The following is a 10 step guide to things that you should not do if you find yourself with 48 hours to spend in Hong Kong.
- Give up your spot in line for Little Bao.
It can be tempting to abandon your place during the 30-45 minute standard wait time at Little Bao. You'll stand around with other foodies and scenesters from across the globe, a United Nations of foodstagramers, and start to doubt that a little rice bun wrapped around some Americana-inspired meat could be that great. Let me assure it is. It is like the ingredients got together in a protest against sex, puppies, AFL football, sunset campfires shared with loved ones, the voice of Dallas Green and anything else that is good in life, and said 'Let's show them what this life is really about!'
- Swim across the bay.
Don't be daunted about how far across the Kowloon looks from Hong Kong island. There's no need to pull out the cap and goggles. Just jump on one of the many ferries for only $2.50HK. It was the cheapest scenic tourism experience I have since that time I stowed away in the back of a Coke truck and got a free tour of rural Russia.
- Expect the light show to be better than the one you did as a kid in your backyard with torches
It won't be. Although you'll see amazing photos of a clear sky, filled with lasers that look like giant Jedi's are road testing new lightsabers, the reality is something different. It will be overcast, the "lasers" will be old searchlights left over from WW2 that need their globes changed and the music soundtrack accompanying the 'show' will be out of sync and straight from a Chinese dating show.
- Go to that outer neighbourhood read about in TimeOut in search of street art.
When you get there you will be underwhelmed at the peeling paste up that looks like it was done by Continuing Adult Education night class. Instead, hit up PMQ in the Soho area and check out a building's worth of amazing creativity that is bubbling away around the edges of Hong Kong culture.
- Think Starbucks is your only coffee option.
If you find yourself in a Starbucks in Hong Kong it will be because you are either; American, desperate to use the toilet after those dodgy prawn dumplings at lunch or on a Tinder lunch date and this place was across the road from where you are working. If you aren't a citizen of a doomed country, able to control your bowel movements and spend your business trip seeing the local sites as opposed to the locals, then great coffee is yours for the taking. Elephant Grounds, The Cupping Room and the hard to find Artisan Cafe will keep you dosed right.
- Stay anywhere but Tuve Hotel.
Who doesn't want to walk outside their door each morning and feel like they are on a shoot for Esquire or Vogue? This place is like a VR experience inside every design magazine or blog you have ever seen. It is all black steel, aluminium, white and bright spaces and exposed concrete. Everyone looks ten times more attractive, stylish and wealthy inside its walls. It is the Wonka factory of cool. Plus their little bathroom toiletries all smell great.
- Go into I.T and feel like the clothes you have on are remotely cool.
It doesn't matter how good the Tuve hotel may have you feeling that, unless you are Kanye, I.T will make you feel as cool as a rotting cucumber left on the vine at a vegetable farm abandoned due to drought-related hardship. I imagine if you are Kanye (Hi Mr West, thanks for reading my stuff) this place would feel like Target. But for the rest of us, this mix of Japanese and Scandinavian designer streetwear is just so damn cool. It feels like security are there to act almost as bouncers, not letting anyone in the shop who doesn't look right, lest they detract from the mannequins.
- Expect your request for a flight upgrade will be denied.
Look we didn't get one, but asking didn't get the same response it gets here in conservative Australia. The flight attendants of the major Hong Kong airline we were flying with genuinely checked and tried to see if an upgrade was available. Unfortunately, the flight was fully booked. In Australia, if you were to ask you'd almost be kicked off the flight and added to a terrorist watch list. It is as if asking is an affront to our notion of a classless society. Hong Kongers seem to think that if a seat is free, someone should be allowed to sit there. My point is; just ask. You never know what you may get. How do you think China got Hong Kong back from Britain?
- Think you can work on your screenplay whilst waiting for the train.
This won't happen. Mostly because the trains are super efficient and arrive every 5 minutes. But, it also has something to do with the fact you can't move beyond page 17 and start the second act.
- Try and save money.
Hong Kong is a super expensive place. Even the ATMs often will cost you more to use than what you take out. Real estate is so expensive in Hong Kong that a friend of a friend has started buying up broom cabinets in apartment complexes as a speculative property investment. Even the land local government rubbish bins sit on is worth more than the median house price in Brisbane. But the food, culture and energy you'll absorb will be worth every one of your Hong Kong dollars.