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Monday Travel Update – Chungking Mansion Edition


In the words of Dante from Clerks: “I’m not even supposed to be here today!”

My original plan after Melbourne was to fly back to the US and spend 10 days in Portland before starting the photography tour in San Francisco. However, there was a slight change of plans and I ended up in Hong Kong.

I was contacted by Cathay Pacific to try their new Premium Economy seats. As I have never flown on Cathay Pacific before and I haven’t been to Hong Kong since December 2007, it was an easy decision.

In the 4+ years since I was last in Hong Kong, it seems more expensive. Actually, it seems a lot more expensive.

My room at the Chungking Mansion

My room at the Chungking Mansion

I’m staying at the infamous Chungking Mansion. When I was last here, I was paying about US$20 per night for a room. There are some places here now charging $50 to $100 per night on weekends for a room. There are still some deals to be had, but they are getting less and less.

The exchange ratio with the US Dollar hasn’t changed much since I was here. Most of the price increases have come from a rise in demand.

The main force in driving up prices in Hong Kong has been the rise in tourism from mainland. Changes in border policy by China have made it easier for Chinese to visit which has resulted in an explosion in tourism. There are many more luxury brand stores now. I’ve also been told if you visit the top of Victoria Peak, you’ll hear Mandarin spoken more than Cantonese.

In 2011 I made a list of my 10 favorite cities in the world. Melbourne was ranked #2 and Hong Kong was ranked #3. It has been good to revisit both of them. Every time you go back somewhere you’ve been before, it is a totally different experience.

I’ll be here until May 2 when I fly back to San Francisco to begin my 2 week photography tour!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Selina, one of my long time readers here in Hong Kong. She is a law student, marathon runner and (of course) loves traveling. I always enjoy meeting my readers when I travel. I usually meet several in most major cities I visit. If I’m coming through your city, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I don’t bite.


Here are some links I found interesting during the last week :

  • 6 Comments... What's your take?

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  1. C. Mow says:

    I visit Hong Kong about once per year and it is indeed significantly more expensive than 2007 and, in particular, since the immediate post-GFC period from late 2008 and through 2009 when tourists from everywhere withered. It’s been all up since then in a big way. I’m easily paying double or more the late 2008/2009 room rents when I’m there.

  2. Kimora Wong says:

    Chungking Mansion… Sounds Like Heaven to me.. A must Visit Place…

  3. William says:

    It’s not just a more relaxed entry policy that’s contributing to the explosion in mainland tourism. It’s also the fact that mainland Chinese are getting wealthier and can afford to travel more. The whole world, but especially Asia, is seeing a huge explosion in Chinese tourism.

  4. Nate says:

    I love everything that Chungking Mansions represents – multiculturalism, grittiness, life, vibrancy, density, good Indian food ;)

    It tells me a lot about you as a person, Gary, that you would *choose* to stay in Chunking again. Impressive.

  5. Gaelyn says:

    That’s an interesting detour.

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About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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