I spent four months in Southeast Asia last year before moving to Delhi for a new job. I made it for almost two months before I started itching to take off again. And I chose the Independence Day-long weekend, so I could travel for a while without taking too many leaves at work. Then began the hunt for a country perfect to be explored in a week. Being a backpacker who travels slow and long-term, this seven-day holiday challenge was very real for me.
After going through several options of amazing places that I could go to, I finally chose to visit Hong Kong. As unlikely a candidate as it may seem, there were several factors that made me choose this vibrant city as my next destination. Here are some of them:
1. Hong Kong has a visa-free entry policy for a period of 14 days for many countries including India. All you have to do is fill up a pre-arrival registration for Indian nationals and carry a printout of it while travelling to Hong Kong.
2. Hong Kong's status as a country has always confused me. "It is China, and also it is not China". In simple words, under a 'one country two system' policy, Hong Kong gets to be an independent region of China with its own government, immigration policy, consulates and even its own flag till 2040, making it "the most country like country that isn't a country". What happens after 2040 is a mystery for everyone.
3. Hong Kong is small enough to be covered in a week, though no time is enough at any place. Given the cost of travel involved and only 14 day visa-free access, one week sounded perfect. Also language is not a problem, as apart from Cantonese, the residents can understand and talk in English.
4. New Delhi has good connectivity to Hong Kong and Macau. I choose to fly with Malindo Airline from Delhi to Hong Kong and Air Asia from Macau to Delhi. A round-trip flight costs around Rs 28,000 from Delhi.
5. Its proximity to Macau offers a chance to explore another lit place that is famous as the gambling capital of the world. Macau's status as a country is as confusing as Hong Kong, and it has an immigration system of its own like Hong Kong, that gives Indians visa-free access to the country for 30 days.
6. After two months in Delhi and having a variety of dumplings on every street, I had made it a personal mission to find out what a perfect dumpling should taste like. Hong Kong is a foodie's paradise and seemed like the perfect place to end my cognitive dissonance with momos.
7. Finally, Hong Kong has the best of everything. This place will not disappoint any type of traveller. Whether you like splurging at your favourite world-class brands, hiking through the most beautiful trails, dining at the best restaurants, spending a lazy day at a gorgeous beach or browsing through all kinds of art, this stunning city has you covered.