~ / Brian Norlander / travel /
Hong Kong, Fall 2018

Visiting Hong Kong from August 29 to January 01, 2019.

In the fall of 2018 I participated in an exchange program in Hong Kong at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. This would later inspire me to work abroad after my graduation.


The campus of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) was on the seaside of Clear Water Bay and away from the downtown area of Hong Kong. Early in the morning you could see the sun rise and at night you could hear the soft waves splashing against the shore. It was beautiful.

View from my dorm room


The Hong Kong skyline is iconic. It is truly a city that never sleeps. The diversity within the buildings of this city is nothing short of incredible. I spent a lot of time wandering the city in search of good food, colorful markets and cozy streets.

On the right is the International Finance Center (IFC) building. Famous for being the building that Batman falls out of in the Dark Knight.
Left: Pencil buildings Right: Chinese embassy
Remains of the Kowloon Walled City
Hong Kong Bay. On the left is the International Commerce Centre (ICC) building.
The Port of Hong Kong is one of the busiest ports in the world and has been for a long time.
These older buildings in Kowloon provide a sharp contrast to the modern skyscrapers seen earlier on Hong Kong Island.


Hong Kong has many markets including the famous Ladies Market, Bird Market, Flower Market, Jade Market, Temple market, and many more local markets. A sharp contrast to the business districts, the local Hong Kong markets are an oasis of Chinese tradition that gives Hong Kong a lot of character.

Bird up!
Flower Market


Although Hong Kong is known for its skyscrapers, much of the territory is hilly, forested, and undeveloped. This allows for many hiking trails and camping opportunities of which I took advantage of. I did many day hikes and two overnight camping trips.

The northeastern region of Hong Kong is called Sai Kung. This was close to where my university was and also where I did most of my excursions.

This picture is typically not what comes to mind when thinking of Hong Kong
Suicide Cliff hike
In the distance you can see Hong Kong Island

Typhoon Mangkhut

Two weeks after arriving in Hong Kong a category 5 super typhoon ripped through the city. It was the strongest typhoon to hit the city since 1983.

My dorm room overlooked the ocean, so I had a front row view to the storm. For 24 hours all of the students were locked down in their dormitories, not allowed to leave. Windows were reinforced with sand bags, benches were tied down and super markets were nearly empty. It was surreal.

Benches were tied down
This picture was taken hours before the storm hit
View from my dorm room


Hong Kong also has many small fishing villages on its coast. The pace of life in these peaceful villages is much slower than the city. They provide a window into what Hong Kong and the surrounding area in China looked liked many years ago. This is a part of Hong Kong most tourists never experience.

Tai O fishing village
Ko Lau Wan Tsui fishing village


Hong Kong has many parks and temples, allowing an escape from a sometimes claustrophobic cityscape. The city somehow finds a way to integrate nature into its massive vertical maze of buildings, walkways and roads.

Chi Lin Nunnery
My exchange buddy Sam and I
There are even monkeys in Hong Kong!
10,000 Buddhas Temple


Hong Kong is known for its noodle bowls and dim sum. However, the city boasts many cuisines from different cultures from all over Asia and the West.

At my university I was allowed to put on a Thanksgiving dinner. Some other exchange students helped me out. We were able to share this traditional meal with some locals and other international students.

Typical meal at a cheap restaurant
All you can eat Korean BBQ
Ozone bar: the highest bar in the world
Thanksgiving meal

I will not soon forget my time spent in Hong Kong. This was definitely a life changing experience. I met so many people from different places and learned so many new things I will not view the world the same way again. It broadened my horizons on what is possible and what this world has to offer.

/ Travel