The 7 Deadly Sins of Hong Kong

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Every city has its vices, but in Hong Kong, that’s part of what makes a visit so enjoyable.  We gave in — to all seven — and I don’t regret a thing.

If you’re going to Hong Kong, here’s what you’re in store for.

Gluttony

hong kong chiu chow delicacies
Hanging out with a chef in North Point (Hong Kong) who didn’t speak a word of English…but taught us how to make lo soi goose anyway.

From cheap eats to three-star Michelin fine dining, Hong Kong takes its food seriously.  I wasn’t quite sure how we’d try all the local specialties in just a few days, so we started our trip with a tour through North Point.  Highlights were meeting the chef at Chiu Chow Delicacies and trying his famous fish balls and eating dim sum at Tim Ho Wan, though in general we ate well all three days.

Read More: Do you love to eat?  Add in a truly local eating experience with EatWith, no matter what country you’re traveling to.  Learn more in my overview (opens in new window).

Greed

Hong Kong is the banking capital of Asia, or maybe even the world.  Today, there is a strong central business district, chock full of skyscrapers, company headquarters, and billionaire CEOs, but markets have been a part of Hong Kong history forever.  From its start as a traditional fishing village to multinational corporations and swanky malls, we saw it all.  Is it greed or is it innovation?  You decide.

Sloth

tai pan hong kong foot massage reflexology
Go weekdays before 3pm for the best deals.

After walking for miles, it’s tempting to just be lazy.  Giving in to the temptation, we took advantage of traditional Chinese reflexology and my husband’s first foot massage.  Is it a sin to be pampered with tea, foot baths, and a luxurious foot rub?  I hope not!

Hint: a lot of places are skeezy, but I can recommend Tai Pan in Kowloon, not far from the Star Ferry, at 83 Nathan Road (basement).

Envy

gold hong kong
Window shopping in Hong Kong

I have never seen as many jewelry stores as I did in Hong Kong.  The chain Chow Tai Fook is on every street corner, even in neighborhoods that otherwise appear run down.  Diamonds, gold, and gemstones lured customers in and even I was distracted by a gorgeous $20,000 diamond (don’t worry, I passed).  Even if jewelry isn’t your thing, you’ll be tempted by five-star hotels, premium vehicles, and high-end wines.

Read More: I’m not much of a shopper, but here are 7 souvenirs I treasure from previous trips (opens in new window)

Pride

Tai chi looks easy but only if a master with years of experience is doing it.  I assure you, this slow-moving sport takes a lot of strength and control.  Within the first fifteen minutes of my class, I was dripping glistening with sweat and wondering how I’d finish a full hour.  However, by the end of class, I had learned a few basic sequences and was really proud of sticking with it.  The struggle makes it that much more noteworthy.

Wrath

hong kong harbor
Inbetween rain showers in Hong Kong

While I overall liked Hong Kong, there was one part I didn’t like: the weather.  When it’s “nice” out, it’s steamy, sticky, and hazy.  And when it’s bad?  It’s really, really bad.  It rained every day of our visit, including a downpour that I thought was the hardest I’ve ever seen…until the next day when we went exploring during a black rainstorm (70mm of rain per hour).

Lust

Of all the seven deadly sins in Hong Kong, lust is the most powerful.  It’s impossible not to want to come back for more since the wanderlust the city inspires is so strong.  For a small area, there’s a lot to see and our three days didn’t come close to cutting it.  We’re already lusting over a return, next time to see Sha Tin, Tai Po, Lantau, and more.

skyline hong kong
View from the Intercontinental Hong Kong

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Where else in the world have you encountered the seven deadly sins? Are there any cities that truly captured you on multiple levels?

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10 thoughts on “The 7 Deadly Sins of Hong Kong”

  1. Nice way of approaching writing about Hong Kong! Shanghai is totally the same way. I’ve lived here on and off for the past five years and each time I never stay more than a few months to a year. Like HK, this city is so toxic — fun, but toxic.

    1. @Edna, I can’t wait to visit Shanghai — such an intriguing city. I’m not sure HK is my favorite city, but definitely good enough to return (hopefully sooner rather than later).

  2. Love this post, a really interesting way to talk about a city, and makes it seem like you are capturing all the different sides of it – not just the best bits. I’ll definitely bear these things in mind if I ever go.

  3. Ah, Hong Kong. That city I hate to love. Thanks Becky, for your intuitive post!

    I haven’t thought of looking at Hong Kong through the lens of the 7 deadly sins before. For Wrath, I’d add trying to catch a red cabbie in the pouring rain – mission IMPOSSIBLE. I’ve witnessed arguments and fights over cabs in Hong Kong.

    To answer your question, though, I do not think it’s a sin to be pampered with some tea, foot baths, and a good foot massage – all within moderation and reason! Besides, the foot bath should be compulsory for hygiene reasons. I hope they offered you some fruit selections too (should be part of the package for most establishments).

    I saw on your other post that you visited Macau as well but for China, I didn’t see you mention Shenzhen (although your Great Wall Hike was a good read).

    Shenzhen, just north the border of Hong Kong, is home to a lot of great body & foot massages; they are usually a bit cheaper but I’d recommend sticking to the more reputable establishments.

    I hope you also got a chance to try the classic “Hong Kong Hot Milk Tea” or “Hong Kong Hot Coffee”. The latter is usually just instant coffee with evaporated milk but is extremely common for “Cha chan ting” or “tea house” for translation. But it just means any Chinese-styled fast food joint. Most restaurants also have a third option to combine the two into one drink for a unique milk tea + coffee combo.

    1. @Joycelyn, We had a great time at cha chan ting…fun way to feel like a local and save some money, too. Unfortunately we didn’t get to Shenzhen because we had a limited (one-entry) visa so only went to Beijing, but I know I’ll be back to see more of China.

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