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Welcome to Hong Kong (#1).

On Friday, February 14, I landed in Hong Kong International Airport. First time in Hong Kong.

I needed to go there to apply for an India entry visa, couldn’t do it in Taiwan for bureaucratic reasons. The original plan was to go for a one day visa run, but I thought that was boring and too tiring. Instead, I asked Vivian if she would spontaneously go with me for a weekend vacation, and she agreed.

Flight was at 7am. We landed at 8:50am. Personally I think the airport looks a bit boring, and very similar to San Francisco International Airport.

Instead of taking a taxi, I thought we would save money and experience “local” transportation by taking the train and subway (MTR). Nevermind, I forgot to keep the receipts and thus will not get reimbursed for it. But that’s beside the point.

On the train to the MTR.

We were able to get by on Mandarin and English. A lot of the Cantonese people understood us and replied in Cantonese, and we (mostly Vivian) guessed [correctly] what they meant. We got to our AirBnB location without issues.

Here’s a map of where we stayed. It’s right next to the Prince Edward Stop 太子站, in the heart of Mongkok. A very fabulous and lively local place, didn’t feel very tainted by foreigners (like us).

We ate lunch at a Michelin star restaurant called One Dim Sum.

The rest of this post will be dedicated to the large section highlighted in red on the map: Tsim Sha Tsui (TST)

I needed to get my visa processed right after lunch. We got that handled, then walked on the boardwalk that oversaw the main Hong Kong skyline.

We watched the sunset on the Avenue of Stars, which is a place with a lot of statues of famous actors. Thought that was corny, I was there for the skyline.

The view was one of the most wonderful man-made things I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen plenty of photos of the skyline in pictures, but NOTHING compares to the real thing. Coupled with the clean reflections from the water, it’s a human marvel. The buildings also look tiny from our view, but I can’t wait to talk about how tall the buildings are in the next post.

Afterward, we went to the “dangerous, ghetto, low end” part of the neighborhood. According to Mart, our AirBnB host, the locals refer to the area as such. We walked into a very shady looking place called Chung King Mansion and were immediately hailed by a dozen Indian/Pakistani/Other folks I don’t know who were trying to get us to take their brochures.

Following Mart’s advice, we immediately said “Khyber Pass” and they reacted very friendly by guiding us to the elevator deep inside the large building. We waited a few minutes, then entered the tiny elevator to the 7th floor. Looked super, super shady.

Once the doors opened, we exited, made a couple of lefts, and entered a small restaurant called Khyber Pass.

It was actually the best Indian food I’ve ever had. The place is very famous amongst foreigners.

We then slowly walked to what I thought was the Ozone Bar, the tallest bar in the world. We got lost and entered OnePeking Hotel instead. After we exited the skyscraper, we found ourselves in a gem called the 1881 Heritage.

The place reminded me of The Venetian in Vegas, but not crowded with loud obnoxious people.

This used to be a significant British building. Now it’s a hotel and shopping area.

I had been constantly asking pedestrians where the Ritz Carlton Hotel was, so we could take the elevator to the 110th floor to the Ozone Bar. Finally, I was told that I was in the completely wrong section of the district. Completely recalled incorrectly. So we settled on OnePeking’s Aqua Bar.

We got super lucky. Got the second to last empty table for two. Got to see the entire city skyline on the 29th floor. I had my sparking water, Andy don’t drink y’all know that.

Took the MTR back and called it a night afterward.

A long day of walking, lots of beautiful sights. Really, I want to describe more in text of what I saw, but am opting for the easy way out by sharing photographs. Photos do not do the city justice. It is one of the most organized busy cities I’ve ever seen, yet so beautiful.

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