Weekend Layover: 24 Hours in Hong Kong

By Kristi Alexandra
@kristialexandra

Though I’ve grown to love and adapt to Indonesia in the six weeks that saw me finishing up my first-ever journalism trip abroad, with generous help from the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong is a welcome change. For the beginning of September, Hong Kong is no less balmy than Jakarta, Central Java, or the even more southern island of Bali. But it does come with the luxury of far more flushing toilets and covered sewers, and for that I rejoice.

And if you’re a Vancouverite with any semblance of homesickness in Asia, a jaunt over to Hong Kong will quickly solve that. Dim sum, sushi, and clean streets are bountiful in HK. Just like home.

STAY

Lucky me, Cathay Pacific set me up at the Harbourview Hotel overlooking the Victoria Harbour. A 20th floor room meant spectacular views of Chinese Junk ships floating by, neon lights below, and the glow of the Observation Wheel whirring with tourists. Despite the ambient smell of smoke (okay, so perhaps that smoking a few metres away from a building is still a Vancouver thing), the Harbourview spared no expense at luxury. A king bed, huge windows, robes and slippers, and complete cable had me sleeping like a, well, king.

EAT

Elsewhere in Asia, I made sure any and all seafood were completely cooked. When I caught site of sushi chain Genki Sushi, all bets were off. This conveyor belt-style restaurant charges by the plate, all-colour-coded, and serves up matcha tea and Sapporo beer. Heaven.

As a fan of dim sum, there was no better place than Dim Sum Square, which often boasts line-ups out the door and around the corner. Turnip cakes, ha gow and wonton soup did not disappoint, whereas I’m sure no pork rice roll will ever measure up.

DO

With only 24 hours in Hong Kong, there wasn’t a lot we could get done in comparison to the bounty the city has to offer. There’s a lot of walking to do and places to admire. For about $65 Canadian (a little more than $400 HKD), you can traverse the entire city on an MTR tourist day pass, which gives you unlimited travel on the MTR and Light Rail to tourist destinations such as “the peak,” Ocean Park Hong Kong, and Avenue of Stars. For a little extra, you can enjoy a ride on the ferry between islands. End your day at the Observation Wheel and enjoy slugging back a beer in the streets.

Kristi Alexandra is an unabashed wino and wannabe musician. Her talents include drinking an entire bottle of cabernet sauvignon, singing in the bathtub, and falling asleep.