I’ve got two big posts coming up this weekend, which is why I am sharing my Polaroid Of The Week a little earlier this week.
I finally visited Hong Kong! Hong Kong is one of the places I’ve been wanting to visit for years, and now one of the places where I am asking myself ‘Why didn’t I come here sooner?!’. Luckily, I will return to Europe the same way I came to Asia, which means I’ll get to go back to Hong Kong soon, and that’s also the reason why I took things easy this time. I was extremely exhausted when I arrived in Hong Kong, my fifth country this month, and just wasn’t up for the hikes and long sightseeing treks I had planned.
Admittedly, I was also pretty overwhelmed by the city for the first two days (the amount of people, the noise, the intensity of everything!) and it took me a while to get back in to the swing of things (meaning: exploring a city on my own, instead having someone to take me around like recently in Stockholm or Istanbul). And I am guilty of some major planning fails on this trip, but I will tell you all about them in a separate post.
I only had blue skies on my very first day anyway, which is why I wasn’t too upset about not making it up to the Tian Tin Big Buddha statue on top of a mountain, and knowing that I’ll be back in a few months, I also saved The Peak, a popular viewing point on Hong Kong Island, for my next visit. Rather than ticking sights off my list, I strolled through markets and neighborhoods, sampled local coffee shops (and was ecstatic when I found one that was as good as my favorite coffee shop in the world!), took in the magnificent skyline and spent time people watching on the waterfront. A lovely expat showed me a couple of cool bars (including one of the famous sky lounges which offer breathtaking views over the skyline) and gave me some insights on living in Hong Kong, which reminded me that it is always worth trying to meet someone who lives in the place I’m visiting – it just gives you a completely different perspective than being left to your own devices with only your guidebook in hand.
This held even more true in Manila, a city bashed by lots of travelers for being somewhat dodgy and overwhelming, but with a local guide who knows some cool spots, it’s a completely different story. I’ll talk more about it in my monthly round-up – look out for it tomorrow!
If you are thinking about setting off on a round-the-world trip but feel overwhelmed by the planning aspect, don’t know how to save money for it, and how to travel long-term successfully, check out the new Travel School, a new eCourse by my friends Kim and Brian of So-Many-Places.com.