Country in a City or City in a Country
Pace of an economic hub, energy of a party town, feel of an island; you are promised to get all of this in this densely populated landmass. Although Hong Kong does not top many travelers’ destination list, it is certainly a favorite transit point for many globetrotters. No traveler should miss its warm hospitality, thriving culture and scenic geography- all can be experienced in a very short span of time. But the first thing first. What is Hong Kong? Is it a country that moves like a city or it is a city that functions like a country.
Let’s try to find out. Hong Kong is one of those countries that have managed to treasure its traditions yet thrive on modernity. I was amazed to see how its Chinese heritage and colonial footprints have intertwined to give it a dynamic yet rooted identity. Trams are running on the streets where dumplings are sold on the side. Ancient temples and modern electronic shops are not very far away from one another. Italian pizza and traditional noodle soup are sold in the same small restaurant. Hong Kong has developed itself into a modern mega city, but it is a still a country with too many cultural links.
Hong Kong’s gravity defying Peak Tram, a 125 year old cable-hauled funicular railway, was a cool way to get to Victoria Peak. It felt like as if the earth has titled at 45 degree angle while the tram is moving perfectly horizontal. Honk Kong’s glass forest of skyscrapers lit in various colors and intensities was standing tall proudly. I was introduced by my friend to the Hong Kong’s famous dumplings at the Sky Terrace 428.
When in Hong Kong’s public transport, one of the world’s smoothest transport systems, I felt like I was in a highly efficient city. When I walked beyond the city limits, I was exploring a country rich in culture and natural beauty. I totally underestimated the steep streets here. Walking was a bit of a stretch, but locals do it in style. I joined the locals to take a tour of Temple Street Night Market, one of the liveliest markets in Hong Kong. The market is a sensory feast for every passer by. Once can see a fusion of old and new in this market as well. Antique objects, handicrafts and contemporary gadgets are available on the same streets.
Morning hikes, especially in the outskirts, were peaceful and interesting way to see a slow-down version of Hong Kong. Peace around the Big Buddha or Tian Tan Buddha was ever present whether it was noon or night.
This is what I realized in three days I spent In Hong Kong. It does not matter if it a country or just a city, it has its glory, its character and its charm. Forget if you are in a metropolis or on an island, just dance on its beats.