First impressions of HK

symphony of lights

After a week out in Hong Kong with my family, I have just moved into my student flat. So I thought, I’d note down a few of my first impressions – things that have really stood out for me about Hong Kong during my first week:

1. Skyscrapers reflecting skyscrapers…

Hong Kong is the first place I’ve been to where usually naff and cliché phrases such as urban jungle seem truly appropriate. Visions of termite mounds on a gigantic scale spring to mind. It’s mix matched jigsaw of old and new, where you can step straight from polished and spotless walkways onto bustling pavements filled with market stalls. Here you are engulfed in the smells of street food cooking and incense rising from the miniature shrines that sit in alcoves, positioned outside each store. In Hong Kong you are very small.

2. Technology is everywhere…

There are few places in London that are free from technology, but even so I was taken by surprise when I heard a mobile phone ringing beside me, whilst travelling underground on the MTR. Not talking to your fellow passengers on the tube was second nature to a Londoner such as myself once I had adjusted to the substitute of everyone being plugged into their huge tablet-like phones instead of burying themselves in reading the metro.

3. Hong Kong doesn’t sleep…

Shops stay open late. In Hong Kong they are still shopping when we would be heading for a night out. I’ll soon find out when I night out ends but as far as I have seen the city just doesn’t switch off. The city is always so bright; from the symphony of lights that sees the waterfront buildings light up daily to music to the gigantic advertising boards that stay lit through the night.

4. I have never before seen so many places to shop…

I must try very hard to not let this decimate my student loan.

4. English will only get you so far…

It will get you a lot of the way. You will always be able to find someone who speaks English and places to eat with menus in English. However these places are expensive and on a student budget that will be a problem. Besides, I get the distinct feeling that picking up even a few phrases in Cantonese will help me get to know the place so much better.

FINALLY: I have seen a worrying lack of any information regarding nights out during freshers week at HKU. Maybe this shouldn’t be that surprising as the busiest bars always seem to be full of Europeans, Americans and Ex-pats. Either way us internationals are sure to find a good night out in central!


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