Hong Kong, China
Day 153: Country #15.2
When entering Hong Kong’s extensive subway system, you get an even greater sense for and appreciation of the city’s compactness. Escalators extend multiple levels below underground shopping malls.
Fortunately, the iconic octopus logo is pretty easy to spot from afar as long as you know the general direction to look. It was a little harder to find from within the Sogo mall, but I was soon on my way to Tsim Sha Tsui to catch a free walking tour at the clock tower.
The weather wasn’t great so I didn’t make it to the start, but it also slowed down the tour group and I was able to spot them at Victoria Harbour. From there, we passed through the Hong Kong Space Museum and Hong Kong Art Museum on our way to the 1881 Heritage, an old government center which also served for defense and typhoon warnings.
The tour ended back at Victoria Harbour where I got a shot of the city skyline, including one building with a slot machine spinning display that occasionally lands on all hearts. A junket style ship also sailed through.
After the tour, I decided to explore the rest of Tsim Sha Tsui district on Kowloon, so I headed north on the extremely packed Nathan Road to Kowloon park, then east to the Hong Kong History Museum to get Hong Kong’s unique perspective on the China-Taiwan/KMT-Communist/Sun Yet Sen-Mao Zedong/North-South China stories and histories. I spent so long in the history museum, that the Science Museum next door closed.
So I headed quickly to the Centenary Garden then to the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, a huge campus elevated almost entirely above ground level. This made it easy to walk around and enjoy the feel of campus life, unlike some other universities I had visited which were split into segments by busy roads and pedestrian traffic.
When I got to Hung Hom station, I decided to ride it as far north as possible to Sheung Shui because I remembered reading about how this city served as a contraband hub for safe baby formula and other western products into China. It turned out to be a pretty normal looking suburb, albeit filled with large high rise apartments.
I wandered around a little and ended up walking south to the next station, Fanling, then caught the metro back to Tsim Sha Shui, so I could catch the ferry across to Central station.
From Central station, I slowly walked all the way back to Causeway Bay station, passing through various points of interest such as One Exchange Square (Hong Kong’s Wall Street), The Cenotaph, the Observation Wheel, and various other fancy hotels, malls, parks and streets. I even walked through what looked like a movie shoot.
Be aware that the segment of a subway ride which crosses under water is usually much more expensive than the other segments. One way to save money is to take a ferry, which tends to be one of the cheapest ways to cross a river; sometimes even free.