I was only in Hong Kong for two nights, so I tried to pack in as much as I could. The first day I was there I literally kept myself occupied for 7 hours by walking around the city. There is so much going on that it’s really hard to even pay attention to where you’re going. I ended up intentionally getting lost by taking the subway and getting off at a few random stops and then just walking…and walking. The buildings are huge with countless stores in each of them. What looks like an office building or a hotel might actually be tons of restaurants and Chinese healing stores or an apartment building/20 different hostels. My hostel was in what I think was an apartment building. There were a ton of different hostels spread out around the building. I was on the 14th floor and my room was like a small (very small) apartment. There are so many people and so many buildings in Hong Kong that absolutely everything is packed in as tightly as possible. Since there are so many shops and restaurants in every building there are signs extended from the sides of the buildings all the way over the streets. Everyone has to advertise somehow. Walking is really difficult, which was amusing since I was only there for 2 days, but I think it would have gotten frustrating eventually. There are so many people that crosswalks need to quadruple in size to allow everyone to walk across the road within the allotted space…and even then you would still be shoving your way to the other side. I took a picture looking across the road waiting for the light to change. The mass of people waiting to walk was the same size on my side of the road…it’s actually a little intimidating.
I stayed on Kowloon which is where all the craziness is, but I took the ferry a couple of times over to Hong Kong Central island. I wandered around markets that wound down stairs and alleyways as far as you could walk. I got to watch the symphony of lights which happens every night at 8pm. You sit on the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbor and watch a huge light show that takes place on Hong Kong central island. Music is played over speakers on the promenade along the shoreline of Kowloon and all of the buildings on the other side have lights that sync with the music. It was really cool to see…there were spot lights, lasers, and lights of every color on all of the buildings. The show lasts about 15 minutes and tons of people crowd around the entire shoreline to watch it.
After my two days in Hong Kong I took a flight to Bangkok, Thailand. This is my second day here and I’m already loving it. I got here late in the afternoon yesterday so I just walked around the area that I’m staying in. If you search Bangkok, Thailand you will definitely come across “Khao San Road” a lot. It’s known as a backpacker ghetto, haven, or central. It’s where all the cheap guest houses and hostels are, which means there are also countless street vendors and food stalls. You can buy anything here from incense used to pray in temples to whole deep fried fish to elephant statues. One of the best parts is that everywhere you walk smells amazing because of all the food stalls and carts. The food in China was okay, but I didn’t come across anything to really rave about. Thailand is different. The flavors are amazing…they mix salty, sweet, and spicy in a way that is actually good, and they have such a variety of food. You can find just about anything you want. It’s also insanely cheap. What would probably have cost me $15 in the US was about .95 cents here. So good. When I was walking around today I came across a food stall that had about 20 different bowls of who knows what. I I pointed to cooked vegetables which cost 20 baht (about 70 cents US) because it came with rice, and then some eggs cooked with vegetables which was another 10 baht. The woman working at the stall put everything onto a plate, and I sat down at a plastic table next to her cart to eat. I could probably do that everyday, and I think I might.
I just got back a little while ago from taking a walking tour around this section of the city. I got out my map this morning and drew a route that would take me through a few sites, China town, some temples, and some parks. It was funny just leaving China and then visiting a China Town in another country. Everything in Thailand is so foreign now, but walking through the market was so familiar. The fruit, people, jewelry, and fabric is all different in Thailand and going back to seeing Chinese things seemed a lot more normal. After going through there I made my way across one disgusting looking river (parts of it were literally black) to what is apparently the oldest wat, or temple, that is still active in Bangkok. It was built in the 18th century and its name, Wat Arun, means “Temple of Dawn.” It was really amazing to see…it had one point going up in the middle with the steepest stairs I’ve ever walked up. The outside is covered with Buddhas and different colored stones and tiling. I’ll add a picture of it when I get them loaded to give you a better idea of what it looks like. During my walk back I passed a muay Thai boxing gym that was actually just a space under a bridge that had a chain link fence around it with a boxing ring inside. Completely random, but obviously Muay Thai is a huge thing over here.
I’m back at the hostel now and am about to go find dinner and book a bus ticket to Krabi Island in the south of Thailand. I have a week booked on Au Nang beach and am planning on making my way to other islands in the area after that. There are tons of islands in the south of Thailand, and the ones I’m going to are known for their beaches (obviously), jungles (with elephants), and sports like rock climbing and sea kayaking. I’m definitely enjoying Bangkok, but I cannot wait to get to the beaches.