October 2021

Destination: HONG KONG Imagine being able to study in a vibrant city where you can hike the “Dragon’s Back” during the day and enjoy the city lights of the harbor at night. BY MARIE AT MAIALEARNING lt is possible if you study in “Fragrant Harbor”, more commonly known as Hong Kong. It’s a city that blends Western and Chinese cultures, English and Cantonese, and urban living with nature. And, Hong Kong is home to many world class universities. The World University Rankings put some of them in the top 100 in the world. The QS Rankings says three of them are in the top 50. Although it is best known as a busy global business hub, there’s something for everyone in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is also one of the best cities for someone experiencing Asia for the first time. While the Hong Kong skyline is dominated by skyscrapers, the city is surrounded by parks and nature reserves. Whether you are interested in nature, food, culture, or shopping, Hong Kong has it all. and hiking trails. The largest outdoor Buddha in Hong Kong is on Lantau island. You can take a bus or cable car to get there. You can even take a chartered junk boat to explore the hidden islands and challenge yourself to some water sports, or simply soak up some vitamin D on the beach. Find the best views People think the Peak has the best view of Hong Kong, but I think it’s at Jardine’s Lookout. Hike up there from Hong Kong Parkview and take in the incredible views. Hike at Pat Sin Leng Country Park and walk along the ridge of 8 peaks. The views are stunning! On one side is Hong Kong and on the other you can see Shenzhen. It is my favorite (but very long) hike! Stroll through the Chi Lin Nunnery. It has a stunning garden with a great backdrop of skyscrapers and mountains. They also have a vegetarian Buddhist restaurant Learn how to say “Mm goy” (thank you). Saying thank you will take you a long way! Tips from a Hong Kong student Don’t be afraid to explore. There are great experiences that will shape your impression of the city. So, how do you travel around an urban jungle? Take your pick from the following: • Buses, trams and trains • Escalators (including the world’s longest outdoor escalator) • Ferry boats • Cable cars Be sure to buy an octopus card. This prepaid card is the most convenient to have with you. Not only can you pay for city-wide transportation, but also for food and drinks in select restaurants and shops. Explore Kowloon and the New Territories. Many expats stick to Hong Kong island and rarely venture out. Kowloon and the New Territories offer visitors much more to explore. Visit the Wong Tai Sin Temple. Hike up Lion’s Rock. Take a boat to Tai Long Wan beach. Explore Tai O Heritage Village, or catch horse races in Shatin. Explore outside the island. Eat like a local. Don’t yet have a local friend to find the insiders’ secrets for food recommendations? Try the go-to restaurant review website OpenRice. However, it may be best to go with someone local to help you order. Here are some things you should definitely try while in Hong Kong: • Dim sum, which is little bites of meat, seafood, and vegetables wrapped in dough and then steamed, baked, or fried. It’s the perfect meal with friends. • Siu Mei is Cantonese BBQ, where meats are broiled over live fires. • Cantonese claypot rice in the winter. It has a variety of ingredients cooked over fire and steamed with rice. • Enjoy egg tarts, egg waffles, or pineapple buns. These are popular sweets here. Explore the islands. Hong Kong is made up of over 250 islands, many of which are accessible from Central Pier. My go-to islands are Cheung Chau and Lamma Island. They have great seafood restaurants