31 reasons we should all be living in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong skyline.
Philippe Lopez

Editor's note: This story was published on April 7, 2014. Check out this page for the latest news from Hong Kong.

1. Everything is uber efficient

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The trains come every 2 minutes, tax forms are two pages long, and everything moves fast fast fast.

2. It's a mix of tradition and modernity

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What other city can say its skyscrapers were built according to feng shui?

3. With mountains, harbors and skyscrapers all in one city, it has an urban landscape that's hard to beat

(EMILY CHANG/Flickr Commons)

Everyone's seen Hong Kong's skyscrapers, but did you know that it has mountains and waters too? All of its part of the city's feng shui and economic prosperity.

4. It's the freest place in China

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Frequent protests, a vibrant tabloid press, and banned books about China’s leaders are sold on every corner.

5. Even at 3 in the morning, its streets are freakishly safe

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The streets are so bright you don’t think twice about walking home alone at night.

6. The Star Ferry connecting Kowloon and Hong Island offers breathtaking views

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Over 100 years old and it's still the most picturesque way to commute across Victoria Harbor.

7. Lamma island is just a 30-minute boat ride from downtown

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Hippies, dogs, beaches and bars!

8. Enough dim sum to last a life time

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Egg yolk tarts, dan tat custards, rice-wrapped spring rolls, and so very much more.

9. Milk tea sold on every street

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It's also called “silk tea” because it’s strained through a nylon sock for extra smoothness.

10. Char siu bao, or sweet BBQ pork buns. Say no more.

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Served as dim sum, these steamy buns will fill your hungry stomach and warm your heart.

11. The "ding dings"

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The cheapest way to get around, Hong Kong prides itself on still using these rattling double decker streetcars.

12. Red taxis only cost $3 to get anywhere

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And you can catch them pretty much anywhere in the city.

13. Lion dances kickstart every occasion

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Especially during Chinese New Year, celebrations start with a dance by a giant, blinking furry creature that would be terrifying if it wasn’t so awesome.

14. There's a mountain of monkeys

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Hong Kong’s monkey ghetto is a pleasant hike, but beware of making prolonged eye contact, as the monkeys have been known to jump tourists.

15. Elevated walkways cover the city

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Wide, pedestrian-only boulevards 15 feet off the ground give you one of the best views of the Kowloon side. Indoor walkways are also a great way to avoid Hong Kong's scorching summer heat.

16. Rent a junk boat for a quick weekend getaway

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Borrow a boat for six hours with your friends, stock it with beers, and go swimming in some of Hong Kong's remotest coves. 

17. You can drink in the streets

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Feel like a brew? Stop by 7/11 and drink it in a park, as you walk in the streets, or at lunch with your shirt off, as construction workers do.

18. Old people do exercises in parks

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You can join senior citizens for a morning exercise of tai chi in many parks across the city.

19. This skyline

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There are more skyscrapers here than anywhere on earth.

20. Another view from the top of the mountain


You don’t have to be a tourist to enjoy the views.

21. Shenzhen's just a train ride away

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If you want to get your fix of mainland China, cheap massages and excellent Chinese food, Shenzhen is just an hour train ride away.

22. Pink dolphins. I know, almost too good to be true

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Ironically called the Chinese white dolphin, these pink dolphins are sadly dwindling in number and are becoming "near-extinct," according to ABC News.

23. Macau is a ferry ride away

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If you're really in a hurry to gamble, you can also take a half hour helicopter ride to the world's biggest casino mecca.

24. Bamboo scaffolding

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"Don't worry. Chinese bamboo is very strong," Jackie Chan said in his movie Rush Hour 2. And indeed, bamboo has been used to build the city's numerous skyscrapers.

25. Hungry Ghost offerings in the street


Hong Kong residents believe those who've died without a proper burial ritual become "hungry ghosts," roaming the streets stirring trouble.

26. Men of all ages go topless in public


Called the "Beijing tuxedo," it's not uncommon for men to roll up their shirts on scorching days.

27. The Tiananmen Square anniversary is a big, big deal

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With China exercising tighter restrictions in Hong Kong, Hong Kong citizens take this anniversary very seriously. And it's awesome.

28. Social clubs galore

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Hong Kong high society is obsessed with social clubs. There are 10-year waits to get into the most prestigious ones (The Hong Kong Country Club or the American Club, for instance). But others, like the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, they can be a fun, old fashioned venue for cheap drinks.

29. Hiking trails minutes from the city

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The perk of living in such a dense city is that you don’t have to go very far to find uninhabited areas. A full three-quarters of hong kong is parkland.

30. There are hundreds of islands to explore

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Besides the main Hong Kong island, discover the numerous adjacent islands from Lamma to Lantau.

31. Weekend getaways to the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia

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Tickets around Asia are relatively cheap from Hong Kong, so you have no excuse not to fill up your passport’s pages with stamps from all over.