Home > Matt Explains > How I spent 1.5 hours…or 5 minutes…or 44 hours…or 20 hours in Hong Kong

How I spent 1.5 hours…or 5 minutes…or 44 hours…or 20 hours in Hong Kong


The beginning of my trip to South Africa hit a rocky patch, or, as I believe I said at some point, very nearly did not happen.

When I had one and a half hours to spend there I was going to spend all of my time in the lounge, reading, catching up on odds and ends.  Sadly, due to a weather delay, I did not get one and a half hours in Hong Kong.  Instead, I had five minutes…

Which I spent franticly running to find my gate, only to find that there was no way to get there without a boarding pass which I did not yet have.  Instead, I ran to try to find someone to print me off a boarding pass for the flight that I was in the process of missing.  Needless to say, it did not happen.  I instead made my way to the Dragonair desk to figure out the next move.  The answer I got back after over an hour of searching was that there was nothing they could guarantee for 44 hours.  With only a week to spend in South Africa, this was not looking good.  There was, however, nothing much I could do.  The Typhoon had caused me to miss my flight by the narrowest of margins and since I was so far from Johannesburg there was really only one flight per day.  We checked all of the options, even checking some unusual routes (Hong Kong to Doha, Qatar to Dubai (20 minute flight) to Johannesburg).  No luck.  I had a guaranteed seat two days later and a hotel room offered by Dragonair who went above and beyond to find a solution to the problem.  I finally got to my hotel at around 3:30 in the morning, exhausted and frustrated that I was not on my way to South Africa yet.

I had 44 hours to spend in Hong Kong.  To fill the time I decided to do a few old favorites, and perhaps, if the weather cooperated visit Victoria’s Peak, one of the major destinations that I had never been to.  In my 44 hours I fit in all of my recommendations.  I ate, shopped and wandered my way around Hong Kong.  I also, around 7:00 on Saturday night, made my way to the airport to see if I could get on that night’s flight to Johannesburg.  I got to the airport about 4 hours early to get my name on the list.  Things did not look good, but I had to give it a shot.  I was first on the list.  The next three hours passed agonizingly slowly.  Waiting to find out if I still had another day in Hong Kong or if I could get on the flight that night.  At 10:30 I was told that while business class (what my ticket was for) was full, they did have 1 last economy seat they could offer.  I have never been and probably will never again be so happy to have the middle seat in economy for a 13 hour flight.  I could have waited another day for my confirmed business class seat, but with a day already missing from my trip it just was not worth it.  The
20 hours I had in Hong Kong were enough.  It was time to move on and start my adventure in South Africa.

If you find yourself stranded (or visiting for a short time) in Hong Kong the three things that I suggest you fill your time with are:

1.) Shopping: The national pastime of Hong Kong.  Prices are decent, though not amazing, but the selection rivals any other city on earth.  Hong Kong is lacking in a lot of tourist sites.  It seems to me that most people visit to shop.  Since everyone else was doing it I joined the holiday throngs (China’s National Day) and hit the mall.  I wound up with a few things that I had wanted to the trip was not completely without reason.
2.) Eat: What people in Hong Kong do when they are not shopping.  The food selection here is amazing.  Hong Kong is a city where east meets west and the flavors of both are combined wonderfully in Hong Kong.  Dim Sum, Western, Indian, Chinese and pretty much any other flavor you can think of are represented here and carried out to perfection.3.) Wander:  There are so many hidden wonders that to just wander is a great activity.  From hidden markets to riding the Star Ferry, there is a ton to see.  The city is so full of energy that, even though I did not really want to be there, it is impossible not to get excited about the pace of life.Before this, it had been a few years since I have visited Hong Kong.  This detour reminded me that there are plenty of good reasons to go back, perhaps most of all to finally make it up Victoria’s Peak.

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