The No-Nonsense Travel Guide to Hong Kong

The No-Nonsense Travel Guide to Hong Kong

Why Go? Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan city, featuring luxurious hotels and unsurpassed fine dining. We expected to find an overabundance of commercialization and skyscrapers, and not much more. While we certainly did find those things (is there really a need for a shopping mall at nearly every metro stop?) we were also pleased to discover Hong Kong and the rich, unique, and at times chaotic experience it offers to travelers. Vestiges of British control, traditional Chinese culture, and a large international presence mix together throughout the metropolis; the result is a strikingly unique culture that promises moments of pure delight. While at first the city might appear overwhelming and exhausting, take a moment to step back and enjoy the energy that is Hong Kong. Here are our travel tips to get you started.   Getting In: Unless you are travelling from China or Macau, you’ll probably be arriving in Hong Kong via air. Its importance as an international hub in Asia means most major and budget airlines have connections at the Hong Kong International Airport. Once you arrive, there is an Airport Express Line on the MTR (metro) that connects the airport to Central, Kowloon, and Tsing Yi. It is a bit pricy at HK $100 (one way) but extremely efficient. For budget travelers, there are numerous buses that will connect you to most major areas in and around Hong Kong. For a complete schedule and routes, see the City Bus webpage.   Getting Around:  Hong Kong has an extremely thorough public transportation system. It’s easy to use, and by far the best way for travelers to navigate...
4 Best Outlying Islands in Hong Kong

4 Best Outlying Islands in Hong Kong

    Many people have thought that Hong Kong is just a tiny island with lots of skyscrapers. Actually, there are over 200 individual islands with beautiful natural scenery and local culture. Believe it or not, Hong Kong Island is only the second largest island in Hong Kong, while the largest one is Lantau Island (147.16 km²) which nearly doubles the size of Hong Kong Island (78.52 km²). (Don’t believe it, have a look at the map).   So, what exactly Lantau Island is? Is it worth visiting? What about the other islands? Fancy island hopping? Okay, I’m going to show you the four most popular outlying Islands in Hong Kong. All of them can be easily reached by regular ferries from Central Ferry Piers.   4 Best Outlying Islands in Hong Kong   1. Lantau Island If you arrive in Hong Kong by air (I guess most of you do), you will pass by Lantau Island when you travel all the way downtown as Hong Kong International Airport is located on Chek Lap Kok, off North Lantau. Therefore, even if you just stopover Hong Kong for a few hours, you will still have time to explore this largest island.   What to do and see? For day or half day trippers, take the cable car to Ngong Ping to visit the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery. Many tourists love to get there. See the entire post about the Big Buddha. Other than the well-known Hong Kong Disneyland, Tai O fishing village and the Big Buddha, there are so much more to do and see on Lantau Island....
A Few of Hong Kong’s Hidden Gems

A Few of Hong Kong’s Hidden Gems

You wouldn’t think an island only 31.04 square miles with nearly 7.2 million people inhabiting it is capable of producing anything relaxing.But Hong Kong is full of surprises. Those who are drawn to cities understand the near constant energy that comes with cramming too many people in too little space. They also probably understand the need for quiet, and possess the uncanny ability to find it even in the midst of such chaos....
Lessons in Love Abroad

Lessons in Love Abroad

Today we have a great guest post from Hayley Fowler about lessons she learned while dating and studying abroad. Enjoy! It all started with Mary Kate and Ashley. Between “When in Rome,” “Winning London” and “Passport to Paris,” I was convinced at a very early age that love abroad was in my future. I mean, who visits their estranged grandfather in France and doesn’t fall in love with two Parisian boys on mopeds? Sadly, 13-year-old me was in for a rude awakening in life. First, I did absolutely no globe trotting before graduating high school. And second, when I finally did spend an extended period of time away from the States, my international love affair looked nothing like the Olsen Twins’. It did, however, include some hysterical conversations about word choice and one painfully awkward FaceTime call upon my return home. We’ll call him Alex, for the sake of being generic. A lot of people who’ve spent more than two weeks traveling have probably stumbled upon an Alex at some point. Casey and Dan were lucky — they found each other a little earlier than most. My Alex was English. He could be a bit self-absorbed, and he cared about other people’s’ opinions too much. He also had a superiority complex that rivaled Henry VIII’s. While Alex admittedly never tried to behead me, it’s rumored good ole King Henry was obsessed with the idea that his calves were bigger than those of Francis I of France. And for some reason, I feel like Alex would identify with that. But he had a british accent. And he loved pizza and “Friends”...
Coping with Reverse Culture Shock: What You Need To Know

Coping with Reverse Culture Shock: What You Need To Know

      Reverse culture shock is the ugliest part of traveling. It marks the end of your adventures, and worse yet, a return to normalcy. The term “reverse culture shock” is defined as: an “idealized view of home” and the “expectation of total familiarity.” To put it bluntly, it’s the somewhat devastating feeling that accompanies your flight home from a long stint abroad — after the initial ‘I-can’t-believe-I’m-going-home-excitement’ wears off and you’re left with a whole of, well, nothing. I came across a good way of putting reverse culture shock in my research — “you find yourself feeling out of place in your own culture.” But you don’t have to. Across the board, everyone agrees that you will experience a gradual re-acclimation to wherever you call home. And it doesn’t mean forgetting the incredible eight weeks you spent backpacking in South America or the six months studying in Asia. It means incorporating your experiences from that time abroad into your current outlook on life.  How To Deal With Reverse Culture Shock 1. Express Yourself Among our biggest fears after returning is that we’ll forget everything that’s happened. It all feels a bit like a dream, and there’s no one around to verify the reality. So don’t be afraid to seek that validation — find someone who will listen to your stories, or maintain that journal you started abroad. Just don’t let the memories fester in the back of your mind until you start to feel isolated. Express them. 2. Seek out something from your time abroad at home. It’s kind of like that moment we found a box...
7 Hong Kong Eateries For All Your Foodie Needs

7 Hong Kong Eateries For All Your Foodie Needs

Most everyone knows this bustling island city off the southeast coast of China is world renowned for its incredible food, from hole-in-the-wall family run establishments to high-end cuisine in the heart of Central. And half the fun Hong Kong eateries is the experience itself. The city offers something unique from its other Asian counterparts like Beijing and Bangkok — a seamless blend of traditional Chinese heritage with Western culture. The result? Food from every corner of the globe. Here’s seven personal favorite Hong Kong eateries for all your foodies: (1) Checkmate Pizza, “Home of the largest pizza in Hong Kong” Seriously, the only sizes are “L, XL and XXL.” Tucked on a minor city street by HK standards in Kennedy Town, Checkmate isn’t so much a restaurant as it is a counter with two bar-style tables and a large street-facing window to watch someone roll out dough. The display showcases eight to ten 30-inch pizzas with various toppings available to order by the slice, but if you call in ahead of time a whole pie might already be waiting for you. They always reheat your slice in a giant oven, and the pizza typically takes up more space than that which is available on a measly paper plate. It took me about three months to realize this, but all the pies are named after chess pieces — The Grandmaster, White Bishop, The Queen, etc. I personally find this to be the appropriate level of cheesy (no pun intended). I know what you’re thinking: who goes all the way to Hong Kong to order pizza? But when the cravings for something like...
Sunday Snapshot | Bathing Buddha | Hong Kong

Sunday Snapshot | Bathing Buddha | Hong Kong

A while back we celebrated Buddha’s birthday by going to see one of the largest Buddhas in the world.  While we did a lot of talking about that big Buddha, we never had the chance to picture the smaller one.   The washing of Buddha is a ceremony that signifies the cleansing of both outer and inner dirt. After kneeling upon the cushion, one should fill the ladle with water and pour it over the Buddha’s head three times, repeating sequentially: “May I eliminate all evil thought, May I cultivate good deeds, May I help save all living things” (as sourced from here).   Want to see your picture featured on our Sunday Snapshot segment? We’re now accepting guest submissions! Just send us an email at [email protected] with your photo and a brief description. We’d love to have...