HK is such a melting pot of eastern and western culture, there’s an endless variety of activities and sights to choose from. As for getting around, there are multiple (and easy) means to travel including Uber, subway, tram, and bus.
Food: All of it. As I mentioned above, Hong Kong has a unique mix of both eastern and western cultures. It is an autonomous territory of China, but has unique political and cultural heritage as a former British colony. You’ll get an incredible variety of cuisines here, which often added a unique HK fusion to the menu. What exactly is HK fusion? I’m still trying to figure that one out myself, but I’d say it takes Chinese and SE Asian tastes and marries them. Think of dumplings, seafood, fresh and lighter fare tossed with soy sauce and MSG.
Tips: If you don’t have much time to spend in Hong Kong, I do recommend seizing every opportunity to do as much as you can. Hong Kong is compact and one of the most densely populated regions of the world, so getting around is relatively easy, enabling you to check off lots of sightseeing boxes during your visit.
Want to see more? Check out my photo album of Hong Kong on Facebook.