First thing you recognize in Hong Kong is left-hand traffic. But you are reminded at almost every crosswalk: “Look Right!”. Obviously, this is not astonishing at all as they were British until 12 years ago.
Something else, which you’ll inevitably run into and which is quite unusual (but not unique though) is that three banks are licensed by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority for issuing Hong Kong Dollar bank notes. So don’t wonder once you have three different looking 20-Dollar notes in your purse. Also remarkable is the Ten-Dollar polymer note.
However, what amazed me most is the Octopus Card. Initially, I perceived it as an RFID card for prepaid public transit payment (similar to the Breeze Card of MARTA in Atlanta, GA). But it turned out that this card is also widely accepted at grocery and convenience stores, coffee shops and even restaurants. So this card became a very convenient payment method–the most convenient I experienced so far. The idea is similar to the Quick system in Austria, but since the Octopus is contactless, it is way more practical.
In general, Hong Kong is very much a western city. All the American chains are there, huge flagship stores of Europe’s and America’s most exclusive fashion brands are marking the city center. One will definitely smell the sea. It is very easy to get along with English only. And of course all the skyscrapers that are shaping one of the world’s most astonishing skyline.
Here’s the updated photo stream!