"You can leave Hong Kong, but it will never leave you." - Nury Vittachi, Hong Kong: The City of Dreams
Hong Kong remains exciting, even after multiple visits. This time, I stayed away from the touristy area of Tsim Sha Tsui, and into the grungy Mong Kok area. The Cordis Hong Kong at Langham Place is an excellent option. The hotel is connected to the massive Langham Place shopping mall via a skybridge, meaning that there is no shortage of shopping and dining options. It is not recommended for the first time visitor, unless you do not mind travelling on the MTR. At times, it felt too troublesome to journey out, and time was spent in the nice hotel room. In a way, the lack of planning also contributed to the fruitless visit this time around.
That being said, it was the first time that I really "visited" Hong Kong, despite having been there a couple of times. A walking tour with a local guide served a reminder that each place has a story worth listening to.
In fact, there were so many places that I had missed on all the previous trips. We walked around the central area, and then up the longest escalators in the world that connects the suburbs to the business district. We went into Hong Kong's famous Man Mo Temple, and had a great time shopping in the Old Police Married Quarters, which now house small time local designers. Of course, a visit to the Nan Lian Gardens and Chi Lin Nunnery is a must.
The cloudy skies casted a sombre sheen to the photos. It turned out alright in the end, even though I had been hoping for clear weather. This was my first ever time bringing my second-hand 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G lens out. I have not figured out how to use it properly yet, so many of the photos ended up in the trash. The ultra wide-angle opens up many possibilities, with the only hurdle being the hefty weight. I do not know when is the next time it will come with me on an overseas trip.
Conclusion: I had wanted to shop in Hong Kong, but even tax-free, the prices were comparable to home. Instead, I took some time to appreciate Hong Kong as a tourist, something I failed to do in many previous visits. If possible, I wish to return again next year, a common sentiment I share with places I enjoy. Perhaps I will stay in Hong Kong Island the next time I come over. It is a pity, because I really liked the Cordis Hong Kong.