HONG KONG is also good for LONGER trips

“Quickly there – back and forth – and further. That’s Hong Kong for me. This time I finally stayed longer.”

When I visited Hong Kong for the first time more than 30 years ago, the most spectacular (and dangerous) landing approach in the world was over the roofs of the metropolis of millions, to the legendary airport Kai Tak. In the meantime, it has become a large tourist cruise terminal. Despite a chronic lack of space, Hong Kong seems to be growing all the time. With planned transport and tourism projects such as the “Greater Bay Area”, the three mega-cities of Guangdong, Macau and Hong Kong, for example, will once again move closer together.

But this time I don’t care about the new intoxication and rush of this destination. Because Hong Kong has also become quiet – you’ll soon notice that when you stay in this mega metropolis. Where years ago a smoky, gasoline-running queue of cars tormented itself from Central to Kowloon, now mainly hybrid and electric cars are humming through the city. That’s good for travelers health and for your ears. In between I’m still happy to climb onto the historic Star Ferry, which creaks its way to the various islands of Hong Kong. From Central, I take the time-honoured double-decker tram with a chime for every stop along the historic sights.

New little sister

Just stay a few days longer in Hong Kong – I treated myself to that in the completely renovated The Landmark hotel, in the heart of the city in Central.

The “little sister” of the first Mandarin Oriental Hotel ever opened, in 2005, and was recently upgraded. And the 111 rooms and suites were refreshed: finest woods, metal chic plus a round one! A bathroom including a view of the skyline. The Oriental Spa was also renovated. In addition to excellent treatments, you can have your feet made especially beautiful here – thanks to the pedicure concept of the French feet virtuoso Bastien Gonzalez.

A hot spot for foodies is the Restaurant Amber with the two-star cuisine of chef Richard Ekkebus. The Amber has just been reopened after an all-round renovation, and the kitchen has remained innovative and “amazing” as usual. The Sushi Shikon – the “Ginza Sushi Experience” by master chef Masahiro Yoshitake, the first Japanese chef to receive three Michelin stars in Hong Kong – and the Kappo Rin – also by him, but much more casual with a bar concept and modern Japanese cuisine, are also new to the hotel.

And: Psst…please spread the word! Through an old telephone booth we enter the new cocktail Mecca, the Speak Easy Bar “PDT (Please don’t tell)”, which is otherwise only available in New York.

Quick Getaway

The fact that Hong Kong is narrow and overcrowded somehow also creates the charm of the metropolis. But it can also be green. And it’s almost right on your doorstep.Those who take the cable car to the famous Victoria Peak can expect extensive hiking trails with a breathtaking view of Hong Kong. From here, one can see how many parks and green spaces there are in this city of millions.
The only downer is that you are never alone on the Peak. At least not in the immediate vicinity of the mountain station with its own shopping centre. It’s better to go further and walk down. This also gives you a slight idea of how to live and really live in Hong Kong.

Steep cliffs, grandiose rock formations, huge stone blocks, reservoirs and untouched hiking tours can be found again in the Unseco Geo Park in the New Territories. One hour away by car, this is the really lonely, green side of the city. There are extensive, challenging day trips for experienced hikers. Grandios.

For me as a real foodie, at least a day visit to Lamma Island should never be missed on a Hong Kong trip (photo above). Star chef Tim Raue is regularly inspired here. In the fishing village Sok Kwu Wan one sits down in one of the simple fish restaurants on the beach and eats what the sea offers freshly caught. English is barely spoken here … just point out what you want and enjoy. And by the way: travelers to the island can also use the famous Star Ferrys.

And if Portugal is still tempting: the finally opened, longest bridge in the world leads you on its fast way from Hong Kong to Macau. The players’ paradise can thus be reached within an hour and is really worth it. Here a Catholic church, there a painting of horses as a delicacy – the exotic mixture of Portuguese and Chinese traditions is unique and still manages it without Disneyland attitudes in many parts of the city.

Kai Böcking …

… is really looking for opportunities to “have to” go back to Hong Kong. Because the metropolis manages never to lose its historical charm despite everything. And because it has the best food in the world. He will come back, he says. Soon.

Fotos: © iStock.com/Nikada, © iStock.com/LeeYiuTung, The Landmark, Mandarin Oriental, Konzack