I’m back in Manila, and was welcomed by my officemates in an extraordinary fashion – one of them hid under a pile of umbrellas, another under my desk, and the rest hid outside (in the stairwell maybe, but I was too busy screaming in surprise from the two who remained inside the office).
After my four-and-half-and-half days in Hong Kong, this is what I learned…
- The first thing you need to get is an Octopus card (HKD150, refundable). Except for taxis, you really can’t travel without it. You can even pay at McDonald’s with it.
- You will need very comfortable shoes. Everyone in HK wears sneakers for this purpose. Girls, if you’re the type to wear open-toed sandals or flip-flops because they’re “comfortable”, rethink – the amount of walking and standing may wear you down. (My Hush Puppies Mary Janes could barely stand it, actually.)
- Joon’s copy of the Lonely Planet Hong Kong travel book was invaluable. It had all the maps, and insider’s tips like, “It’s best to visit Temple St. after 7pm,” or “For tips, people will happily accept loose change,” or “Don’t stick chopsticks vertically into your rice.”
- Joon also gave me an invaluable tip, which was to memorize the MTR symbol (a red logo that resembles a man with hands and feet outstretched… well, not really). As long as you can find the logo on a sign somewhere, you can get home.
- Contrary to popular belief, Hong Kong isn’t completely English-speaking. Most people I ran into spoke little or broken English, just enough to get by, and sometimes they’d refer me to someone else in the shop who could speak it better. The road signs are in English, which is very helpful, but many Chinese restaurants don’t have English menus. If you’re not up to exploring, there are McDonald’s and Starbucks branches practically everywhere.
- Lastly, you must always have a jacket with you, because it gets chilly at night, and you will be up and about at night as majority of Hong Kong stays up until midnight or later (this I got from Lonely Planet, too). The one time I didn’t bring a jacket with me, I ended up buying one.
Lots more discoveries, but what’s the point of discovering if you read everything from someone else’s blog? I have two friends going to Hong Kong this week so I hope they discover much more stuff too 🙂