I recently went to visit Hong Kong, which is where my parents are from before immigrating to America. I hadn’t visited since I was eight years old so I was really excited to see the city that I met so briefly before. A part of me was hoping that going to Hong Kong would help me find more of my identity. If anything, it reaffirmed my experiences and who I am are exclusively Asian American.
Even though I live in a major city now, Hong Kong was the epitome of bustling city life. I’ve always been drawn to big buildings and neon signs. Even if I don’t necessarily enjoy being in crowds, I like the comfort of knowing that there are other beating hearts. Sometimes I feel like the world is moving quickly around me and I’m staying the same. Maybe that’s why I like city life, because I know that there is movement.
Hong Kong never sleeps, there’s always bright glowing movement, foot traffic, buses, cars, and trains. Restaurants, convenience stores, and drug stores were almost on every single block so the access of goods was so instant.
Here is a brief list of spots to visit in Hong Kong for the aesthetics!
Chinese night markets are literally the best. They are so lively and full of energy with endless stalls of pretty much anything you would want to buy. They are a lot cheaper than actual retail stores if you know how to haggle. Speaking the language can really help you here. You can pretty much find a gift for everyone on your list as well as some things for yourself! There are many night markets in Hong Kong, so I would suggest Ladie’s Market and Temple Street. Note: Be mindful taking photos here. Full body/outfit pictures in the center of the night markets, but I would discourage you from taking photos of the merchandise. Some goods can be counterfeit, which will worry store owners if they see you with a camera.
An iconic Instagram spot. This is a housing estate, which are apartment style housing complexes in Hong Kong. In a city of over 4 million people, almost everybody lives in an apartment. Owning a house is very rare and luxurious. Choi Hung is the oldest housing estate in Hong Kong which has been dressed in a magnificent coat of rainbow colors. (Choi Hung means rainbow in Chinese). If you’re reaching this by subway, a map should be at the entrance of the Choi Hung station. The famous basketball court is on top of the parking garage, which is actually very easy to find. I also wanted to emphasis to be mindful because people live here. Many of the cool, urban/industrial vibes instagram spots are in fact housing estates. Two more popular ones commonly photographed at are:
Since I have a lot of family in Hong Kong, I went inside a few different apartments. I definitely admire the famed urban symmetrical looks of these tall buildings as well and wonder how man could have made them all. However, some of these buildings are very not glamorous on the inside as much as we romanticize the outside. I want to be mindful of the people living in them. The circumstances are very different, but I imagine if I walked outside and found dozens of people taking photo ops outside of my house I would feel a little weird. I took a contrasting picture of an inside estate hallway to juxtapose the frilled exterior.
Victoria Peak is the place to see Hong Kong’s magnificent and expansive skyline. It’s truly an amazing sight for sore eyes and it’s almost unbelievable how tall and astonishing the city’s architecture is. You can actually check the view from a video available online prior to visiting. If the weather is clear you can see all of Hong Kong– but if it’s a foggy day it’s better to wait.
Stanley is a small coastal beach town in Hong Kong. Dazzling water, blue skies, and delicious food are all found in this quaint and possibly quieter part of the city. There is a shopping mall as well as a street market and many foreigner friendly eateries. Terrific for a getaway kind of day!
5. Ngong Ping (Tian Tan Buddha)
Ngong Ping is a spiritual destination in Lantau Island, Hong Kong. It is a buddhist village amidst the hills and is home of Po Lin Monastary and Tian Tan Buddha (also known as the giant Buddha). Going here is a complete day trip, as Ngong Ping is tucked away in the hills which are about 34 m tall. I took a sky tram to the village, which traveled over forestry and water. Light some incense and pray here.