Posted in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a diverse city


There is a small park, Victoria Park, less than a kilometer from the hostel on Lee Garden Road. A narrow tartan track leads in a kind of circular course through the green and around a large lawn with a sports facility. The route is 625 meters long, it is marked every 25 meters and is actually reserved for runners, but many walkers also use this track, sometimes with two or three people walking alongside each other and having a lively conversation.
This is a quiet oasis not far from the hectic and noisy business streets. For three days I do my rounds here in the morning. From my small hostel, I run in the light drizzle along the confusing streets on which so many people rush to and from on the way to the office or the subway, almost squeezed between the office towers and shopping malls, some of which are more than 40 floors high. In the morning, the light rain is very pleasant when walking, the sun comes through the clouds, it quickly gets muggy, but that rarely happens.

Hong Kong, or rather: Hong Kong Island, is quite special. The available space for construction along the coastal strip is relatively narrow, only a few 100 m to just about 2 km wide, behind which the rocky terrain rises steeply. I have the impression that the high-rise buildings in the bay rise to the level of the top of the mountains.

For a few days I leave the bike on the balcony of the hostel and move around the city on foot or by metro. The streets in Causeway Bay are simply confusing because of these tall buildings, but I get a little better orientation by moving around in this part of the city. It takes e.g. two almost unsuccessful attempts to find the nearest post office, although it is shown on the overview map, since it is surprisingly located on the 10th floor of an 18-storey high-rise shopping and office building and not on the ground floor and in a single building, as I have suspected. Below is a huge entrance area with galleries of smaller restaurants and shops over two floors, above that another 5 floors with shops for fashion, cell phone accessories and other things that nobody needs, and above that several floors with sales agencies, utilities and other smaller shops. The post office only consists of a small counter room with maybe 25 m2 of floor space and letter boxes set into the wall to the hallway. I get enough stamps here, I have to look for postcards elsewhere. I later find them in a smaller shop on a side street a little off Hennessy Road, which sells everything in antique junk. There is something like souvenirs and cards here, even if they look a bit tired, in contrast to the shopping malls, where even well-stocked stationery dealers don’t offer postcards.

The next day, I found a lot more cards at the newspaper dealers at the Star Ferry Society pier in Kowloon, on the opposite side of the bay. This is relatively easy to reach by metro, after all, the Causeway Bay Station is less than 200 m from my quarters. This is how I explore the area around the Tsim Sha Tsui metro station in the afternoon. The streets are arranged a little more regularly, but not less confusing. In one of the high-rise buildings on the harbor, which is both a hotel and a mall, I find a bookseller that extends over two winding floors. Here the stress from the road below is far away.
At the pier the wind blows cool and damp from the sea, the weather is rainy. The low ferry docks of the Star Ferry Company, which today has almost only tourist significance, are roofed over, but very windy. That is why I am always drawn to one or the other shopping temple, which are all somehow connected here in ‘Harbor City’, even if I am not particularly interested in the fashion labels.

Unfortunately the weather is not very friendly on the day of my onward journey from Hong Kong Island over to Kowloon and on to Tsuen Wan. I start after a delicious breakfast at ‘Lucky Star’, two corners from the hostel, and then work my way down with the bike in the light drizzle down to Hennessy Road, and along Causeway Road to the ferry terminal at North Point. The boats of the First Ferry company also take bicycles on board, which is impossible with the Star Ferry according to their conditions of carriage. I had researched this the day before and now I asked the friendly small man at the turnstiles, which block the access to the pier, if I should be allowed to pass with my packed bike. Unfortunately he did not understand English but after a few moments I was able to figure out the term 自行车 for ‘bicycle’, and the little man really came to life, opened a side door to the waiting area and even billed the $ 10 for the bike into a separate cash register.


The crossing over Kowloon Bay takes about 15 minutes and the boat, which is occupied by only a few passengers on this cloudy morning, then moored at the Kowloon City Ferry Pier, not too far from the former downtown airport, which had been closed for many years.

The route to Tsuen Wan in the north-west of Kowloon is then peppered with some challenges, because the general one-way regulation repeatedly forces me to take detours. At a crossroads of several expressways in Cheung Shan, which are of course off-limits to cyclists, I can only get a long way further in my direction. The Lai King Hill Road that follows a little later bears its name rightly and after the short but arduous climb I have a small overview of the streets in this corner of Hong Kong, which are arranged completely irregular.

Later in Kwai Chung I have to climb a hill again before I reach my hotel, which is unfortunately located in a mixed commercial and residential area, opposite a larger construction site. But it is not a problem to get a room that looks in the opposite direction, but windows cannot even be opened. The room is significantly larger than my first one at the other end of town, and here even the bike fits between the window and the bed.