Author Archives: Samantha

Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

Hi everyone!

This past Tuesday was Chinese New Year! This is the Year of the Pig, which means there has been a lot of pink mixed in with the traditional red and gold.

We wanted to try and experience Chinese New Year in Hong Kong best we could, but I think the best way to celebrate it is with family. If you are thinking about visiting Hong Kong, I would suggest avoiding Chinese New Year and the crowds of tourists. Many enjoy the experience, but I personally find Hong Kong on a regular day just as charming and less packed!

Here are the three things we did to celebrate:

The Flower Market

Oranges are used for decoration to invite Prosperity

This was far and away my favorite! The market was packed with plants and people, and has a great energy. There were rows upon rows of the bright Mandarin orange trees. I didn’t buy any orange trees or other CNY decorative plants, but got a few leafy houseplants to keep in my dorm room.

If you visit the flower market, I recommend going in the morning- as the day progresses it becomes more and more packed.

The Parade

The crowds at the parade in TST

Tuesday, the first day of the Lunar New Year, we went to see the parade in Tsim Sha Tsui, a neighboring area to campus. The route was packed, mostly with visitors from Mainland China and other places around the world. It was fun since I went with friends, but overall between the crowds and the slow pace of the parade made it the least exciting activity of the week.

The Fireworks

CNY fireworks over the water

Wednesday night had a 20 minute firework display to celebrate. We viewed from the waterfront near the dorms, which wasn’t the best angle but it was a good show and the weather was great at night. There were more crowds towards the better viewing points, but we found an area that had a lot less traffic so it was easier to see.

Overall, Hong Kong during Chinese New Year is certainly an experience. However, I would personally recommend coming before CNY. Starting about mid-January all the stores began setting up displays, and the flower market began its seasonal transformation. During Chinese New Year however I found that there were many more tourists than usual, and several of the things my friends and I enjoy doing usually were closed. I think the period leading up to the holiday is just as vibrant, less crowded and easier to enjoy the city!

Have you celebrated Chinese New Year? What was your favorite part? I’d love to know!

Best,
Sam

PolyU Exchange Student City Tour

Hi everyone!  This weekend I had the pleasure of going on one of the excursions PolyU set up for exchange students to join in on.  We visited 3 different spots and got to experience a variety of things on our trip.

The day started at 9am, meeting up on campus to take a bus to our first destination.  About 30 minute ride from the bustling city area is Repulse Bay Beach, a beautiful location with a great swimming area.  It is still a bit too cold to swim here, so my friends and I looked at the statues, shops and scenery.

Morning at Repulse Bay Beach

A bridge that promises to add 3 days to your life every time you cross

Me sipping an espresso at a cafe on the beach

After that, we loaded back onto the bus to get lunch!  We were served Dim Sum, a Hong Kong classic where everyone just grabs from the middle.  I was surprised at how many things were served, one after the other.  It was a great way to try lots of dishes.

Our next destination was Stanley Markets, where we were able to shop from local vendors for souvenirs.  I got a tee shirt that says “Hong Kong” in English and in Chinese, as well as a saucer to go under the potted plants I bought a few weeks ago. Shopping in the markets here is fun because you never really know what to expect.

Overall, it was great having a chartered bus tour us around the western side of Hong Kong Island.  I’m glad PolyU arranged the trip for us, and I’m looking forwards to the other ones I signed up for!

Best,

Sam

Class Break – Hiking in Hong Kong

Hi everyone!

This week I started classes at PolyU.  Since it was the first week, it was very preliminary, but as time goes on I’m sure there will be more to report on.  However, now that the jet lag has settled, it’s time to explore!

View from the Trail

This weekend my friends and I escaped from the city for a day trip hike!  Hong Kong is an incredible city bustling with energy, but just outside the big city are beautiful beaches and hiking trails.  I love the city but getting out and climbing was a blast- plus the views were stunning.

The Trail Sign at Dragon’s Back

Hong Kong has many hiking trails, and I would love to explore more during my time here.  Once the weather warms up a bit (it’s been hovering around 65 degrees Fahrenheit) I want to hike to a beach.  It’s definitely an all day affair however- we headed out from the dorms at 10am and did not return until after 6!

Do you know any great nature spots to check out in Hong Kong?

Best,

Sam

First Week in Hong Kong

Hi everyone!

It’s my first week in Hong Kong!

The jet lag has been pretty difficult (13 hours is a big difference!) but everyone has been very nice and I am excited to be spending the next 4 months here. Hong Kong reminds me a lot of New York City, and also Los Angeles. There are lots of cool shops and tasty places to eat.

PolyU has a beautiful (and convenient) campus, and meeting other exchange students from around the world is very fun. I’m excited to start classes next week, and see how they compare and differ from those at FIT.

While I am excited for all to come, I’m definitely tired! It is a lot of adjustment coming to not only a new country but a new school. PolyU uses Blackboard like FIT, but their methods of checking out classrooms to work in and other policies and procedures are different. I feel like a freshman all over again!

Overall I am more excited than ever to explore, learn and meet new people. The first week of any new endeavor is always challenging, but what I have seen so far makes me even more excited for what is to come.

Looking forwards to share more,
Sam

Hong Kong Bucket List

Hi everyone!
If you read my last post, you’ll know I’m headed to Hong Kong for an exchange semester with Hong Kong Polytechnic University!  As I pack up to leave, I thought I would share what is on my bucket list to do while I am there.
Hong Kong Disney Land
I’d love to go see Hong Kong Disney land, and see what it is like compared to my experiences at home with Disney!
Go to a Concert
One of my favorite things to do in NYC is catch a show of a band I like, and it would be super cool to have that experience on the other side of the world!  Unfortunately tour dates might not align, but I would love to see one of my favorite bands abroad if I have the chance.
Visit the Beaches!
Hong Kong is not just an jam packed cityscape, it also has beautiful beaches as it has loads of coastline.  I love going to the beach, and hope to check out a few different options.
Find a Favorite Coffee Shop
Going out for coffee with friends or with homework is so relaxing, and I want to find a local spot I love to study and socialize at.
Visit Starbucks and McDonalds
I know I can do this any day in New York but I’m curious to try the local specials!  I read an article that showcased special soft-serve flavors that are sometimes served at Hong Kong McDonalds locations, and I’m eager to taste-test.
Shop at the Night Markets
Hong Kong is infamous for its beautiful night markets, where vendors serve food and sell a variety of items.  I’d love to get a souvenir or two from one!
Attend a Sporting Event
Rugby and Equestrian sports are very popular in Hong Kong, and I have never been to an event for either.  It would be really cool to go and cheer on a team or horse!
I’m sure many more things will get added to this list, especially as I explore!  As I accomplish something on the list, I’ll share here so you can follow along.
Sam