Shopping for a camera in Hong Kong
Junk (chinese boat) sailing in Hong Kong
On my flight to Hong Kong I watched a movie about the triads in Hong Kong. In the movie they made a clear point that Kowloon is an area of Hong Kong with lots of gang activity. So where do I go looking for a hostel in Hong Kong – Kowloon of course, sounded like a happening kind of place.
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Busy street in Hong Kong
Chungking Mansions, this is an entrance to a building with estimated over 4,000 people living in
On a quick look I had found that a place called Chungking Mansions that seemed to have a lot of hostels. I don’t quite know what I was expecting, an area full of houses I suppose, but this is what I found, a slightly dodgy looking entrance to a huge skyscraper complex. Trust me, it’s much dodgier at night time.
The entrance is surprisingly low key, considering the the huge area it holds behind it, it’s estimated that over 4,000 people live there. The ground floor a mix of restaurants, Internet cafes, clothes shops, laundries, electronic stores, grocery stores and whatever you might need. You could live there and never go outside.
Famous Hong Kong skyline at night
Hong Kong skyline as seen during daytime, when it's not raining
My hostel was on the fourteenth floor, which of course conjures images of nice views, but sadly this was not to be as the hostel was deep inside the building, even the lobby of the hostel had no views of any kind.
One word of advice, you will always have to reserve ten minutes for the lift ride down and up. There is only two tiny lifts serving each block (there are six blocks in total), one stopping at even floors and the other lift at uneven floors. You will be waiting for a lift, especially since the lifts can only carry maximum of seven people, and if they all are western sized, then not even that.
Busy street life near Times Square in Hong Kong
Some of the escalators to the Time Square shopping mall
Times Square shopping mall
Hong Kong does seem like the camera shoppers paradise, just purely at random from Chunking Mansions I could find half a dozen camera shops in a just a few blocks; big Canon and Nikon signs everywhere. But as this was going for my insurance, I decided to head somewhere a little more respectable, as I had heard a few bad stories of buying a camera from Kowloon. So I headed to Times Square a very nice shopping center down town Hong Kong.
After checking out half a dozen shops, I found a small store specializing in DSLR cameras (not that there is a lack of those) that had the Canon Canon EOS 550D and Tokina 11-16mm F/2.8 lens I was looking for in stock. Excellent.
Double decker trams, why don't we have these in London?
And that is one word of advice, if you are traveling with a DSLR, you will want an insurance for your DSLR, as basic travel insurance will won’t cover the whole cost of an expensive DSLR and lens.
Back alley, Hong Kong style
Hong Kong street as seen from above
Red taxi, the only ones that go to Kowloon
Next it was a matter of testing out my camera. And there is no better place for that than Hong Kong. Hong Kong is just filled with photo opportunities of all kinds. You have the street life, food, night city, traffic, people. Anything you might want. Although it was raining most of the time when I was there, so this was limiting my opportunities somewhat.
I only had three days in Hong Kong this time, enough to buy the camera, but not for much else, and there is a so much to see in Hong Kong. I will be coming back here later this year. And I think I will have to take at least a few weeks so I can cover everything.
People waiting at traffic lights
Photography in Hong Kong night
Star Ferry, the best way to get across the harbour from Kowloon to down town
One thing you of course have to see in Hong Kong is Victoria Peak (aka the Peak), which is a mountain on the Hong Kong island, giving you an amazing view of the Hong Kong skyline. There is a tram that takes you on top, but be prepared to queue, there will be a lot of people who want to see the view.
Hong Kong as seen from the Peak