Today, Hong Kong is pretty much unchanged although a bit shinier, and perhaps glitzier.
Many who fled prior to 1997 have returned.
Hong Kong currently ranks as one of the top 10 most expensive destinations in the world. Staying at one of the upscale hotels will certainly make a dent in your wallet. However, there are very reasonable choices in the mid range price category.
The area to stay, if you want to be right in the thick of it, is Kowloon, or specifically the Tsim Sha Tsui area.
For about $110 USD a night, we chose the Butterfly On Prat. Hidden in a small alley, as many of the best secrets in Hong Kong usually are, is this small, unassuming property. We walked right past it on our first visit there and the doorman fetched us a few doors down the road to ask if we were looking for "the Butterfly".
Standard rooms are on the smallish side but very modern and nicely appointed. We didn't expect much of a view based on the location and size of the property (122 rooms), and we didn't get one. However, the best thing about this property is the staff. Everyone we encountered were helpful, courteous, and professional. Never mind that they put us in room 911.
Christmas is coming in Hong Kong.
There are still temples scattered around Hong Kong but praying in them is more limited to "the few" and visiting tourists. Only on specific Buddhist holidays do the masses make their visits.
This oily, slightly smoked and dried meat is a very useful ingredient for flavoring just about anything from vegetable to rice dishes.
Hong Kong is a vibrant, exciting city and certainly worth a visit, even if you're not a shopper. The food is very good, and when you think about it, isn't any more expensive than eating out back home. Especially since there's no tipping here. The best bargains are still the small restaurants where you can get a bowl of "jook" (rice porridge) in the morning, or noodle soup, wontons, or roast goose well after midnight.
*Hong Kong Tip: Purchase an Octopus Card and use it on Buses, the MTR, Ferries, Convenience Stores and for many other purchases. Just look for the Octopus Card logo. Every time you scan your card, it gives you a reading of the balance left on the card and you can top it off at many locations throughout the city. It's valid for up to three years after your last top-off date.
Hong Kong time: