Hong Kong had always been on my list of places to visit ever since I was a freshman in college. For some reason, our church at Northwestern had a good number of students from Hong Kong, and every single one of them love Hong Kong and speak passionately about it. It took me 7 years, but I was finally able to check it off my bucket list this past summer.
The first thing that pops out at you is their skyline. Hong Kong arguably has one of the most beautiful skylines in the world. When you have to fit over 7 million people onto a small plot of land, a lot of which is mountainous and undeveloped, the only way to build is up. And at night time, that’s when the city lights come to life. And there’s so many different locations where you can get a view of the city, whether you’re looking over the landscape from the Peak or rooftop bars like Aqua or Ozone, or looking from ground level, I just couldn’t get enough.
I was going to Hong Kong after having lived in New York for a year. So I know what it’s like to live on a small plot of land maxed out with people. But even then, it doesn’t quite prepare you for the density of Hong Kong.
Even though I don’t know a single word of Chinese, regardless of all it’s many variations, I didn’t find it that difficult to get around, as many people could speak English as well. The harder thing for me may have been getting a SIM card for my phone to last the ten days I was there…
Away from the lights, hustle, and bustle of Central and its surrounding areas, Hong Kong is a natural wonder. There are countless hiking trails among the mountainous terrain. It also rains a lot in the summer: the forecast predicted rain for all ten days of my trip but luckily the rain clouds decided to give us a break one Saturday, allowing us to drive out to Sai Kung and hike one of its trails to a recently-discovered pool for cliff diving. The rain from the past days brought the water levels to an all-time high, forming a waterfall that made it a little dangerous to cross over to the other side, where we would be jumping off the cliff. But deep water levels also meant it was safer for us to jump 20-25 feet into the pool, assuring that we wouldn’t hit the bottom.
If you were paying any attention to world news during the last three months of 2014, you may have heard about the Umbrella Revolution. Thousands of protestors filled the streets of Hong Kong, most noticeably around the government complexes in Admiralty, bringing the city to a halt. For weeks I would see pictures and hear stories from friends who would go. I told myself that if I ever got a chance to visit Hong Kong, this was one of the places I had to see for myself.
The most important part of the trip was seeing friends and their families, some of whom I hadn’t seen for several years. It’s such a blessing to be able to reconnect with people that we don’t see in our every day lives, and I’m so thankful for their hospitality and friendship as they showed me around their city. As we cross cultural borders and gain an understanding and appreciation of where people come from, it brings the world closer together and unifies us. And that’s what I love so much about traveling.