Hong Kong: Urban Density

Days 2 of 4 in HK.

#Butfirst,coffee: We found trendy, LA-style coffee shop, Deadend Cafe, with bread baked fresh next door at ‘Atelier Po’, a french style bakery. The area in which we are staying, Sheung Wan, is known in part for it’s large French population.

After breakfast, we weaved our way through the streets of SoHo and Central Hong Kong to ride the Victoria Peak tram to a breathtakingly smoggy view of the city (above). Eager to escape tourist crowds, we quickly re-boarded the tram back down to sea level to take the city on by foot.

It was nearly impossible to capture the awe inspiring vertical density of Hong Kong on camera. Tight alleyways and narrow streets act as city valleys, funneling hoards of citygoers and vehicle through the bustle of the city. Though, for the frenetic pace of the main city streets, seemingly plopped into every city block is a small space of tranquility - most surprising/pleasant are the jungle-esque green spaces of the city.

I.M Pei HK Sky Scraper
A women drags her reluctant child through a Central HK alley
Apartment buildings tower over the Central HK

Plopped down and out of place among the high rise buildings, the Happy Valley Racecourse is a favorite Wednesday night outing for a huge number of Hong Kong dwellers. With the coaxing of the shrewd bettor Stefan Pouliot, I wagered 20 HKD (~2.50USD) on “Go Win It” to, win it. Amazingly, my first and only horse racing bet won, yielding nearly $5 in spoils!

The famous Wednesday night horse races, packed to the gills, at Happy Valley Racecrouse

Probably the highlight of our HK explorations, the traditional dim sum/tea house Lin Heung offered a true HK experience. Old Chinese ladies pushed carts of fresh, steaming dim sum out of the kitchen and around the crowded tables of hungry breakfast goers. The tea house (“Yum Cha”) was packed mostly with elderly chinese, none of whom spoke english. We sheepishly pulled items from the carts, pointing and communicating in single word phrases — ‘pork?’, ‘chicken?’, ‘?’.

Lin Heung Dim Sum — Traditional Cantonese Dim Sum Tea House
Danielle tests her finger dexterity on an over-sized chicken bun dumpling

We also managed to find a solid hike at the far eastern side of Hong Kong island — Dragons Back trail.

The view from Dragons Back Vista near Wan Chai HK
The Dragon’s Back
Windy at the top

Tsim Sha Tsui, across the bay from Central, is home to the famous Night Market. This area is known for selling trinkets and knock-offs. Nathan road is a colorful street at night, lit-up with neon signs.

Colorful neon signs overhang Nathan Road in TST HK