We arrived in Hong Kong with such anticipation to find ourselves in the smallest hotel room. This was a room that would make a claustrophobic sweat. At about 12 square meters including an en-suite bathroom, this room cost almost 100$ which was very expensive according to Asian standards. But we expected such an enclosure. What do you expect from one of the most dense cities in the world !? The lack of space caused demands for denser constructions, which developed the city to a center for modern architecture and the world’s most vertical city.
As one of the world’s leading international financial centers, Hong Kong has a major capitalist service economy characterized by low taxation and free trade. The region had minimum government intervention under the ethos of positive non-interventionism during the British colonial era. The time period greatly influenced the current culture of Hong Kong. So How does a city like this cope under the current Chinese Communist China sovereignty ?
I must say from a visitor’s point of view, Hong Kong seem to have kept its liberal capitalist roots. After traveling both in both Hong Kong and Mainland China, I can clearly say that HK is no more Chinese than Singapore. Due to its mixture of people and cultures, HK is often described as “East meets West”. Especially in SoHo, the multicultural wine, dine, booze, and boogie side of Central. In the 90s, when the long escalator was built, a few foreigners started to move into the area, taking up both commercial premises and renting flats. Nowadays it is still the hip place where the expats flock at night time.
Under the principle of “one country, two systems”, Hong Kong has a different political system from mainland China. In fact when arriving upon Hong Kong, there is no need for a tourist visa.
When visiting HK, you obviously need to pass by Victoria Harbour in Tsim Sha Tsui . There you will find the famous Avenue of stars modelled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it honours celebrities of the Hong Kong film industry. At 8pm at night you can enjoy a pleasant light show synchronized with music. I have been informed that other cities such as Singapore was also inspired to follow in the same tradition with a daily laser show on the Marina Bay Sands.
In this concrete jungle, you can definitely find a great assortment of high-rises designed by my heroes of architecture. Bank of China by I M Pei, HSBC Building by Sir Foster, International Financial Centre by César Pelli , and even the twin brutalist style skyscrapers, Lippo Centre, by Paul Rudolph … just to name a FEW