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Five things you didn't know about Hong Kong

Vicky Ward, Events Project Manager, recently embarked upon an exciting journey to Hong Kong, looking at unique corporate event ideas for the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) industry. Staying three nights in the heart of the city's prime shopping district, Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon, she discovered many fascinating things along the way.

1. There’s so much to do in Hong Kong

With the help of hosts Rebecca from ‘Virgin Atlantic’ and Simon from ‘Avenue,’ Vicky had three fun-packed days in one of the busiest cities in the world. “Virgin Atlantic provided an amazing service from the minute we set off. At Heathrow Airport, we thoroughly enjoyed the lavish Virgin Atlantic Lounge before flying. There were drinks, food, TV, quiet chill-out areas and access to a Salon and Jacuzzi, so I felt nice and relaxed before our 12-hour flight ahead. When we boarded we were sat in Premium Economy bulk head seats, which provided extra leg room and comfort.”

“Upon arrival, a local hostess came to meet us named ‘Doris’, she was our tour guide and was fantastic.” Vicky and the group of seven stayed in the luxury five starred Langham Hotel for the duration of the trip. Chinese breakfast was served every day before her daily outings, including fish and beef - not your usual continental choice! On the Sunday she even had ‘Butler Breakfast in Bed’ in the comfort of her room. “I really enjoyed relaxing in my hotel room and having breakfast served to my door. The service was very good.”

By day two, Vicky and the other participants were having dinner in ‘China Club,’ a members-only restaurant, situated on the stunning Hong Kong Island. As the evening progressed they headed to the party District in Hong Kong Central called ‘Lan Kwai Fong.’ Vicky commented: “It’s a long slope full of buzzing bars and clubs where they play Cantopop, live music and karaoke. It was a great way to end a fantastic day.”

Other experiences Vicky and the group took part in included a picturesque cruise from Kowloon Pier to Lamma Island. They went to a traditional Chinese fishing village and ate a Seafood Lunch at Lamma Rainbow restaurant.

Vicky’s favourite part of the trip was when she and the group took the tram up ‘The Peak’ on Hong Kong Island. They dined in a restaurant at the top where Vicky indulged in traditional Dim Sum and admired the breath-taking views of the skyline. “The whole experience was the highlight of my trip and it was definitely a memorable one that I’d recommend.”

2. It isn’t just a jungle full of skyscrapers

There are roughly 1,223 skyscrapers, putting Hong Kong at the top of world rankings but when Vicky experienced an exhilarating 20 minute Helicopter ride of Hong Kong Island, she said: “I was amazed to see so many natural beaches, so it wasn’t just all built-up with skyscrapers. It was a surprise activity hosted by Hong Kong Tourism Board, which was a nice touch to the trip. The view of Hong Kong Island was beautiful and the experience would be ideal as part of an incentive conference.”

The city has a rugged coastline with many beaches attracting swimmers as well as steep terrain with expansive views where tourists and hikers often gather. “I loved the weather too. It made the scenic parts of our trip more enjoyable. The temperature was very mild and humidity was quite low but the locals said that this February was the “coldest month so far!”

3.    The Hong Kongese are commuting experts

Travelling around Hong Kong was easy for Vicky and the group. They took public transport including the local tram ride to ‘Sheung Wan’ Market. They also took the ferry from Kowloo Island to Hong Kong Island, which was cheap, quick (a five minute journey) and Vicky mentioned that it would even be ‘great for hosting group events.’ The group used a private car which was surprisingly easy to drive around the city in, due to improved traffic calming measures, new bridges and the extensive trail network. “Their MTR subway underground system is amazing! Everything is very walkable and easy to get to.”

The view of Hong Kong Island was beautiful and the experience would be ideal as part of an incentive conference.

  • Vicky Ward
  • Events Project Manager

4. Dining out and some interesting cultural differences

Hong Kong has many Michelin-starred restaurants. Generally though, there aren’t many fridges so there’s lots of dried food around. This is because the locals don’t tend to have kitchens as there’s not enough room. Big families live together because land is expensive. In fact, due to the lack of space and demand for construction, there are fewer old buildings every day, making Hong Kong a palace of modern architecture, and often referred to as ‘the world's most vertical city.’ 36 of the world's 100 tallest residential buildings stand in Hong Kong, and there are more buildings taller than 500 feet than in any other city in the world. As a consequence, the Hong Kongese community tend to dine out a lot, and better still, it’s cheap too.

“We walked through Graham Street Wet Markets on Hong Kong Island and they had lots of dried produce. They eat a lot of fresh fish and beef.”

The Hong Kongese have a strong work ethic. Even for the younger generation, the culture is very exam-orientated and studying is usually always priority to going out with friends or extra-curricular activities. “The people are generally very pleasant. I noticed that professionals would tend to greet with a handshake and a little respectful bow at the same time. They always went above and beyond their job roles to be hospitable. The Hong Kongese view it as a compliment if you accept their kind gestures or offerings. Most people spoke Cantonese but many knew basic English, which was helpful.” The exchanging of business cards is also a very important ritual in Hong Kong and it is seen as a little odd if you don’t hand a person one when you meet them for the first time.

When Vicky and her group walked through the Graham Street Wet Markets they came across something magnificent: “We visited Man Mo Temple; there was a large, pretty pink wishing tree where people go to and attach a pink thread with words on it. The tree was full of colour and colours are very meaningful, especially during Chinese New Year.”

5. It’s a great events destination

“There were many impressive venues that would be perfect for hosting events in, SKY 100 in particular would be perfect. It’s a very tall building in Kowloon Island with a viewing platform where you can see the stunning skyline of Hong Kong Island. You can hire out exclusive sections, although it is a blank canvas so if you were holding an event you’d need to book the production team and catering. But what a memorable view it would create! There’s also a Ritz Restaurant in the building. In one of the restaurants, we ate more Dim Sum, noodles, fish, rice as well as beef with black bean sauce (which was particularly scrumptious).”

“In the five star Langham Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui Kowloon where we stayed, you could host pretty much any event or conference in one of the many meeting rooms available. On one of the days we had Breakfast in one meeting room (Dim Sum), played drums in the next meeting room, and in the another there was a ballroom with a Chinese Dragon show, including a demo table that was green themed. You could pick any colour and they’d cater for it. This is again because in their culture, colours are symbolic, and green is deemed as lucky.”

In terms of BI WORLDWIDE’s ‘six star excellence’ events vision, Vicky explained how Hong Kong surprised her and made her think that the city could be a destination perfect for long haul incentives. “The hospitality in Hong Kong really stuck out for me. The companies we used were very friendly and welcoming and they always went the extra mile.”

Vicky commented on what could be improved for next time: “I’d definitely recommend going for a few more days than I did if you’re taking a long haul flight due to recovery from jet lag; that would make the destination a top class incentive trip for events. Although, having First Class seats on the way back really helped! There was an extensive food and drink menu with lots of extra touches such as free PJs, flat bed, flight socks, an eye mask, a toothbrush, lip balms and lavender spray for your pillow to help you sleep. So thank you Virgin Atlantic for the amazing hospitality.”

To find out more about BI WORLDWIDE’s ideas for Business and Corporate events, get in touch!

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