My addiction to Hong Kong: A confession

My name is Clemens and I’m addicted. Not to alcohol or something that makes me ill or eventually end up in the gutter. I’m addicted to Hong Kong.

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My addiction to Hong Kong

It’s no secret that I love to travel and that nothing stirs the butterflies in my stomach more than an upcoming trip to an unknown destination. I’m looking forward to places that I have never been to like to a new dish that I have never tried.

And yet there is a place that makes me excited every single time I go there. Because I will never tire of this intoxicating city. I’m addicted to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong streets

I’m addicted to the urban canyons that are so crowded with people that I feel like in a bunch of rampaging fire ants.

I’m addicted to the huge neon signs built of Cantonese characters, especially when the old light bulbs have a loose contact which results in an unrhythmical blinking and turns the whole street in a disco.

Hong Kong addiction Anekdotique Travel Blog

I’m addicted to Victoria Harbour and the stunning view from the shore of the Avenue of Stars in Kowloon across to the other side to Hong Kong Island.

Where on a clear day one has to be aware of not forgetting to breathe while your eyes lose themselves in the seemingly endless landscape of concrete and glass. Here probably everyone is a little child again.

Skyline of Hong Kong

I don’t get enough of the wild hustle and bustle on the street markets that confuse all my senses at once. Where the fish somehow smells even more fishy as elsewhere, where the market traders seem to scream louder than in other places and where in the evening the light of the old red lanterns looks even more fascinating than last time.

I’m addicted to the Dai Pai Dong, these traditional food stalls with the charm of plastic chairs on man hole covers that apply among connoisseurs as the real gourmet temple in town. Because it is here on the street where the a simple middle-aged man cooks in a wok for workers and businessmen alike. Delicious!

Hong Kong Dai pai dong

Where there is always a Dimsum between tiger prawns, Peking duck and crawl salad. Where everything is cooked with either chilli, ginger, coriander or fish sauce so that it seems to be hard to cook a similar dish quickly at home on your own.

I can not get enough of the Eau de Hong Kong, the thousands of odors that pass through the urban canyons like wild vagabonds and thereby mix with each other again to new abstruse odors.

Hong Kong architecture

I’m addicted to the Chungking Mansions, that weird conglomeration of payphone shops and dwellings, which has gained cult status in Hong Kong not least thanks to Wong Kar-Wai’s wonderfully trashy Hong Kong romance Chungking Express from the wild 90s.

Where you wonder for what the old, multi storey building actually was built for, Persian rugs, Chinese smartphone copies or for the finest Afghan opium.

Hong Kong Star Ferry

I’m addicted to the morbid industrial charm of the Star Ferry, that day after day carries Hong Kong people from Kowloon on the mainland all the way to Hong Kong Island and back since 1898. The one-and-only ferry, which for many people is still a better option to the often overcrowded MTR, the huge network of metro lines in the Chinese special administrative region.

I even find pleasure in the penetrating smell of engine oil, which while driving mixes with the salty and fishy wind and that you can feel in your hair even hours later.

And to be honest, I can get excited for every single meter that the Star Ferry makes its way through the waves and for every second, in which the surreal glass and concrete façades in front of me are getting bigger and bigger.

Hong Kong Victoria Peak

Seriously, who can get enough of the view from the highest point on the island, from Victoria Peak down to the strait across to Kowloon and the New Territories and to the largest amount of skyscrapers in the world.

I could spend hours there just looking down to where the skyscrapers of the rich and super rich are stacked like dominoes and thereby outdo one another with an even better view of the city.

And then there is still the highlight of each day: the blue hour, the special coloring of the sky between sunset and darkness. I am addicted to the moment when the lights of the city are turned on one after another, when the blue sky begins to sparkle and the skyscraper icons begin to shine in the most cheerful colors like the rides at the carnival.

Hong Kong Skyline at night

I could go on forever taking the Central Escalator. It is the longest escalator in the World, an elaborate system of moving walkways that connects Central with the Mid-Levels and thereby transports thousands of workers from their homes to the office and back every day. For hours I could just spend my time standing on the Escalator and watch the world around me.

Escalator in Hong Kong

I even like the chaos of Hong Kong. While others might feel unwell in big Asian Capitals like Hong Kong I see the mass as a challenge, I even find find inner peace in the mess.

What could be better than standing high on a bridge in Causeway Bay looking down to the huge, yellow crosswalk and counting down the seconds till the traffic lights switch and hundreds of passers-by start to move all at once?

Hong Kong citizens

How gladly do I escape from the midday heat in one of the Buddhist temples such as the Man Mo Temple in Central, where suddenly everyone is the same. Where young and old, rich and poor practice their religion side by side and shortly afterwards dive back into the metropolis.

Hong Kong Man Mo Temple

I am addicted to the green oasis of Hong Kong, such as the Hollywood Road Park – places of rest, into which one emerges as under a bell of bulletproof glass far away from the bustle of the big city. And every second or third day, I could escape from the haze of Hong Kong Central to Aberdeen, Stanley or Lantau Island, where you end up in just 30 minutes in a completely different world.

Hong Kong Park

To be honest, I’m also addicted to all the wild nights in the bar districts of Wanchai and Lang Kwai Fong, where one celebrates life, as there would be no tomorrow, and if so with a huge hangover.

Nevertheless, the next day I will be once again happy to hear the metallic clatter and rattling of the double-decker trams that for over a hundred years make their way through Hong Kong Island and still resist the modern world. Pure steel melancholy.

Hong Kong Tram

I’m addicted to a city that is different every single day, that presents itself in a new look at every visit just like an artist that mixes the old with the new.

Yes, Hong Kong, I am addicted to you. An addiction without any regret. On the contrary, I will continue to scream it out to the world and I will continue to feed my addiction as long and as often as I can. I don’t need no rehab. The rehab is you.

Hong Kong HelicpoterHong Kong Helicpoter

Planning a trip? Check out my favorite Hong Kong travel guides:

I have used the Lonely Planet Hong Kong for 6 trips to HK in over 13 years and I have to say: it’s still the best! Especially for backpackers it has some really useful advice like up-to-date-hotels, bus routes, cheap eats and so on. A good alternative is Fodor’s Hong Kong.

Where to stay in Hong Kong:

The city offers great options as well. Where to stay in Hong Kong? Here is our guide from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island, from budget to bling. Here is our guide from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island, from budget to bling: Where to stay in Hong Kong – Budget to Boutique

 

Fancy a helicopter ride in Hong Kong?

A fantastic way to see Hong Kong is by helicopter. Join an amazing ride on one of the tours by Heliservices and discover the area from above the top of the skyscrapers. We took off from the Peninsula Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui then flew north along Victoria Harbour. A great experience that I can totally recommend to anyone. Just have a look at the pics!!

More Articles on Hong Kong Travel:

Unordinary things to do in Hong Kong

Where to stay in Hong Kong – Budget to Boutique

• Tai O Village in Hong Kong: Fallen out of time

• Hong Kong from above: a tram ride through the city of WOW’s

Anekdotique was a guest of the Hong Kong Tourism Board. Thank you! All opinions, exaggerations and bad jokes are my own.

This post is also available in Deutsch.

  1. mpzg says:

    agreed, HK is pretty damn great!

    Reply
  2. Debbie says:

    Hi Clemens, Great gallery of HK. I completely agree with you that HK is awesome – I’m addicted to it myself! You’re right that every nook of HK can seem like a different place. I’ll be visiting again this summer for the fourth time. My favourite moments are walking along the water in Stanley and grabbing a drink in Soho and Central 🙂

    Reply
  3. Brooke says:

    With all the great smells of delicious food (I couldn’t say, “No,” to ginger, and the vibrant life of Hong Kong, I can see why you are addicted! I didn’t know about all the great views of Hong Kong and can’t wait to see it!

    Reply
  4. Yvonne says:

    Oh, I don’t see it! I really don’t.
    I loved my trip to China and Beijing certainly has my heart!It was a wonderful place to be at. I enjoyed the distances and the history. Not to mention walking through the Forbidden City and climbing the Great Wall. It feels like I ticked off things of my bucket list, that I never had.
    And then I travelled to Hong Kong. I enjoyed being able to walk from A to B quickly. Eating out in Aberdeen. Getting up to the peak and enjoying the view. Not with the tourists of couse but by walking into a residential area. The parks were great and the malls too.

    But I have to admit, the humidity totally took the fun out of Hong Kong for me. Nonetheless, I will return to Hong KOng. I so want to buy a piece of art from the many many galleries.
    Yvonne

    Reply
  5. Vera says:

    Hi Clemes,
    I totally agree! Hongkong is one of my favorite places in the word. I’ve been there five times so far and the best moment was at 5:30am when I saw the sunrise on my way home from a bar. I miss the Hongkong lifestyle and am always craving the delicious Dim Sum.

    Reply
  6. Ian says:

    You just took the words right out of my heart. I make it to a point that i get to visit Hong Kong every year because every single time I visit, it has something new to offer. I love the way people live the fast life, the bright lights, the bamboo sticks in the city construction, the MTR rush hour, the loud voices everywhere – ah, i will never get tired of Hong Kong. I will always have a space in my heart for this city. Thank you for this post. I am happy that I am not the only one in the world.

    Reply
  7. enrique says:

    Hi Clemens, Great gallery of hongkong. I completely agree with you that HongKong is awesome…..keep me updating
    thank you

    Reply
  8. swathisingh says:

    I totally agree! Hongkong is one of my favourite place in the world

    Reply
  9. J-Crew says:

    Hong Kong is everything you say and more. I love your piece. It really made me miss Hong Kong so much especially being in Vietnam. Thank you for this.

    Reply

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