One of the great things of the Hong Kong transportation system is the ubiquitous double decker bus. They are as much a symbol of Hong Kong as they are a symbol of London. The ride is comfortable on the upper deck of these tall vehicles and offer a different view of the dynamic urban landscape that is Hong Kong.
In the tight urban spaces of Kowloon, the double decker literally offers a towering view of the people below. I feel almost like a voyeur peering into people’s lives without them realizing. I could create different stories of the people rushing along the busy streets.
Here I see a man carrying his daughter. He’s navigating the busy Kowloon sidewalk in hopes of getting his child to preschool on time.
This medicine shop employee is taking a moment in a busy day to put his head down and relax. Perhaps he’s thinking about what’s for lunch or how he’s going to pay his bills.
On the bus, I can catch glimpses of the chasms between the buildings. Kowloon’s Woman Street market is a perfect example where I can see further down the street. I love the classic red/blue/white tarps that are so common in this part of the world. I happen to be passing the market just before most of the sellers are open.
The Canton Road Market, however, was open when I passed by on the same bus. It’s just a few blocks away, but it was already bustling with shoppers this late morning.
The upper deck of the bus also brings me closer to Hong Kong’s non-stop advertising. Almost every nook and cranny is covered with a shop sign or commercial advert. The giant 3-storey wrap-around TV at Citibank Mong Kok was staring me right in the eye this day. This time it was flogging its own citiWALLET service on the 3 Mobile Network.
I also managed to get a great view of the giant stick sculpture at Langham Place as the bus whizzed pass along Argyle Street in Mong Kok. The only downside with photos from the upper deck of a Hong Kong bus is the start and stop nature of riding a Hong Kong bus.
I also managed to get up close and personal with some of the residential flats. You gotta adjust your idea of personal space and privacy in Hong Kong. It’s not that there is no privacy, but your opportunities for quiet space are rarer. In a city of 7+ million people, it’s not surprising.
If the city is too much, then there are the New Territories. Here, you can grab a view of wider vistas in between the 30+ storey highrises. The more open spaces of the New Territories offer a different experience from the urban cores of Kowloon and Hong Kong. And yes, there’s actually green spaces in Hong Kong. You just sometimes have to venture outside of Kowloon and Hong Kong.
There’s also a whole different world to explore on the south side of Hong Kong Island. The north side of the island is the uber-urban jungle. Parts of the south side feel like a sub-tropical retreat with it’s large mansions, abundance of trees, and ocean vistas. However, the roads in the south literally snake between the winding coastline and hillside. It’s a route full of switchbacks. I’m lucky to have gotten at least a couple of decent shots.
Just remember, though, some of the “quieter” places in Hong Kong are still pretty busy. The beautiful and scenic Stanley attracts plenty of tourists in search of shopping at the Stanley Market and of beautiful Kodak moments along the Stanley waterfront.