Secrets of Hong Kong
It's been almost two weeks since I left the Li Po Chun United World College for summer break and it feels really weird to be away from it. LPC became my home in the past months and although I am leaving LPC to go back home to Germany, I feel like I am leaving home behind. At the same time, I did not just say goodbye to my school for summer break, but also to my beloved second years. They're all now packing their bags to go to over a hundred different places in the world. And with them, they take our memories, inside jokes and friendships. It is an amazing thought that I now have friends all over the world, but on the other hand it is a heartbreaking thought because it means that a part of my heart travels with them and it is almost impossible that I will see them all ever again. Such a situation gives a final goodbye a different meaning. Because despite staying in touch through social media, it will never be the same as it used to be.
Despite having had to say goodbye to my second years Tuesday last week, I did not have to say goodbye to Hong Kong yet. My mom visited me and we explored Hong Kong together. After living in Hong Kong for over 9 months, I was able to show her some secret spots and insider tips. Here are my top ten things to do when in Hong Kong:
1. Hopewell Centre & Lee Tung Avenue
If you want to take photos of Hong Kong's impressive skyscrapers, go to the Hopewell Centre! The Hopewell Centre is one of Hong Kong's impressive skyscrapers and has a lift which offers you a fantastic view over Hong Kong's skyscrapers. And the best: You can take the lift for free! The Hopewell Centre is definitely worth visiting when being in Hong Kong and if you feel like shopping, you can visit the Lee Tung Avenue which is right across the Hopewell Centre. The street does not only have some cute stores (e.g. Pretty Ballerinas and Moleskine), but is also an excellent spot for pictures. The Avenue has Chinese lamps hanging over it and it looks just beautiful. I would recommend visiting the avenue in the late afternoon, then going up with the lift in the Hopewell Centre (the view from the lift is shown in the title picture of this article) and then returning to the avenue at night. The avenue is worth being seen at day and night. When it is dark, all the lamps give light to the avenue and it gives it a magical atmosphere that you should not miss.
2. Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
This monastery is hidden in Sha Tin (New Territories) and when you are going up to the monastery, you are walking past thousands of buddhas. Each of these buddhas was made by another artist in Shanghai and donated to the monastery. Although the monastery is not in use anymore, the monastery is kept clean and you can still visit all the halls of the monastery. The monastery is very impressive because you can see a lot of art and it gives you an understanding of life in a monastery. If you want to visit the monastery, go to the Sha Tin station and then use the exit towards the bus station. When being at the bus station, walk towards the HomeSquare shopping mall. When at the mall, you can see signs showing you the way to the monastery. However, be warned of fake monks who wait before the way to the monastery starts. They try to sell bracelets and necklaces to tourists, but they do not belong to the monastery - remember, the monastery is not in use anymore!
3. Coffee Academics
This is probably the most scientific coffee shop you are ever going to visit in your life. Coffee academics is mastering the art of making coffee by analysing their methods and making them as perfect as possible. They sell some of the most creative coffees and their food is super delicious. However, it is a little bit pricy for Hong Kong, but the prices are still perfectly fine and it is not too expensive. Personally, I love getting breakfast there and enjoy the atmosphere of the shop while waking up fully.
4. The Peak
If you want to look over Hong Kong, take the bus to the Peak and enjoy the view! The peak is one of the highest points of the city and gives you a look over the impressive buildings of Hong Kong Island. There used to be a free spot where you could go to enjoy the view, but it is currently closed so you can either go for the paid spot or you can line up for the wildfire pizzeria - when standing in the line, you can also enjoy the view!
5. Take the Tram
The trams are the small, old trains which still drive through Hong Kong Island. These lovely reminders of history are not just cute to watch, but they are also super cheap (less than 3 Hong Kong Dollars per person) and give you a sightseeing opportunity. You can literally just hop on a tram, sit down and enjoy the ride. You get to see a lot of Hong Kong and you are sitting in a quite old tram while exploring this modern city. I would highly recommend taking a tram at night time because then you drive through the streets when all the lights are on and it is fascinating to see that.
6. Get some sweets
Who doesn't love eating sweets? Hong Kong is home to one of the most adorable sweet shops: Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe! The sweet shop reminds its visitors of the magical shop of the Wesley twins in Harry Potter and makes you want to try the craziest sweets. It is also a great place for buying gifts because they sell very special chocolates (e..g chocolate with marshmallows) which are a cool gift to bring for friends.
Hong Kong has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and they are definitely worth visiting. You can go to Shek O Beach which is on Hong Kong Island or you can take a boat to one of the little islands surrounding Hong Kong and enjoy the island's beach. Hong Kong's beaches are very clean and you can enjoy some calmness at the beach before returning the busy city which never sleeps.
8. Look up!
Hong Kong's tall buildings are worth appreciating. When walking through Hong Kong, do not forget to look up every once in a while and appreciate that this city exists underground, on the ground and up in the air. It is particularly interesting to look at these buildings at nights because then you can see their lights and they seem so different than during the daytime. The house in the pictures is Oceanic Mansion in Quarry Bay and you can just go there at any time and enjoy the view.
9. Crazy Popcorn
Ok, this is not truly a local thing, but it is still amazing. If you want to try popcorn with caramel, cheese or raspberry, this shop is for you! KuKuRaZa Popcorn is definitely special and when you are at the Hopewell Centre, you can visit their store (about two minutes away from the centre). Personally, I love their caramel popcorn!
10. Ride the Star Ferry
If you want to enjoy the harbour view from the water, go to Central or Tsim Sha Tsui and hop on the Star Ferry (less than 3 Hong Kong Dollars per person)! The Star Ferry is truly a part of Hong Kong and definitely a must for every visitor of the city! It gives you a nice view of the harbour and brings you from Central to Tsim Sha Tsui quite quick.
I hope that this list is helpful for you guys and wish you all the best!
Lots of Love,