I couldnt really get enough time to sit and write a lengthy post on HK till now. The visit has been completely hectic whether its the meetings with the client or roaming the bustling Hong Kong streets. Finally I am coming back to India today. Fortunately I came a little early to the airport (well a lot earlier) so taking the time out to write this post.
The most beautiful part about HK is that it is made for the tourists, whether you are here to do business or just visit. To start with you dont have to apply for a visa before coming here. You get 14 days business visa if you have an invitation letter. I guess its the same for visitors as well.
The transportation modes are just as good. Be it a ferry from Central to Kowloon or the MTR from Casueway bay to Admiralty or minibus from Whampoa to Tsim Sha Tsui or Airport express from Tsing Yi to Airport, they are all made for YOU. Upon landing right at the airport you can purchase an octopus card, which is a multi purpose smart card. Then whenever you board a public transportation system you just need to tap the card to make the payment. The card works in most of the stores and restaurants as well. If you are out of balance, just walk to an add value machine and feed the HK dollors to it and you are done. Its really that simple.
The place is expensive though, especially if you are planning to stay in a hotel get ready to pay at least 60$ a day for a double-bathroom sized room. Food ain’t great either, of course I have limited myself to chicken and vegetarian stuff alone. I have tried Chinese food on my first day, roasted chicken wings with rice noodles, the noodles tasted like egg white mixed with salt water. Dont even bother to ask about the chicken, well lets just say that may be that is how chicken will taste when you eat with chop sticks.
Apart from causeway bay and tsim sha tsui areas, I didnt really get to see much of HK. But these are the 2 main areas where tourists flock. Around these places there are just too many currency exchange shops, probably 1 for every 10 normal shops. That alone shows how keep HK is about tourism. Always negotiate the exchange rate, never take the value mentioned in the board, a little trick I have learned during my stay here. Talking about exchange, HK has pegged its dollar at 7.8(approx) wrt to USD. But in the market the exchange rate can vary from 7.05 to 7.75 depending on where you change.
I have realized that clothes are cheaper here, mainly due to extremely fashion conscious people living here. You just have to take MTR for a couple of times to see all possible kinds of dresses / hair styles / nail colors / bags / watches / jewelry. But other fashion accessories like watches, footwear, leather goods aren’t so cheap. I could buy a 19″ wide LCD monitor for the price of a branded watch.
The best thing for me is that, there is are tons of free wi-fi hot spots all over HK. Everyday I would come home and connect the laptop to one of the free networks and call my folks back home. It was so simple and fun.
Overll my trip to HK proved to fun and fulfilling. I have finished the task for which I am here and did get a chance to roam around a little bit. But I would love to be back here for a longer and relaxed visit, the reason why I am not returning my octopus card at the airport.