The adventure begins…and why I hated Hong Kong…

On the 24th of August we began our international adventure, flying from Cape Town with British Airways (Traveller). We had our breakfast which was mediocre and I almost choked on some really spices beans with peppers. I was so excited that it didn’t really matter – and wise Derek had bought us breakfast at Mugg and Bean while we waited for our flight. We arrived in Johannesburg at around 9:30am local time and we had enough time to go through security and immigration. We decided not to collect our baggage and check in again as we were worried that might gobble up the little time we had. The flight to Hong Kong was at 12:30 local time so we just hoped our bags would actually be routed correctly and be in Hong Kong when we arrived. The last two Couchsurfers who stayed with us both lost their bags when flying to Cape Town. Imagine being in a strange city with literally nothing to wear other than the sweaty clothes you wore on your 12hr flight…

Breakfast on British Airways

This time we flew Premium Economy with Cathay Pacific – we were quite lucky because Derek had miles with British Airways Executive Club so we paid R 4700 for two tickets for Cape Town – Johannesburg – Hong Kong – Pnom Penh! Bargain!  Now if you are wondering what the difference is between Premium Economy and Economy class…well, the seats were slightly more comfortable and there was a little bit more leg room – and that was it. The advertised “Priority Boarding” was a joke, as you only get your boarding pass checked separately from Economy, but once you reach the aircraft you are directed into the Economy queue to actually board the plane. Once we were aboard we got welcome drinks, and a menu from which to order – we were getting lunch, supper and breakfast because that was a 12 hour flight. That’s where the “Priority” treatment ended.

On two occasions the meals that Derek wanted were not available because the crew were serving Economy first and by the time they reached Premium Economy most of the meals were already served. So there was no value there at all, one would probably have been better off in Economy class. There was a wide variety of movies to watch which actually kept us entertained and happy for a few hours and I was very satisfied with the selection. Anytime in the night we could ask for instant noodles and snacks but we just had one portion. I didn’t particularly like them – I wouldn’t rate the food on Cathay Pacific as being good at all – rather mediocre…

At 07:45 we arrived in Hong Kong and I had my first experience of the Asian heat and humidity as we were exiting the plane. Of course I was dressed in leggings and wearing a warm jacket so that didn’t help matters either. The airport is so big in order for us to collect our baggage we had to take a train which is located inside the airport. Thank heaven’s our bags arrived with us…we continued with the tedious process of going through immigration, buying an Octopus card for our public transport and doing foreign exchange. Then we headed straight to the transportation terminal where we caught our bus A21 to our hotel in Kowloon where the cheaper hotels and accommodations are located.


As I was in the bus I was falling more and more in love with the greener side of Hong Kong. The little of the country side we got to see was actually beautiful and quiet. Then we hit our area Tsim She Tsui, which is a urban area in Southern Kowloon…that place was ridiculously busy! We got off at our bus stop and started dragging our backpacks along (luckily they have wheels) When we got to the building housing the Green House ‘hotel’ we took what seemed to be the smallest lift I had ever seen in my life to the 5th floor. We had booked the hotel on for $75 US and when we arrived, we had to let our selves in with the passcode we were given by the owner via WhatsApp. The ‘hotel’ was so tiny, there was no reception area and no staff. We had arranged with him to leave our bags there because check in was only at 15:00 and we had arrived around 09:45 HKG time. When we contacted him he said we must leave them in the tiny passage leading to the 5 rooms. We didn’t agree because we have quite expensive equipment and we don’t know the other people occupying the rooms.After some discussion via WhatsApp he said the cleaner would come around 11:00, so we should leave and return then!

So off we went on a mission to find food and a place that had at least a cooling system of sorts because we were dying from the heat. We found a Pakistani restaurant over the road after dragging our bags around for at least 30mins. The food there was OK but pricey for the portion. We had butter chicken with rice for $25 with two soda’s and two small bottles of water. Then we waited there till 11:00 before returning to our mini ‘hotel’ to leave our bags in the room.

We both changed into shorts before exploring the city. First we caught the Star Ferry across Causeway Bay. It was just beautiful and the ferry was under a dollar  – the cheapest thing we got to experience during our stay there. Once we got to the other side of the bay we took a bus to Victoria Peak for $1 US.  The bus ride gave us a good view of the city and also the green and lush area en route to Victoria Peak…Photo opportunities abounded once we reached to viewing deck at the top of the peak. We wanted to buy an ice-cream or smoothy, but changed our mind on seeing the crazy tourist trap prices ๐Ÿ™‚ We caught the bus back to the harbor and enjoyed the breezy ferry trip across the bay once more…dozing along the way as lack of sleep started to kick in…


Back in the ridiculously small 3 x 3m room at our ‘hotel’ we freshened up and went sight seeing in the area. Our main mission was food hunting…When Derek was in Hong Kong 15 years ago he had been to the famous Temple Street night market so we headed there. It was quite a walk from the hotel and when we got there not much was going on as they were still setting up so we decided to grab an early supper at a local place. I had prawn dim sum and Derek had a strange looking long dim sum – we both ordered freshly made local drinks.  We then went over the road to a seafood place where we sat next to two guys who are South Africans! They loved Hong Kong and the vibe and we chatted about politics in South Africa and the challenges the country faces…

I quickly learned that if you are a person with money to burn, if you love fashion and the busy vibe then Hong Kong could be the place for you. For me, I was just very overwhelmed and not in a good way. I turned to Derek and said ‘I don’t like it here’, He replied: “Well part of the reason why I wanted you to see Hong Kong is because it’s exactly what we are escaping from, the consumerism, the hectic pace and the life of opulence”.



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Akhona Kraai

Akhona Kraai is business graduate and qualified TEFL teacher. She is an aspiring online content creator with a passion for travel, writing, photography, nature conservation and animal welfare.

4 thoughts on “The adventure begins…and why I hated Hong Kong…

  • 27/08/2017 at 2:38 pm

    It’s good to experience things first hand so it was smart of Derek to let you see and experience the lifestyle of Hong Kong yourself. I’m super excited for you guys. Can’t wait for your next post. ๐Ÿ’œ

    • 28/08/2017 at 4:42 pm

      yes friend….thank you so much mwah

  • 28/08/2017 at 9:08 pm

    Wow.. it’s true when they say “hamba uzobona sana” I look forward to reading some more about your travels :).

  • 28/08/2017 at 11:25 pm

    As I’m reading…am trying to imagine it and having pictures in my head. So lovely maarn….enjoy. please write again soon

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