Hong Kong Trip: Part 1 – The Scenery

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Part 1 — The Scenery   ||   Part 2 — The Food   ||   Part 3 — Weiqi

Introduction

After much waiting and anticipation, I’m happy to finally release my Hong Kong post series! I originally had plans to do a day by day retelling of my adventures in Hong Kong, but I realized that it would take way too long to write and not to mention I would probably bore you to tears.

In addition, since the trip wasn’t entirely centered on go, I wanted to capture as much of my trip as possible without taking too much time away from the main subject matter of this blog: go.  After all, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve worked hard to ensure that all my posts have always been related to go. So I hope you’ll forgive me for detracting from go these next couple of days to tell you about my trip. With that said, I hope you enjoy these posts!

Part 1 – The Scenery

The trip was a 13+ hour flight, so you can imagine our delight when we were finally off the plane and stepping foot into Hong Kong for the first time. After going through customs, getting our luggage, and a brief encounter of a taxi driver trying to hustle and get our family to take his taxi back to the city as opposed to the bus, we soon found ourselves on a bus driving down into the city.
After about thirty minutes, we were driving through the city and I was greeted by the following view of Hong Kong for the first time:

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Considering this is the first time my family and I have ever been to Hong Kong, it should be no surprise to you that we did a lot of exploring of the city. And even though I’ve been to my fair share of cities (i.e., Washington D.C., New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco), I have to say that Hong Kong was full of tall buildings.

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This building was so tall that I only managed to capture it using panoramic mode.
And while one expect a city to be full of buildings, I couldn’t help but notice that Hong Kong had a lot of unique building designs sprinkled throughout as you would walk from place to place.
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The building on the left captured my attention for this shot. Isn’t it neat?
One of the things that my brother wanted to do was visit The Peak (aka Victoria Peak – which is a tourist location because it’s the tallest point in Hong Kong where you can see the entire city). So one night we decided to head up on our own (which was a fun adventure since neither of us spoke Cantonese), and after getting lost and nearly leaving the location (we thought we were in the wrong place but we were really just in the wrong building), we finally found ourselves at the right spot.
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For anyone coming to visit Victoria Peak, this is the building you’re looking for when you have the taxi take you up there. It is NOT the shopping mall that you first find yourself at when the taxi drops you at. Haha.
My night photography skills need a lot of work, but here’s a semi-decent shot that I managed to get of the incredible view we had at the top.
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Imagine that in real life… Although I will say that when I was leaning over the edge to take the picture, I looked down and my stomach immediately knotted up as I thought about what it would be like to fall down or drop my camera… *shudders*
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Here’s a photo of my brother (on the left) and me (on the right).
Another memorable aspect about Hong Kong is the fact that construction is going on EVERYWHERE. I swear, I don’t think I can recall a single time where I wasn’t walking down a street and not seeing some kind of construction going on. And to make it an even more memorable fact, a lot of the construction was done using bamboo structures to provide support.
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Here’s a shot of the bamboo structures I was talking about. Though I’m aware of how strong bamboo can be, it was crazy seeing it being used as such a critical support structure for construction.
Another thing that I noticed about Hong Kong is that while it lives up to what you expect of a city in terms of things being open late, everything that we went to in the morning (like shopping malls and such) were closed!!! In other words, it seems that the better approach for life in Hong Kong is to stay out real late, sleep-in, grab lunch, and then go out to do stuff. Haha.
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This was taken at a prominent mall called “The One.” It was like 11AM. Pretty much everything was closed… >_<
After having gone to Times Square in New York, I have to say that I wasn’t expecting to be wowed by any LED lights or big fancy screens in Hong Kong; but I noticed some really gorgeous designs of Chinese characters shining brightly with LED lights.
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This is the Chinese character for “medicine.” As you can see, the calligraphy looks gorgeous even though it’s comprised of LED lights.
The other big tourist thing my family and I did was to visit the Tian Tan Buddha. It was a bit of a journey to get up there; but after two long bus rides, we finally arrived.
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This was the view I was greeted with when we got off the bus.
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When you are about to enter, you are greeted with this majestic white gate.
After walking in, we were taking in the sights and then promptly noticed two dogs that were just relaxing in the sun. The atmosphere was already very calming and zen-like to begin with, but seeing these dogs just made it that much more so.
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This dog was just taking a nap in the middle of the central area without a care in the world. Doesn’t he look so peaceful?
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This dog was just chilling on the front steps and peering out as if calmly observing everything going around him.
Before we headed up the long stairs to the Buddha statue, I experimented with my camera a bit.

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After a long trek up multiple flights of stairs, we were finally greeted by the immense statue of Tian Tan Buddha.

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It’s so big!!!!
After walking around and going in to the museum (which I am unfortunately unable to feature on this post since no photography was allowed), I had a chance to explore around the area on my own for a bit and took a couple of shots.
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This was taken from the side of the Buddha looking out into the open. Doesn’t it look so serene?
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Here’s a favorite of mine from the side of the Buddha statue.
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A shot of the Buddha from below.
Once we had finished visiting the Buddha statue, we went to visit the rest of the temple and see what else was in the area.
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Here’s a shot of a plant that bloomed into a lotus shape.
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The view of a temple from the bottom steps.
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The view from the top of the steps of the temple in the previous picture.
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This was a tree where people could hang wishes and such on there.
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And finally, you have me being goofy and pretending to eat the large doughnut sculpture we found in the shopping district.
While Hong Kong was not a huge culture shock to me in regards to living standards (i.e., not much different from what you’d expect after living in the U.S.), it was still a magnificent cultural experience. And even though I was in Hong Kong for about 10 days, I still feel as if I’ve only experienced and saw only a fraction of what it had to offer.
I hope that this post offered you a glimpse into the wonders that Hong Kong has to offer, but don’t worry, our journey is not yet done. Tomorrow I have a rather scrumptious post for you, so get your salivating glands ready!

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