Stickman Readers' Submissions December 22nd, 2009

Notes on Hong Kong

Just a few observations from a recent business trip to Hong Kong which was supposed to be all business but I seemed to find every night a night on the town in the end. I was trying to capture the fun I have in Bangkok but really didn’t find it sadly.

  • If the people were white and spoke better English you'd be in London only more expensive!
  • Price wise it's pretty expensive- as I type its 38 HK$ s a pint during happy hour. That's just over £3, now a lot of places standard price is 60 HK $s so over £5 a pint!
  • Not like most South-East Asian countries, there is a distinct lack of street food. It's very clean in the streets if not a little unruly like most Asian cities. People speak pretty good English in general.
  • Women are distinctly different. For instance Thailand is the place of the hunt for the 'good girl'. Guys, you are looking in wrong place. Get to Neptune disco / bar and they are there packed in amongst limited 'working' girls. There's also a large contingent or Filipino cleaners who are looking to top up income / retire from cleaning for you.
  • Challenge, I got approached in disco once by a 4/10 – well that's a shocker for me in any Asian country. Now in Hong Kong the girls are looking for money – not a bit of money i.e. me with pocket of cash but young. They are looking for the old guys with serious cash. Now older Stickmanites, there's opportunities for the more experienced blagger!
  • Food is awesome BUT eating Chinese all the time is not like eating Thai all the time – it tends to bloat you, very few 'light' dishes. International cuisine however is very good and available, for me though I do like to eat the cuisine of the country when I’m there.
  • I've got to throw in a hotel recommendatio- as it really was that good – The Cosmo Hotel. Now this will be good for limited people. Basically a pretty standard 1 bedroom 25 square metre hotel room costs best part of £100 a night. Now for me and my brother, rather than book 2 rooms we got a 2 bedroom 85 square metre suite for £200- and worth every penny.
  • There's is something too easy about Hong Kong – it lacks a challenge. I am enjoying it however I can say after 1 and a half days I’m a little bored of it. Cities like Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok after planning to spend 2-3 days there I always end up spending weeks and loving it. Can’t put my finger on it perhaps it being so modern, it’s a little too ‘safe’.
  • The expat / white folk / tourists of HK – I'm yet to speak to one. It's not a friendly bunch. I'm not saying hostile but certainly not friendly. I did eventually speak to a few people, all of whom I had to go out of my way to start up a conversation with. It wasn’t the natural banter you get in other cities.
  • Thai girls out of Thailand – there is a girl at a bar/ club who is paid to dance – ONLY dance, she is not bar finable I’ve been informed by a local. I did pick up a Thai girl eventually, but it was a bit like dating in the west. I had to approach her and start up a conversation, and then ply her with drinks. Cash didn’t trade hands. I did sleep with her. I did have a couple of pay to play experiences – and I’ll have to say very good, very safe, very expensive. 1700 HK $ (£150) gets you short time whereas a lady drink in a strip club will set you back a staggering price of 396 HK$ (£38). Now luckily I spotted this up on the wall before making the mistake of ordering. It was early and I was the only customer so having spoken to the mamasan I agreed on a price of 300 HK$ (£28) for a drink for me and 2 mixer drinks for 2 of the girls. I only had long time once and that was actually in China so hard to give fair comparison but it was cheaper. I ordered a massage to my room from concierge in a nice western hotel and after an hour and a half of excellent massage I noticed a rather amusing technique she used. Best let me add at this point she doesn’t speak a word of English. She suddenly just removes jeans, gets a condom and says to me ‘secs’. I end up negotiating with her pimp on the phone and agree a price of 1500 Yuan (£140) for the whole night.
  • Music AWESOME. Great Filipino bands and in general good taste / retro covers. A side note, all the Filipino cleaners have the day off on Sundays and nightlife here is best therefore on Sunday nights, especially if you are looking for a cheaper option. This is by far the most fun part of Hong Kong that I saw. Sunday is awash with attractive Filipino out to enjoy the only time off they get. All the bars and clubs are packed with girls dancing and enjoying themselves. I noticed they tend to be very conservative drinkers and only have 2 – 3 drinks a night but have an awesome time. On the Sunday you’ll see a mass exodus of the girls at approx 9:00PM as girls with Chinese bosses have a curfew imposed on them.
  • Only things here comparatively cheap = travel taxis/MRT. Problem with taxis is similar to Bangkok in that it takes way too long to get anywhere due to traffic which is most annoying. There's a lot of bamboo scaffolding, which is an old tradition that I do wonder if it’s being kept for novelty value.
  • Very few ATMs – I found loads in an area with banks but in general no bank nearby, no ATM – a bit annoying. They have 7 Elevens but these didn’t have ATMs in them.
  • Skyscrapers – unless you spend your life with your head tilted back at 45 degrees you'll not notice after the original wow. It is very impressive, though unlike Singapore I didn’t see any new developments which I find intriguing.
  • Looks wise and I know this is totally skewed due to urban migration of attractive girls. But in Hong Kong the average girls are average. Hot girls are rare compared to Thailand where your average girl is hot and the hot girls are stunners and plentiful.

In summary, Hong Kong is a good city and there’s some fun to be had. I’d recommend a lot of other cities to visit before Hong Kong. The best day I actually had in my week or so there was a trip out of the city, to a beach called Shek O. Great big waves coming in, clean beach, warm water and not too busy for the weekend. Ate in an excellent Mediterranean style restaurant on the beach – I forget the name, but you’ll see it if you visit there. I’d return to Hong Kong only due to business otherwise I’d say it’s not worth a second visit. Maybe I’ll discover more next time and change my mind. I hope so.

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Stickman's thoughts:

I like Hong Kong but it's not the first choice for wild nor affordable nightlife.

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