There is no excuse for boredom in Hong Kong. The variety of choice, whether for culture, recreation or pure pleasure, is astounding. As a gateway where East meets West, Hong Kong has a unique blend of activities available from each culture. Whether you prefer European opera or canto-pop, Oriental ceramics or art from the fringe, you will find something to suit. And for a newcomer, witnessing one of the many Chinese festivals is always a memorable event.
If your interests lie in the great outdoors, Hong Kong will not disappoint. Hidden behind the facade of steel and glass towers, over 40 per cent of the territory is actually parkland. Walking trails criss-cross the main island, while the New Territories and outlying islands are heavens for the nature-lover.
There are also myriad activities for the younger set. Hong Kong boasts great museums, extracurricular activities and sports opportunities for children and teens.
And when you are done being entertained, or finish a hike famished and in need of refreshment, Hong Kong comes into its own. With thousands of restaurants from the seaside seafood specialists on Lamma Island to the glitzy and glamorous hotel-top dining rooms, nobody need go hungry. Practically every international cuisine is represented here, from the local Cantonese and its Dim Sum specialties to American meat, European flair and Southeast Asian spices.
One of the most obvious signs of Chinese culture are the numerous temples scattered throughout the city. With their hanging coils of incense and often elaborate offerings, these are interesting places to visit, but do put a donation into the box before you leave.
For organised cultural activities there are numerous major venues which offer professional performances of Chinese opera, dance, Western opera, classical music, theatre and much more. Hong Kong has a Philharmonic Orchestra, ballet troupe and Opera Society, all of which perform to international standards. The city also hosts many touring productions and concerts. Major productions are well-advertised in the local media long before opening night. It is wise to book early as tickets can sell out quickly.
If you like the movies, then Hong Kong is your town. There are four competing chains offering theatres in every neighbourhood. Western films tend to run in English with Chinese subtitles, and although people are asked to shut off their cell phones inevitably your movie- going experience will be punctuated by a ringing phone followed by a loud conversation, heedless of the disruption it causes. Tickets can be booked ahead either by phone or through CityLine at their website. You pick them up from an automated dispenser at the door.
Culture shock is unavoidable for many expats in the early stage of relocation. This can be due to many personal reasons that have led to the discomfort in adjusting to a new society. The greater the difference there is in the environment from the home country, the greater the culture shock is likely to occur. Newcomers usually take a while before fully adapting to life in Hong Kong, but time eventually mends the gap of cultural differences. In some severe cases, however, people will feel estranged from general society and experience depression or withdrawal. As culture shock is a psychological state that some people experience, it does not necessarily mean it happens to everyone. Developing new hobbies, engaging in community activities, and meeting new friends are all excellent ways to prevent or relieve culture shock for expats.
Culture shock involves many different aspects of life. One of the most common reasons for culture shock is the difference in food culture, as the western diet and the Asian diet widely differ. Westerners may come across food items that they do not consider as edible in their home countries that may lead to discomfort. Another is etiquette in which they encounter instances where they would be considered to inappropriately behave socially. Lastly, lifestyle habits and language may induce culture shock as the way of life within the social circle of family and friends is inevitably very much different from their native countries.