Memo from Hong Kong to Vizag

After traveling to the business hub of the Greater Bay Area – from a small coastal town in South India, a sense of déjà vu took over my five day stay, in Hong Kong city.

Not only do these two Asian cities share a colonial past but Hong Kong and Vizag rival for their speakeasy-style restaurants. Most of which are hole-in-the-walls that match the city’s heritage food offerings. Hong Kong and Vizag are not just another crowded, Asian cities, as travelers expect it to be. 

Either cities are cleaner and less polluted than the whole of Asia. Albeit; over tourism in Hong Kong is as challenging as that in Vizag.

Whilst getting to Hong Kong’s Victoria’s Peak takes a good four hours of waiting in a queue (to reach the ticket area). On the other hand, Vizag’s Simachalam Hill, attracts over thousands of people, who queue up to reach the hilltop temple.

And, when religious festivals in Vizag plateau; wedding seasons take over. Shoppers swarm around malls, hawkers and stalls that sell Chinese goods. On the parallel side of the coast; shoppers in Hong Kong pepper commercial centers like Mong Kok, Causeway Bay, Temple Street and Ladies Market for their stalls. While the Chinese goods in Hong Kong are an easy bargain than those in Vizag, the crowds will leave travelers overwhelmed in both the cities.

Unwinding at beachfront promenades is common in both cities where people balance work and recreation with ease. Repulse Bay is a relief for anybody who wants a break from Hong Kong’s crowded metro stations and markets. Back in Vizag, people head to Dolphin’s Nose – a hill by the Bay of Bengal to unwind. The tropical cities offer similar experiences in terms of local seafood, beautiful sunsets and friendly locals.

The quietness of Hong Kong’s Repulse Bay and Vizag’s Dolphin’s Nose Hill is a bus ride away from the chaos of the city. All the locales are nearby and commuting in public transportation is easy. However, waiting to board local trains and buses in either cities, is long. The situation worsens especially when taxis mysteriously disappear on routes from tourist spots to residential areas. Surprisingly, taxi drivers in Hong Kong and Vizag have the same excuses too.

None of the taxis in Hong Kong are on hire as soon as it rains in the city. Unpredictable thunder showers in Hong Kong flood the roads in ankle-deep water and sometimes enter hotel pavements. Concierges usually offer their guests umbrellas and raincoats which is essential to reach dry ground – without taxis in Hong Kong.

There are similar downsides to visiting Vizag during the monsoon. Aside from the water, which over-spills the gutters of Vizag; a high tide coincides with heavy rain to submerge Vizag roads. Moreover, the unexpected rain and unbearable humidity combination, explains why so many people visit Hong Kong and Vizag, in the winter season.

Culturally, Hong Kong and Vizag over-compensate people who are inured to travel in Asia. This often means, enough elbow room, for travelers to enjoy hills by the beach, shopping areas and heavy foot traffic in these twin cities.

Travelers who visit both the cities in a single trip will realize, Hong Kong and Vizag; to be sister cities, only separated geographically.

 

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