The direct translation of Hong Kong is the fragrant harbour. 'Till this day this is still a reflection of Hong Kong with its busy ports and its numerous street markets that sell a large variety of goods and food. Although Hong Kong is a cosmopolitan modern city, it has manage to hold on to many of its Asian traditions with a good mix of both eastern and western cultures. One such example of the traditional that you are able to find dotted all over Hong Kong are markets. Yes, there are markets that mainly cater to the tourist but many local residents still shop at many of these markets as part of daily life.
Besides the markets that sell fresh produce and those catering to tourist, the other markets around Hong Kong do serve a specific purpose and have there own niche selling points. For instance, if you are looking to purchase jade you would go to the jade market or the flower market for flowers. There are also the sneakers market and the goldfish market. You can take a calculated guess about what you can purchase from these markets. I did find the stretch of the goldfish market hard to accept due to the fact that most of the fish were sold in plastic bags and some of fish barely fit the bags therefore they were unable to swim. There were pet stores at the market where kittens and puppies were being sold out of tiny cages which is very cruel. It is great to hear while we were in Hong Kong that new regulations were being passed regarding the sale of kittens and puppies in pet stores.
Some folks may find Hong Kong to be a very dense concrete jungle and very crowded. In some places in Hong Kong you would hardly be able to see the sky while roaming around the city however that's a charm of the city itself. Hong Kong has one of the most expensive property markets in the world hence every square inch of city is built up. You do need to take note that unless you are willing to pay for a posh hotel, most hotel rooms will be smaller than what you expect as space is at a premium in Hong Kong. However for us this was a small issues as we were out most of the time, exploring the city. We were happy with any room size as long as it was clean and based in a convenient location. The pace of life in Hong Kong is also very fast so don't be surprised to find crowds of people rushing to get by you. The locals tend to work hard and play hard. There are so many places to explore in Hong Kong with all its different districts but in my own opinion, the city truly comes alive at night with all the neon lights, venders and patrons walking the streets of the city. The skyline of the city produce a visual spectacle light show every night at 8pm, right by Victoria harbour front. Another place to take in and capture the magnificent skyline of the city is at the peak. Do take note that if you decide to visit and want to take the tram up to the peak, be prepared to queue for about an hour as it is one of Hong Kong's biggest tourist attractions.
At any point if you feel that the city is closing in on you too much and you need somewhere to take a breather, Hong Kong has more to offer than meets the eyes. Hong Kong itself has many islands to get away from the fast paced city lifestyle. During this visit, we did head to Lantau island where Tai O village and Tian Tan Buddha, aka the big Buddha, is located. The people living in the village have a totally different lifestyle to those in city. The pace of life is very much slower and air is also so much cleaner. The main vocation within the village is fishing and majority of people tend to reside in stilt houses along the mouth of the river leading out to sea. You are able to walk around freely and explore the village by foot or you could also pay for a boat trip to take you round parts of the island and down the river. The best way to get to Tian Tan Buddha and enjoy the view is actually by cable car from Tung Chung and it's walking distance from the MTR station. Unfortunately for us the cable car service is closed for cable maintenance 'till roughly July 2018. The company that runs the cable car service do offer a bus tour service however we decided that the public bus was cheaper and we were able to use our time more efficiently. The bus station is also located in Tung Chung and they have a direct bus service to various location around the island and links between them. The area where the big Buddha is located is known as Ngong Ping. Beside the big Buddha and the great views, the area has temples, court yards and gardens to explore. You are also able to purchase vegetarian dishes at the temple if you wish to do so.
The next time you decide to visit Hong Kong do enjoy the city but if you have time I'd recommend visiting the surrounding islands of Hong Kong for wider experience.