Robin and I arrived in Hong Kong in the late afternoon, checked into our hostel in Kowloon, and explored the area a bit. We then headed to the waterfront for the Symphony of Lights before bed.

The next day, I applied for my Russian visa then met up with Robin to explore Hong Kong proper. We went up the midlevel escalators, the largest in the world stretching up for blocks. Then we walked down and had Dim Sum (which is mandatory) at Maxim’s Palace in City Hall (which is excellent.) Next we took in a few free sights: a photography exhibition at City Hall, the viewing floor in the Bank of China building, the Planning and Infrastructure Museum (surprisingly interesting), and the aviary at Hong Kong Park.

We then took the Peak Tram up Victoria Peak. Views weren’t great because it was really foggy.. oh well. After that it was getting dark so we walked down again and headed back to Kowloon for food, a visit to a night market, and sleep.

The next morning, we bought train tickets out and then parted ways. Robin wanted to go to an amusement park in Guangzhou, and I wanted to do some hiking in Hong Kong. I picked up my visa on the way to Lantau Island and then a bus to the Lantau Buddha, a huge bronze statue on a mountaintop. Then I hiked around a couple of sections of the Lantau Trail, a 70km trail around the island, before hopping on a bus back to the subway (and then back to Kowloon.)

It was a short visit, but I liked Hong Kong. It was really nice to be visiting somewhere where English is still a primary language. It’s also a lot more civilized than the rest of China: things are more likely to work and washrooms are much more likely to be clean. Finally, it is possible to visit on a budget. Our main expenses were tickets in and out, and I’ve since learned that there’s a cheaper way to get in and out by taking the subway to the border and walking across into Shenzen. There are cheap (but crowded) hostels, there’s cheap food, and lots of the museums are free!

Photos from Hong Kong are here.

(Robin and I visited Hong Kong starting on May 11th. She left on the 13th and I left on the 14th.)