To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect of Hong Kong. Would it be a city filled with cultural elements similar to mainland China? Would it be a place thrust into the future with vertical sprawl reminiscent of movies like Total Recall? Would it be a space that felt strangely like home with smells and tastes reminiscent of a childhood lived with parents who practice Acupuncture and Oriental medicine?
In many ways, it was all of these things. Perhaps this is what makes this city so very dynamic. It feels confident in its dualities – simultaneously honoring it’s cultural heritage and proudly looking forward.
Although the actual land area of Hong Kong is largely rural, the urban landscape of Hong Kong is stunning. The city centre itself is home to nearly 8000 skyscrapers that envelop the skyline in cement, steal, and glass.
From what I can tell, the tens of thousands of windows that make up this densely packed cityscape seem to have only one-of-two views: one that proudly faces the iconic harbor, or one that unapologetically peers into the living spaces of neighboring apartments.
As luck might have it, our small hotel room (within the Harbour Plaza Metropolis in Kowloon) had a partial view of the glimmering harbor – and an incredible view from the “club room” on the 20th floor.
We spent a good amount of time in the club room and in many ways it made the experience. While sitting on comfy couches – we practiced our presentation, enjoyed a daily breakfast, and relaxed during happy hour. My best travel advice coming away from this trip? Book a room with a club component whenever you can – you will not regret it.
The best view of the city came during a day-trip to Victoria Peak (the highest mountain on Hong Kong Island).
To reach the peak you can either climb an incredibly steep hill – or – like most of us tourists take the famous Peak Tram to the top of the mountain (396 meters above sea level).
Perched atop the mountain is the avant-garde Peak Tower, featuring 360 views of the city below.
Once we arrived, and before we reached the viewing terrace of the Peak Tower, we stumbled upon a wonderful little stall selling hand carved stamps. Of course, I had to buy one for Jordon who sadly couldn’t come on the trip because of school responsibilities.
Below you can see the young man carving the name “Emans” in Chinese into the bottom of the Boar stamp (the Chinese zodiac symbol for the year Jordon was born).
And finally – the killer view of Hong Kong from the highest point in the city.
We decided to walk down the mountain on foot, which provided us with a more personal glimpse of life in the nearby neighborhood. But, my legs paid the price of the steep slopes the next day!
Finally, for the designers in the crowd – the best part of Hong Kong in my opinion? The fact that everywhere you turn – you see type, type, type!
And who can forget the food? Certainly not me.
Yum, yum, yummy.
What’s up next? The reason for the trip: the DesignEd Asia Conference and the Business of Design Week 2013.