為何我愛香港 – why I love Hong Kong

You probably noticed that I write about Hong Kong more often than about Poland. It’s not that I’m not
93247f50-6916-4e92-b285-8f74ba44720a-1proud of my motherland, or that I don’t like Poland. I was never ashamed of the fact that I’m Polish. I was brought up in a lovely city, around lovely people. But I never felt any special connection. Even being away never really made me homesick.

I missed my family and friends, I missed some of the places but never to the point I would feel sad. It all changed when I first went to Hong Kong.

Before my first trip there I was like ‘OK, that place looks pretty cool, let’s see how it really is’. I was excited to see the place that molded my husband, see the places he was talking about, try the food he was craving for all the time.

I wasn’t prepared for falling in love with Hong Kong. It was supposed to be just another travel destination, place I’m going to visit now and then because of my partner’s roots. God, it sounds like I’m talking about ‘friends with benefits’ rather than a place. 

I have visited many places in the world, I’ve been to multiple countries around Europe, cities in the US, I’ve been to Thailand, Singapore, Mainland China, Macau and yet, no other place made me feel the same way as Hong Kong.image
My heart is beating so fast whenever we’re about to go back. I pack nearly month before and I keep track of the days left till the departure. Meeting my loved one once again. Now that’s really awkward long distance relationship. 

It’s really silly, and I feel quite embarrassed to admit this, but I even cried going through the pictures and videos we took. I know we will eventually go back, but I also know it won’t be today, tomorrow or even 2 years from now. 

I once heard that you can leave Hong Kong, but it will never leave you and I think that’s 100% true. Even being in Ireland I can still recall the specific hot and humid smell in the air, I know which bus to take from the airport to get to our Tuen Mun flat. I know my way through small streets (not necessarily finding my way out of them). I remember the taste of shiu mai bought downstairs for breakfast.

There are so many reasons to love this place so making a list would be just a matter of time!

  1. Mix of skyscrapers and beautiful countryside. You’re in the heart of Hong Kong, yet you can take a ferry and enjoy your time on a small beach or you can go trekking around Victoria Peak.  image-4
  2. Weather. It’s mostly hot and humid, which is the weather I love for a very simple reason: I do not gain weight, yet I do not sweat like a pig at the same time. Sing is miserable if we’re there during hot days but I love that warm feeling on my skin. And thank God there are aircons everywhere, if needed.
  3. Convenience. Everything is so close and opened till late. You will never appreciate this until you go to places like Ireland where everything closes around 6 PM, 10 PM max and that’s only for restaurants. Good luck doing your grocery shopping after work.
  4. Safety. Aside of the political instability and worries about the future, speaking only about crime-related safety I have to say I never felt so secure as walking on streets of Hong Kong. Sing is the chicken, he will always scare me with the stories about gangsters, but so far I haven’t even been pick-pocked. I walk like I own that place. If I got lost and just wander around there was a random person coming to help me.
  5. Octopus card. I haven’t been to any other place (correct me if I’m wrong) when you can use one card not only as a transportation ticket for bus, tram, subway and ferries, but also you can pay with it at convenience stores, fast food restaurants and… pay for your American visa (at 7/11 with your lovely Octopus card).
  6. Free tissues with topping up your Octopus. If you suffer from allergy like me, you would appreciate this little gesture from Circle K.
  7. Variety of activities available. I’m not suitable to live in Ireland, it looks like most of our colleagues spend their free time at the local pub or painting their house. In Hong Kong for 1000 HKD image-5I can get an annual pass to Disneyland, Sing gets a free entrance to OceanPark. I can go to the beach, I can hike, I can go to a themed cute restaurant. There’s always some cool exhibition taking place. It’s really hard to be bored there.
  8. Water transportation. Sometimes I will take Star Ferry just for fun. Jet Foils, Tri Cats, Sampans, Junks and so many more.
  9. Street vendors. Food, goods, services. Great value.
  10. Cuteness everywhere. I know Japan leads in the cuteness race, but Hong Kong is not falling behind. Everything can be made in a cute way, even a McDonald’s meal. Someone who is a sucker for anything ‘kawaii’ can be pleased while being in Hong Kong.
  11. Themed cafes. I think there’s nothing more Hong Kong than a themed cafe. Always cute, funny, popular. Last year we went to Gudetama Dim Sum, this time we’re going to try Old Master Q diner. They change every now and then to keep with the trends so there’s always something new to see and try.
  12. Food. Do I REALLY need to say anything?
  13. People. Especially older people. Always so kind to me, I still remember a tiny image-3old lady in Causeway Bay handing out fliers. I tried to speak Cantonese to her and I know I did terrible, yet she smiled to me with the most lovely, warm smile I’ve seen.
  14. Range of drinks. Call me stupid for mentioning it, but in Ireland the only choice I have is a soft drink, tea or coffee. I know water is the healthiest, but if I prefer to have some cold jasmine tea rather than just a can of pure sugar.
  15. Festival and temples. I love the rich culture of Hong Kong, influenced by British and Chinese. I love the whole atmosphere, people gathering around. I love dragon dance and dragon boats. I love moon cakes and lanterns.

I could be going on and on, really. You wouldn’t want to read that.
image-6I know you may think I’m crazy, but I think everyone has a place outside their country of birth they can call home.
It’s a work hard, play hard environment I love. I cannot wait when I finally will go after work to pick up some barbecue meat near San Hui market and greet Sing with a good dinner, talk about a weekend trip to Lantau island. Complain how many people are on the streets and prepare for discounted deli items like a pack of fried crabs for 10 HKD. Very simple wish.

I’m curious what city means to you the same thing as Hong Kong means to me? How do you handle this? Any advice you could give to someone in our situation? Let us know in the comments!

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37 thoughts on “為何我愛香港 – why I love Hong Kong

  1. I’m right there with you and love it for all the reasons you write, too! I’ve never had better skin than when I’m there, haha. I always felt like Hong Kong was the real China because it celebrates all the traditional holidays whereas when I went to China during Mid-Autumn Festival back in the day, it was difficult to find mooncakes and no one lit lanterns. I know things have changed in China now, but I like to think that they ‘re trying to emulate Hong Kong!

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  2. Awwwww. I really, really hope that one day you can go back to live in Hong Kong. You seem to love that place so much and I am sorry you can’t go back soon :/ I too love it that the shops in Asia open until late at night – so true how can you grocery shop outside of work if the shops close early.

    I don’t think I have found a city that means as much to you like Hong Kong. I’ve lived in Melbourne, Australia for a while and I like it but sometimes I do want to run away to another place 😀

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  3. It’s hilarious that the friend with benefits that you fell in love with is a city.

    I’m the opposite of you — my favorite place has cold winters, minimal people, and everything closes by 8 PM. It’s also very quiet and isn’t known for a variety of foods. But since I have Andy to cook for me, I don’t care about restaurants.

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  4. I think we share the same feelings about Hong Kong. I’ve been there only once in my life yet I find this city purely amazing and fascinating. Haven’t visited all of the places I wanted to because of the lack of time, but I’m planning to come back soon. I went to Beijing before HK and it’s crazy for me how different those cities are. I consider HK to be better because of many reasons but the main one is that people there know how to speak English! Actually it’s hard for me to say what I don’t like in HK…there is everything you need to be happy: crowded cit center, small villages, mountains, sea, forsets and beaches. Im in love with all of it!

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  5. I believe it is a city I would also fall in love with. So far the few Chinese cities I have visited are just ‘meh’ except of Shanghai which was already a positive experience. But HK is something else for me (could be also because all the HK movies I used to watch back in the days 😉 )
    One day, one day!!I will manage it there. So far I could not persuade my wife to go there for a few days ;(

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  6. “You can leave Hong Kong, but it won’t leave you”, that was the exact statement I heard too. Seeing my friends come and go, they always come back for a visit. It certainly shapes a person

    To me Hong Kong has a lot of countryside to offer. I love the coast lines, the hills, the waterfalls and all those secret places that not many people know about for weekend getaways (aka stuff that I don’t blog about). Of course like any places there are their down sides like being too crowded and busy. These are something that put me off.

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  7. It sounds amazing there! I feel the same about my motherland the UK. I don’t get homesick being away and never felt a connection there. Growing up I never had a life plan, but I knew I wasn’t going to stay in the UK. How you feel about Hong Kong is how I feel about Barcelona. Luckily for now I get to live there/here!

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  8. I love Hong Kong too! I wouldn’t mind living there for a while but for that C. would need to find a very well paid job there xD (and I say C. because he could have the chance because of his type of job. No one would give me, a translator, such a high salary as to live comfortably in HK!). The only thing that I don’t like about HK is that all the apartments seem to be super small! I guess that’s fair considering the huge number of places to see and activities to do outside 😛

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  9. Happy Mid-Autumn Festival with Sing, Lina, with the mooncakes!

    No matter where you are, we are all admiring the same beautiful moon. Thank god the typhoon was very considerate and left us so soon.

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  10. It’s good for you to live and work in different countries. I wish I could do that. Being born and raised in HK but live abroad currently, I would consider HK as my second home. It’s a different feelings when I go back there. A lot of familiar places and locations bring me a lot of old memories. Yes, this is a small city. You have to zoom in really close in Google Map to see the details. This place has many big things. Huge international airport. Huge underground subway system. A lot of public transportation. The city is small but there’re so many unique things to browse and look at. There’re so many creative and well design marketing materials that can be found in the city. Yes, the city is full of energy. This also energizes yourself when you’re walking on the street. The peak was my favour spot. Now I like to look up old residential buildings and look at the streets.

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  11. i feel similarly when it comes to japan. been there 4 times now and i still can’t get enough of it. the drawback is… the language. AND the fact that i have to apply for a visa prior to the travel. otherwise, i would visit the country more often. and even live there. but i do agree that HK is a nice place to visit. i always enjoyed my time there. the food, the atmosphere, the public transportations, and the fact that it somehow gives me a feeling that it brings me closer to my chinese roots.

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  12. I feel the same about HK. I initially came to work for only a month long project and now it’s been over 4 years and I’m still here 😉 I originally moved from the US to Trinidad (and loved it) back to NYC and then to Melbourne for 6 years before HK. I never clicked completely with Australia although I became an Aussie and appreciate all the good things it has going for it and gave to me. For some weird reason though I just instantly felt comfortable here in HK. Like you said it has most everything you need from city to nature. I live on an island with no cars, private beaches and banana trees (and snakes!) in my yard, yet can easily access the hustle of Central in 22 minutes. Transportation is so good and easy and cheap, going away for long weekends around Asia or even to a remote island for a day is easily doable. Safety yes, definitely a big plus. I could pass out on the sidewalk (not that I do that a lot 😉 ) with my wallet in my hand and likely someone would wake me up, hand me my wallet back and put me in a cab. My home in my heart will probably always be Brooklyn, NYC. But HK is definitely up there too 🙂

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  13. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so strongly about a place as you. I have fallen in love with some cities, but I would describe them more like the equivalent of “really good friends” then the “true love” connection you seem to have with Hong Kong. A city called Luang Prabang in Laos, for instance, has really stuck with me. I have a feeling that, no matter how long it takes for you to see Hong Kong again, the will be waiting with open arms to welcome you back into it’s charm, culture, and buzz. For now, there are many blogs that, I’m sure, can bring you back to your favourite place for a few moments a day.

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  14. I visited Hong Kong with my husband a few years ago. My husband visited Hong Kong in January 1997..before China got back Hong Kong. I asked if it has gotten better or worse…he said worse. 😦 Regardless, I liked the infrastructure, the food and the people…but my heart is in Taiwan. 😀

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