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HongKong Redefined

SINGAPORE | Friday, 11 April 2014 | Views [355]

I remember how I was swearing by the time I reached Tsim Tsa Tsui in HongKong on New Year's Eve of 2012. I had paid a huge deposit for my overweight luggage at the airport from Shanghai, and took the public train to our "cheap" hostel at the Chung King Mansions with my heavy backpack. Needless to say, the horrible conditions of the all-too-squeezy hostel room amidst a 'Lucky Plaza', which cost us S$100/night, scarred me for life. I told myself, no more HongKong. Ever.

Two-and-a-half years later, my two girlfriends suggested a trip up to the lovable city (not to me) to celebrate the last days of freedom before one of them got hitched. Reluctantly, I agreed; we flew on Scoot for a cheap S$180, were only staying a maximum of three days and it wasn't NYE - how bad could it be, right? Little did I know that I was in for a surprise.

No, the trip wasn't fantastic, but I have to admit that it was better than bearable. It was, in fact, quite enjoyable. We scoured the city's famed streets for cheap merchandise, egg tarts (WHY NO PORTUGUESE EGG TARTS!) and cha chan tengs (aka tea houses like Australian Dairy). The salt and oil in the food eventually got to me and i exclaimed: "I need some beer to wash this down." Yes, it was an obvious excuse to grab a drink at the infamous bars of Lan Kwai Fong - a valid one might I add. But we surprised ourselves by standing at the corner of Big Pizza, gorging ourselves with a slice of, yes, big pizza and HK15 (S$2.50) beers - you can't even get a beer that cheap from Duty Free! As the night wore on, we literally got picked up by ang mohs, and met "Johnny Depp" of Barcelona (some chap who studies at National Taiwan University blessed with the uncanny resemblance to the famed Hollywood actor).

I came to conclude that good travel company makes a trip memorable and delightful; I'd never have enjoyed myself as much if I were travelling alone, flipping through Lonely Planet at a busy cha chan teng, panicking as I wreck my brains to decide what to order, only to have the waiters bark and literally throw my plate of food on the table. Impatient much? 

P/S. I didn't stay at Chung King Mansions this time round. Check out Royal Plaza Hotel at Mongkok East. Costly at about S$260/night, but worth every penny! Hello, 38-degree jacuzzi in 20-degree weather. I'm all smiles. 

Tags: asia, city, food, friends, hongkong, tourist

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