Travel: Hong Kong

Whether it is an unfortunate or fortunate timing, I was in Hong Kong during their Art Week. They held a lot of art exhibition such as Art Basel, Asia Contemporary Show, galleries openings and Kaws exhibition. It was crowded, busy, windy and raining. That’s Hong Kong. Hong Kong stopped through time for a sec. You could see beautiful old buildings still stood tall with a lot of neon signs all over the streets and then you could see the city is evolving with the technologies and modern building. It is truly the New York of Asia. The hustle and bustle that you could hear even in the morning. The city truly never sleeps. It is the first time ever and the longest time that I have ever visited Hong Kong. Fun fact: When I was little, I would visit Hong Kong almost annually that I could (until now) remember the MTR routes, places that you can shops and tourist attractions. I was young and didn’t have the knowledge to try foods and places. So, this time around it is very different.

Quick review on what I’ve visited in Hong Kong:

Foods
1. Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour — Landmark, Central

Bar area

Located at B1 level and in front of Louis Vuitton store, you would be amazed that behind the white door, there is an out-of-ordinary speakeasy bar with a different concept. I was there alone (don’t ask) and was having a difficult time to open the door and I was really surprised to see the interior of the bar. It was quite dark and their theme would be something like if you are having a gin in a jungle theme room. The wallpaper are filled with big leaves and their interiors are mainly woods: wooden stools, wooden tables and chairs. I noticed that all of the servers are using doctor’s lab coat as I could tell that we are the patients. The bar are located at the back filled with racks of gins and alcohol. I thought the theme and interiors are very nice and the drink? Superb!

2. Yee Shun Milk Company — Yau Ma Tei

I was so excited to try traditional Hong Kong Cha Chan Teng cuisine but nobody wanted to accompany me. My parents went to Australian Dairy Company and they hated it so my cousin did bring us to Yee Shun Milk Company near my hotel. They only sell milk pudding dessert: original, ginger to ginger and coca cola flavors. It could be served cold or hot and I prefer the cold one. I did manage to order the original milk pudding and it was just…bleh. It tasted like fresh milk with sugar and nothing special. At the end of it, I wanted to vomit because it was just too creamy. For HKD 36, I would prefer to drink The Alley instead.

3. The Alley — Tsim Sha Tsui

My first and last bubble tea drink during this trip (I have to maintain my weight -.-) and I was very lucky that I didn’t have to queue to order my drink. Usually, the queue was so long and we have to wait for at least 15 minutes to get the drink. I had their limited Creme Brulee Milk Tea with Boba. The texture was creamy and the taste is not too sweet. I had a few sip from their famous Brown Sugar Milk Tea and it was better than the ones I had from Tiger Sugar in Singapore.

4. % Arabica Coffee — Star Ferry Terminal, Tsim Sha Tsui

It wouldn’t be completed if I won’t be drinking coffee in Hong Kong and I was curious enough to find % Arabica is everywhere in this city. I found one in Star Ferry terminal, Tsim Sha Tsui. Neatly located right after you walked onto the stairway and it wouldn’t be easily missed by the long queue of customer ordering their coffee. I mean, you can’t deny that their coffee is so good and their store is nearly resembles those that are located in Kyoto.

They are bringing Japanese aesthetic and coffee to Hong Kong and it was really nice to taste the smooth and subtle coffee in the middle of a windy day and step onto the famous Star Ferry to see the wonders of Hong Kong.

Places

  1. Central

You can call it the business and food district at the same time. Central offered a lot of places such as Landmark mall, the famous longest escalator in the world in the middle of the street to Mid-Levels part of the district and Lan Kwai Fong. I went there a few times to shop around Landmark areas and visited PMQ briefly to find a big exhibition for Kaws. I didn’t get a chance to go inside but managed to snipped a few pictures of the main statue at the main hall. Around the Mid-levels area, you can found neat, unique, small shops and bars with lots of foreigners. It was not like we are in Hong Kong but rather somewhere else.

Left: PMQ, Kaws exhibition, Right: Justin Bieber’s Drew pop-up store

2. Tsim Sha Tsui

Tsim Sha Tsui is in the Kowloon area and located at the tip of Kowloon so it is a must for anyone to visit the famous Harbour. I really recommend this harbour rather than the Hong Kong Island side cause you can able to see the real scenic view of Hong Kong Island in real time. You could really see the skyscraper and their daily light show at 8p.m. as they displayed it very lively. Unfortunately, I was there during Earth Day where they switched the lights for four hours. Coincidence, right? Other than that, I always walked along the Star Ferry terminal, Harbour City, Canton Road to Nathan Road to find a lot of traditional cuisines that Hong Kong has to offered. It can be dumplings, Gei Dan Cai, or even bubble tea drinks (you can find The Alley and Tiger Sugar here).

3. Causeway Bay

Times Square mall

It would not be complete if you won’t go to Causeway Bay for tourist. Times Square mall, Hysan Place, and Sogo malls are all the tourist destination for shopping. They said that Hong Kong has the cheapest price for anything in Asia but I beg the differ now. Everything has almost the same value as it is in Indonesia. For example: the same blouse in Uniqlo has the same price tag whether it is in Hong Kong or Indonesia so I would prefer to find any clothing store or electronics that are not available in Indonesia. But, my favorite place to walk in Causeway Bay is not those places that I have mentioned above but Fashion Walk. I believe that Fashion Walk is the newer extension to Causeway Bay. I remembered that three years ago I went there, it was already there. It is quiet and neat and reminded me of the blocks in New York City. It is not so crowded and very laidback compared to Times Square. You could find a lot of brands that you can’t think that exists in Hong Kong such as Off White, Fjallraven, Cos, United Tokyo, Aesop. I would suggest to try Elephant Grounds and Little Bao to fill up your stomach.

Tips and tricks:

  1. Use their MTR and bus systems: reliable and easy to use. Hong Konger can speak English so it won’t be that hard for tourist to ask for directions when you are lost. My favorite would be trying their trams in Hong Kong Island just for the experience or MTR interchange line in Admiralty from Red to Blue line. You could see how everybody is using their public transportations.
  2. Don’t eat too much in one place cause you might get really full and didn’t have the space to eat anywhere else. Try their dim sum places and goose if you like it! Their dim sum are to die for!
  3. Go to non-touristy places such as Wan Chai, Sheung Wan (a lot of coffee shops and cafes, one station after Central) and Sai Ying Pun to experience a lot of new, indie shops.