Kowloon, Hong Kong: Busy, Bustling, and Burning my Money

Stepping off the plane to 18 degrees after leaving Hangzhou and its bitter winter chill was blissful. My flight was delayed so it was getting late but I managed to swiftly get through boarder control, pick up my bag, and get on the City bus before midnight.  As the bus rocked up at my stop near Mong Kok station, I was amazed looking outside. It didn’t look like 12:30am. It seemed more like the middle of the afternoon: restaurants full, people chatting, and people walking down the street.

I met Mitch, who had arrived earlier, and it was then that he told me that the area we’re staying in, Kowloon, is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.  After some research I’ve discovered that Kowloon once was the most densely populated area in the world, with 33,000 people living in more than 300 high rise buildings.  While things have changed a lot since then, walking around you still get an idea of how many people live there. Simply walk down the street at 12:30am and you’ll have people all around you. The building our hostel is in is another indication of the vast amount of people within the city. Our room is on the 13th floor and it’s tiny. Just enough room for bed and some space for our bags, and with a window that barely lets in sunlight (although I hear a window can be a luxury).  In the bathroom, the shower head is between the toilet and sink, getting both equally as wet when in use. However, it’s clean, I sleep well, and it’s certainly in an exciting location.

I met a guy from New York University who is studying for a semester here in Hong Kong. He was surprised to find somewhere outside New York where you could get a smaller room for more money. Hong Kong is not a cheap place. Naturally, hostel prices have jumped as the Chinese New Year holiday is ever approaching. That aside, it’s still an expensive place to visit and live. Drink prices remind me of London, some even higher (God bless happy hours). Finding a decent meal for under £5 is uncommon, but not impossible. Coming from Hangzhou where we could get good meals for £1.50, it’s a slight shock to the system.

This isn’t to say I don’t love it here though. My inner city girl is happy; my bank account is not.

More to come on Hong Kong soon.

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