HONG KONG PT. 1
In the last decade, I've flown back and forth to Hong Kong maybe 25 times for work. It's become a second home, to the point where I have closer friends there than here in LA. In fact, I don't think I could even write a list like this for Los Angeles.
- •First things first.Hong Kong is split with Kowloon. Most ex-pats (white people) live on the Hong Kong side, nearer to Central, you racist f*ck. Otherwise, I'd highly suggest exploring the Kowloon side, as this is the most congested neighborhood on the planet, the outbreak epicenter for that Contagion movie. HK's weather is unbearably muggy in the summers and damp and bone-chilling in the winters. Everywhere with a pink UV tube is a brothel.
- •TransportationThe Hong Kong MTR is the most convenient and navigable of any subway system in the world. Once you buy an Octopus card at the kiosk, you're really looking at only 2 different lines: You got it, one for the Hong Kong side, one for Kowloon. Otherwise, there are cabs for days, Uber is here, and at some point, take the ferry across the channel between HK and Kowloon. There are so many people that there's rush hour traffic jams FOR PEDESTRIANS.
- •Upper HouseRegardless of budget, Hong Kong has a home for you. When I first traveled here, I stayed in my friend's warehouse, a sneaker closet, and a hostel with a shared bathroom and I never died once. Now, I stay at the trendy Upper House in Admiralty, although most upscale tourists head to the more traditional Peninsula. Either way, there are plenty of cheap $120 USD stays on the Kowloon side (Nathan, Eaton); otherwise, try and stay in Central.
- •Lan Kwai Fong...is the most central of Central (downtown). If you're a bald and pasty Anglo male on a business trip, this is where you'll terrorize local women with your fratty hooligan decorum and corn niblet teeth. LKF is a historic road pointed uphill, closed off to traffic, and lined with trashy bras, I mean bars. At the top are a few venues that shelter Hong Kong's buffet of international models, like Dragon-i.
- •ModelsOh yeah, btw, the model thing. Russia, Brazil, Canada, the model circuit is gigantic here. It's a little jarring to see the next Karlie Kloss sprouting like a beanstalk out of a lake of Chinese minions, but that's every morning on the subway platform. Other white people you'll see in Hong Kong are ex-pats from the old British regime, Japanophiles, and perverts on a sex vacation layover from Macau. // I photographed my friend Samantha in my Upper House room.
- •SurfOkay, fine. The surf sucks. But it does exist, especially if there's a hurricane brewing offshore. Big Wave Beach is one of several seashore playgrounds near the city, havens for locals looking to escape Hong Kong's savage humidity. No fluffy white sand here, the water is opaque with debris, but you're just a 40-minute cabride from a $10 foamboard hang-ten.
- •YardbirdYou don't really eat here. You drink here. If you ever go, tell them I sent you and you'll be under the table by 9:30pm. The food is delicious and my friends Matt and Lindsay have won every award in the book, but you won't remember any of it, until you throw everything up in the morning.
- •RoninChef Matt Abergel and his partner Lindsay Jang also own this private hideaway, one of the most exclusive and ambrosial restaurants on the island. Set a reservation months in advance for a really special occasion. Like celebrating that you own half of Facebook because IT'S REALLY EXPEN$$$IVE.
- •Sunday's GroceryThat's why I just hang out here, Matt and Lindsay's more chilled-out, casual grab-and-go eatery. Best sandwiches, but also an impressive whiskey selection. Plus, all the design and branding is by Dan Climan and they have a grammatically incorrect "Sunday's are better than others" T-shirt that I can't get over.
- •Causeway BayThis is one of my favorite places on the island. It's kinda Vegas-y, Shibuya-ish, Times Square-esque. Lots of good shopping here, better food, and a California Pizza Kitchen if you're not sure about that pig anus hot pot.
- •ShoppingSpeaking of shopping, if you're into fashion, Hong Kong is where to get your fuccboi on. All the best designers reside here, and here's why. First, the Chinese love luxury, seek brands, and the Chinese have money. Secondarily, Hong Kong's I.T group owns or distributes every top label into this part of the world. Almost like a monopoly. More like the mafia. APC, Margiela, even my brand is funnelled through the I.T group. My favorites: Lane Crawford, Ice House street, Undercover, Shanghai Tang.
- •Night marketsWhatever, you can buy this garb anywhere. Might as well do some authentic HK shopping. NIGHT MARKETS. The best is the Temple Street night market that winds through blocks of tented vendors with permanent scowls, hawking fake Rolexes, real dildos, and jade dragon bamboo chopsticks to prove that YOU WERE IN HONG KONG (the Chinese lettering says so). I haggled a hamburger phone down to $6 USD just because. There are also fortune tellers, communist handbooks, and sweaty Aussies.
- •Foot MassagesThey're mega cheap, convenient, and it's just a way of life in Hong Kong. After work, business meetings, on the way to the club. Even hetero guys go. Together! With 130 year old masseuses kneading the knots out their grape stompers. I wish this would catch on in the States, but then again, Americans have crazy fucking feet, like somebody took a hammer to 'em, wrapped the vestiges in duct tape, and glued 'em back together with BBQ sauce.
- •Chungking Mansions17-stories tall, with 4,000 dwellers from all ends of Earth, Chungking is the cheapest place to live in HK. There's 3 reasons why you go here. 1) Wong Kar Wai used it as a backdrop for his films 2) Maybe you want to be coaxed into buying street drugs off a bleary Sudanese refugee? 3) Follow the human feces-stained staircase up to the third floor. On the left is a brothel. On the right is Delhi Club, the best Indian food you'll ever eat in what appears to be a group bathroom. Go left. JK
- •💹🈵🈸🈹🈯️❎🈁🈯️♎️♊️♒️♌️The best restaurants in Hong Kong can't be found in any Lonely Planet or Time Out issue. They're the bustling, neighborhood, blue-collar joints where the construction workers pound green bottled beer, laugh over candied ribs and glazed potatos, and share hardships over fried mantis shrimp. I can't tell you where to go; just know that these places exist, they're very noisy, and if we're ever in HK together, I will take you.