This fascinating financial and economic magnet in Asia was once a small barely habitable peninsula off China.
The two opium wars ended with China being forced to reluctantly agree treaties with foreign powers. Britains lease for 99 years in order to bury its dead, and provide protection on Lantau island was considered ‘as good as forever’ by the British representative at the time.
Over a period of almost 200 years this province has grown to become one of the most densely populated areas of the world.
From Sky Terrace reached by the fenicular called the peak tram, you can see over all of Hong Kong and the bay.
At one end of Kowloon stands an area teeming with the highest priced hotels, restaurants and shops you can imagine. The rich and famous, designer brands are all here.
Whilst poverty here may be out of sight, it is hard to imagine that it does not exist.
Whilst in Cambodia a dollar tip is like winning the lottery for one individual, here our driver ‘Eddie Chan’ from the airport advises us that a dollar tip ‘would not even buy a newspaper!’ .. and he’s right!
This really is a massive place, buzzing from top to bottom. Just stopping at any street café allows you to people watch.
There is such diversity in the food outlets too from the ‘Western style’, to the street food ‘cows intestines, stomach turning items’.
Traders in the markets like in most of Asia start high.. this culture of negotiating is interesting as they know that desirability plays a large part in the purchase price we will pay.
You definitely feel safe in this city where there never appears to be threats of isolation or intimidation, but I couldn’t say it’s not there.
The British legal system, free port status and low taxes are still here, but China is now in control. Children predominantly would speak and learn just Cantonese and English, but the Chinese government have already insisted mandarin is added to the curriculum.
We visited all the essential tourist spots in Hong Kong and walked until we were exhausted… this is a fascinating city, but definitely a place you can’t fully appreciate in a day.
One place I would encourage you to visit on your travels would be the ‘Hong Kong Museum of History’… to know it’s history is to know Hong Kong.