I’m sure any expat around the world gets the same question when they begin chatting with others: “why did you move here?” While it’s obvious people’s jobs play a large role, there are often a handful of other factors that fall into place. I mean, it’s a pretty big deal to pack up your entire life and move to a completely different country. I’ve been asked “why Hong Kong?” countless times since moving here five years ago. Surprisingly for me, the answer was pretty simple..
These are snippets of what I’ve experienced living in Hong Kong over the past years: from the funny to the weird, and everything in between. I’ll continue to update this post as I come across more strange and wonderful things around the city.
70. Where this anti-smoking ad is more likely to make you laugh than to quit smoking.
69. Where honesty is key.
68. Where you’ll find “Monkey Head” on a menu.
67. When monks wear “spicy” shoes on the MTR.
66. When people have too much money and too little sense, and decide to cover their Porsche in black velvet.
65. When restaurants need to specify that liquor is intoxicating, as opposed to it being..?
64. When these are the things I see on my commute to work in the morning.
63. When the Hong Kong Observatory issues a T8 (strong typhoon warning) without it even raining, and the whole city literally shuts down..
62. When precautions are taken very seriously around a work site..
61. Where people need to be reminded of proper hygiene practices.
60. When it’s 30°C outside and people are wearing a down jacket and Hawaiian shorts.
59. Where this outdoor display is meant to entice you to eat here.
58. Where the elderly take their exercising seriously.
57. Where the world’s most insane beauty products exist.
56. Where people are badass.
55. Where seeing this becomes normal.
54. Where clothes can be incredibly ironic.
53. Where you can purchase a “Mini Portable Toilet”.
52. Where you can find people sleeping at the bottom of stairwells.
51. Where soup exists for your hands.
50. Where department stores display Halloween and Christmas decorations side by side.
49. Where fashion is taken seriously.
48. Where products like this actually exist and famous soccer players actually promote them.
47. When you’re not sure what the marketing strategy is.
46. Where people own incredibly large cellphones.
45. Where you always get a good laugh out of locals wearing English shirts.
44. Where you can find a truckload of bamboo just lying on the street.
43. When fancy port-a-potty’s equipped with carpeted floors, a full length mirror, and a framed picture are rented for the Rugby Sevens.
42. Where drying your entire wardrobe along a public walkway is a thing.
41. When a notice regarding “throwing animal discharge from height” is posted in your apartment building.
40. Where the love of egg tarts is real.
39. Where you’re just not quite sure what to do in some situations (so you just take a photo instead)
38. Where you can wait for the bus in style.
37. Where you have announcements like this in the MTR:
“Please hold onto the handrails and not just look at your mobile phone.”
36. When businesses run out of the back of a van.
35. Where you can get some exercise on the side of the road.
34. Where the food safety and hygiene guidelines are questionable.
33. Where people will queue for hours on end.
32. When a water pipe bursts, construction workers are more concerned with taking a picture of the flooding street than fixing it.
31. Where advertisements sure know how to catch your attention.
30. Where DIY projects consist of sticking oven mitts to the handle bars of motorcycles.
29. Where you can buy wine by the plastic glass in the grocery store.
28. Where this is considered entertainment at a nightclub.
27. Where your choice of local grocery store is based solely upon how much its name makes you laugh.
26. Where public stretching in short shorts and no shirt is serious business.
25. When candy wrappers warn consumers that “children and elderly people should not eat absolutely.”
24. Where you can’t walk more than two blocks without seeing one of these “litter cum recyclables” bins.
23. Where you can find horse figurines, among other oddities, randomly stuck into large rocks.
22. When these are a few words of wisdom imparted on you by a local restaurant owner:
“Don’t go back to Canada. So many animal. So few people. Don’t waste your life.”
*Mr. Wong from Mr. Wong’s, Mong Kok
21. When eating pig skin is considered a delicacy.
20. When your concept of what dessert is completely flipped around.
19. When signs like this are posted outside of the washrooms at a bar.
18. Where people are really serious about Hello Kitty.
17. Where this is on display at an amusement park.
16. When this becomes a regular sight on a night out.
15. Where adults dressing the same is a thing.
14. When the smog is so thick you can no longer see half of the tallest building in your area.
13. Where embarrassment does not exist.
12. When the weather is more indecisive than I am.
11. When owning an oven is the epitome of wealth and the envy of all your friends.
10. When you can take the escalator up to the gym.
Bonus: having a McDonald’s right underneath.
9. When you can find preserved whole baby crabs in a snack bag.
8. When Groupon sells stuff like this.
7. When you climb up a mountain and have this as your view (just ignore the smog).
6. When the only way to get hot water in your flat is by turning this on.
5. Where people either fear or are obsessed with dogs.
4. When families and couples coordinate their outfits so they all match.
3. When it is 20° out and people are wearing winter jackets and boots.
2. When you’re on the MTR and see a man plucking out his facial hair with tweezers.
1. When you’re at the gym and
a) Men are wearing shorter shorts than women
b) People are wearing their work clothes
c) One in five people are talking on their cellphone
If you ask for suggestions on where to go for a fun night out in Tokyo, it’s likely that many people will tell you to head to Golden Gai in Shinjuku. This well-known area of Tokyo is famous for its nightlife. You’ll find 6 parallel alleyways with tiny bars crammed everywhere (there’s said to be over 200 bars). Many tourists come here for a bit of bar hopping (if you manage to find a seat), though there are a handful of bars that cater to a “Japanese-speaking only” crowd. While I can’t say I loved Golden Gai, I thought it was a unique experience that is worth checking out.
If you’re looking for an easy going, low-key bar with good vibes and a wide selection of local craft beer, 65 Peel 何蘭正 is your answer. I’ve walked by this popular bar at the corner of Peel and Elgin St. dozens of times, and its minimalist decor and constant buzz have always intrigued me. Whether you’re with one friend or four, 65 Peel 何蘭正 is a great place to go after work or on the weekend for a few local beers while you tuck into a plate of some delicious fried chicken and fries.
There is so much to do and see (and eat!) in Taipei that you might not have enough time to fit everything into your weekend getaway. While the list of things to do in Taipei is seemingly endless, I’ve compiled my top 10 favourite things I did while exploring the city for five days that were either absolutely free or incredibly cheap!
If you’ve been following my adventures in Taiwan or if you’ve been yourself, you know that there is no shortage of delicious food. Thanks to Jiufen’s street food and because of its picturesque views from the quaint streets and tea houses, Jiufen is a popular tourist destination in Taiwan. I would recommend arriving to Jiufen with a list of all the food you want to try along Jiufen Old Street so that you don’t end up wandering around for hours on end with the other throngs of visitors. Here’s a list of some of the street food you’ll find if you’re wondering what to eat in Jiufen, Taiwan.
Bohol is a small island in the Philippines, just south of Cebu, that is well-known for diving, its Chocolate Hills, and Tarsiers. One of the most popular tours offered is the Bohol Countryside Tour; a day-long tour consisting of seven different sightseeing spots throughout the island. We had wanted to do this tour to get a glimpse of Bohol, but didn’t want to go to a few of the sightseeing stops, so we ended up hiring a private car for roughly the same price as a group tour and had a much better experience.
A popular thing to do while in Ho Chi Minh City is a one or two day Mekong Delta tour. Essentially a large area of multiple rivers, lush greenery, houses on stilts, little villages, and floating markets, the Mekong Delta claims to be a breath of fresh air from the hectic streets of Ho Chi Minh. However, after organizing a two-day trip around the Mekong Delta, the tour was far from what we had anticipated. While we had high hopes of this being one of the highlights of our trip to Vietnam, it unfortunately turned out to be a disappointment mainly because everything we did was incredibly touristy and did not feel genuine. If you’re debating whether to go on this tour, keep reading for my full Mekong Delta Tour review and itinerary of day 1.
Da Lat might be one of Vietnam’s best kept secrets. Viewed as a city unlike others in Vietnam, once you arrive in Da Lat, you won’t really feel like you’re in Vietnam. Though it is still a relatively busy city, Da Lat has a very laid-back vibe as it resides in a more open area with many hills. The Countryside Tour in Da Lat is a great way to learn and see a lot about the history and culture of the city, however, you’d be better off doing this tour on your own if you’re comfortable riding a motorcycle or by going on a private tour.
Hue, a 2 hour train ride north of Da Nang, is a lesser-known city in the middle of Vietnam that is increasingly becoming popular with tourists. A visit to Hue is best utilized as a brief (2 – 3 night) stopover along your travels up to the north or down to the south of the country. Though there aren’t a tonne of tourist attractions, there are a handful of interesting things to do in Hue that will fill your days with food, pagodas, temples, markets, and fun!