I went to Hong Kong for a week at the beginning of May. There were a few random Korean holidays (Parent's Day, Teacher's Day and Picnic Day) that strung together to give me a chunk of time off! I have always wanted to go to Hong Kong and this was the perfect time to explore the city. I am also lucky enough to have two very close friends living in Hong Kong at the time and they were the perfect tour guides.
Hong Kong has technically been a special administrative region of China since 1997, when the British gave over their control of Hong Kong. Hong Kong lives under the principle "one country, two systems." They rule under a different political system than mainland China and they operate with free trade, low taxation and their own currency, the Hong Kong Dollar. Because of this Hong Kong is one of the largest financial centers in the world.
Hong Kong is on the south eastern coast of mainland China enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and the South China Sea. It has the population of 7 million, making it one of the most densely populated areas of the world. Hong Kong is made up of over 200 different islands. I was lucky enough to explore a couple of the different islands while I was there.
I spilt my time in Hong Kong between my friends Tina Carstens and Sara Greenberg. I was lucky to also have a couple of friends from Korea who were traveling in Hong Kong at the same time as me, so I got to meet up with them as well.
Tina is from Germany and was my family's aupair when I was just 10 years old. We have kept in great touch, and have seen each other in America and in Germany. She recently had a very cute baby, Emma! Emma, Tina and her boyfriend Sebastian recently moved to Hong Kong, in Discovery Bay (pic below)(which is on Lantau Island).
I spent a few days touring around the city with Emma and Tina and had some great dinners with the whole crew. It was amazing spending time with a family and sleeping in a real home. It was the first time in 8 months that I had seen anyone I knew in Asia. It made the trip very special.
My favorite thing I did with Tina and Emma was go to Victoria Peak! This is the best place to go to for views of Hong Kong's magnificent sky line. It is honestly breathtaking. Beautiful skyscrapers on both sides of a major harbor, with mountains in the back drop, you cant get better than that.
At the top there is a paved walking path that weaves around the entire peak. It is mostly shaded with tress and it is empty. Most people don't know it exists, which is a great thing. The path was an amazing way to get away from the crowds and take a 45 min stroll with 360 views of all of Hong Kong Island.
I also went to visit the Tian Tan Buddha with two of my friends from Korea one morning. The Tian Tan Buddha is located also on Lantau Island (same island that Tina lives on). You need to take a bus or the metro to Ngong Ping and then take a gondola up (clear bottomed) and over some mountains to reach the giant Buddha.
The Buddha itself is fairly new. Construction started in 1990 and finished in December 1993. This Buddha is supposed to symbolize the relationship between man, nature, people, and religion. It is considered to be the world's largest sitting Buddha. I would totally recommend going to see the Big Buddha if you are in Hong Kong. It was beautiful and it felt great to be in what felt like the Hong Kong wilderness.
Keep your eye out for Hong Kong Part 2. It should be coming soon :)!