Hong Kong is close and cheap to get to from Shanghai. It is a decent three hour flight and I arrived in the evening at about 6pm. Because Hong Kong technically is part of China, you would assume it is similar to China. Well, YOU ARE WRONG. Hong Kong is everything except China.
It used to be British colony and you need to treat it like that. Hong Kong is like London New York mixture on a Stockholm island formation where by chance mostly Chinese people are living on. It is more Western than most Eastern European countries. You have an incredibly infrastructure. Highly efficient transport, well planned living and people are as polite as the British!
So, I effectively had 4 days to spend and get the most out of Hong Kong. Unfortunately, the weather was very cloudy and foggy, so I did not do any of the walking tours on the hills, but only stayed in the city. On Sunday, I visited the local Saddleback church and it was only there that I realised that all Hong Kong people one or the other education are very good speakers of the English language. It literally felt like the UK, because it technically used to be the UK. Yes, they were handed over to China some 25 years ago, but they do not look and feel like it. Theses Chinese people have tasted freedom and they are not going to give it back. It is as easy as that. For the rest of Sunday I walked around Central on Hong Kong island and took a double decker tram (!) to the east.
On Monday, I went to Macau with Adam from StudyChina who also was staying in Hong Kong. Macau is another special administrative region of China, and a former Portuguese colony. It really is just a Las Vegas clone in Asia. We got there at about noon and left at about 8pm. We saw Chinese people gamble away my tuition of three years in at least three casinos in less than 5 minutes. I have never seen so much pain in a man’s face, haha. They all had fun for some seconds and then they suffered — a lot. Casino cities are weird and you never really find a meaning to them, because they do not have a meaning. Everything is tailored towards you gambling. Everything. It was fun in the beginning, but it got really boring in the end, because it was just about taking money from rich bored people (Chinese business man) to other rich bored people (the casino owners). Nothing else to see there.
On Tuesday, I went to the local Science and Technology Museum which was very good. They had shows on both the Hadron Collider AND Climate Change and both were very well executed. I had pizza with my amazing AirBnB host in the evening.
On Wednesday, I met with a friend who did an exchange semester at Exeter University last September. We had sushi (sooooo good in Hong Kong!) at Central. I planned to go to two museums that day, but somehow failed to find the way to each and ende up just walking around campus and Hong Kong. You cannot always get what you want.
On Thursday, it was already time to leave for another two days of Shanghai. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) my flight was delayed by 5 hours, so I could go into Hong Kong for some more time. I bought some outlet shoes and had a sandwich.
Overall, I really enjoyed going to Hong Kong and I think that any China experience without Hong Kong is a very skewed experience. Hong Kong is part of China, but so much different. It will reverse any expectations you have of China and give a PROPER picture of all the kind of people you meet in Asia.