The first week of school has officially ended for me and so far I am quite pleased with my courses. All of my courses are taught in English, but 3 out of 4 classes are taken with local students so I am excited to befriend local students!
Along with attending classes, I have also begun exploring Hong Kong. The place I will be talking about today will be Mongkok, one of Hong Kong’s busiest districts.
Mongkok is located on the west side of the Kowloon Peninsula, and roughly a 30 minute trip from HKBU (~20min walk to the MTR station + 10 minute MTR ride). I have visited Mongkok a total of 4 times, once last summer when I was in Hong Kong for a day, and a total of 3 times since coming back; once with my room mate, once with my cousin and once by myself.
Let me say this first, Mongkok is definitely an area directed towards tourists BUT, locals do come and shop in the area. This area is definitely a shopping district and houses one of Hong Kong’s famous open markets, Ladies Street, which can sell anything from cell phone accessories to that fake LV bag you want. Aside from open markets there is “low” and “high”end shopping, for example the Argyle Center is “low” end shopping paradise for middle – college female students while the Langham Place is “high” end shopping, similar to King of Prussia.
If you are a shopper that likes to take their time strolling on the sidewalk without people bumping into you, then Mongkok is NOT for you. There’s a Chinese idiom that I learned, 人山人海 (ren shan ren hai), which is a metaphor that means a lot of people. You will find people from all over the world, especially those from Mainland China rolling suitcases on the street. I asked my cousin why there are some many people with suitcases and she explained to me because now the Chinese RMB is worth more than the Hong Kong Dollar, it is common for people from Shenzhen (a city from the Guangdong province in China) to come to Hong Kong and stock up on on items like cosmetics, jewelery/gold, Chinese herbal medicine and baby formula (though Hong Kong has put a limit on how many cans of baby formula one can bring out of Hong Kong).
Hong Kong built these pedestrian overpasses that connect people to big shopping malls and MTR stations to direct the flow of traffic off the main streets. My cousins joke around that because of these overpasses, you will hardly see people walking on the street anymore (which holds some truth to an extent).
When I was walking around the area, I have seen over 10+ jewelery/gold shops from the same 3-4 companies within a 4 block radius (specifically Nathan Road). I personally find it quite sad that there is such an abundant in these type of shops (not just in Mongkok but in the plaza’s near school!) because there can be so much more than jewelery and gold stores. It also is quite annoying to see the same 3-4 companies when walking down a block and I wonder how these companies have not gone bankrupt yet (genuine question!)