When I first imagined life in Hong Kong, I pictured a huge modern city, endless baskets of dim sum, and malls every few blocks. When I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised at how much green space is built into the city.
HKUST campus is especially beautiful, as it is built on a wooded mountainside overlooking Clearwater Bay. The picture below is was taken just down the hill from my dorm. It’s wonderful!
There are lots of parks scattered about the city too! Victoria Park is one of the largest, and is frequented by elderly people practicing Tai-chi, Indonesian domestic workers relaxing and having picnics on their day off, and is frequently decorated for Chinese holidays. Tamar Park (pictured below) is also frequented by locals, especially during the Occupy Central protests because it is right next to the government offices.
Beyond hedges and public parks, Hong Kong also has dozens of gorgeous beaches, which are perfect for a day of napping and studying. I like visiting Discovery Bay on Lantau Island on days when I don’t have class.
When I need to escape the crowds and head further afield, I love journeying to Sai Kung and hiking through the Sai Kung East County Park. The hikes vary from easy hour jaunts through the woods, to all day mountain trekking around the reservoir.
Last week I joined up with a group of exchange students and did an epic 6 hour hike to the Tai Shing Stream. I don’t think we ever actually found the stream, but we did run into some feral cows, gorgeous mountaintop views of Shenzhen, and a waterfall, so it was worth it.
One of my favorite things about being here for a year is that I know I’ve got plenty of time to see and do anything I want. I appreciate having the opportunity to explore at my own pace, not being afraid to get temporarily misplaced (because you are never truly lost), and finding adventure in unexpected places. I’m already a quarter of the way through my time in Hong Kong, and already it has been such an enriching experience. I cannot wait to see what the future brings!