Hong Kong is someplace I wanted to live and work in. I love Hong Kong, much like I love Vietnam. But it is a different kind of love. I always wanted to go back since the last trip I made to Hong Kong in 2018 lasted under 48 hours.
But images and social media posts on the protests quickly turning violent and escalating had me worried, not gonna lie. It began with a proposed bill that would extradite Hong Kong citizens to mainland China, that triggered it all. But in the midst of all this, I decided to visit. Connie was going to be there for Bailey’s wedding and to visit her grandma. How bad could it be, if a whole bunch of Aussies can brave the trip, I thought to myself. Lol.
As tourism in Hong Kong dropped, hotels/Airbnb’s and airfares had become reasonable. I booked my flight 36 hours in advance of the trip and it cost me half as much as a well planned trip would. As for stay, the kind folks at Regal Group of hotels offered to host me at 2 of their properties. It couldn’t have come at a better time.
Besides, I was thinking, nobody died though. But on the day of my flight, a few hours prior, a live round was fired at a student whose fate was not known to the public. The video made quite a dent though, in my confidence levels too. I wasn’t going to back down though. Worst case scenario, I would be holed up in my hotel room.
But as you can see in the vlog from my YouTube channel, it was way way way better!
The only thing I noticed or appeared to me as odd, in comparison to the earlier trip I made, was that there were far fewer people on the streets. And understandably so. As you can see in the vlog, I stayed in Mong Kok (iClub Hotel) the first few days and that was the epicenter of protests on the exact same days. I eventually moved on to the Regal Oriental Hotel in Kowloon, where things were absolutely calm.
The decrease in tourism was also evident in the fact that on 2 days, almost all stores were shut. All through Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui. Even the street vendors and ladies markets.
Should you visit Hong Kong?
I would say, yes. Do that trip. It isn’t half as bad. The weekends are the only days you need to be wary of, because most protests happen then. But when I visited, the week days were far worse than the weekends. Travel is only disrupted to the extent of MTRs being shut in certain sectors but cabs will take you where you need to get to. No flights have been disrupted. Make sure you have travel insurance, nonetheless.
Be sure to follow Facebook groups that update you on riots and protests in various areas, real time. Avoid hotels in prime spots like Mong Kok, TST, Causeway Bay.
Right now is as good a time as any other to visit Hong Kong. And I think you should make that trip. I did. And I didn’t die.
Feel free to reach out to me, if you have any queries at all about making a trip to Hong Kong. I will do my best to answer it.
All images shot on an iPhone X.