08 November 2008

It's fun to stay at the YMCA!

Our first bit of accomodation has been fantastic. We thought we would ease ourselves into things by having a bit of a treat to start with by staying in a proper hotel. Something that is a bit more expensive than our normal backpacker budget would allow.

There were two reasons for this, one to help ease the culture shock and the other due to the bad reports that I had heard about Chungking Mansions, which is the main backpacker option. The Hong Kong Lonely Planet refers to Chungking as a "ramshackle high-rise dump of a place" and the DK Eyewitness Top 10 uses the words "unpleasant" and "oppressive". This coupled with a raft of bad internet reviews and horror stories had kind of put me of a little!

So we ended up at a place called the Harbour View International House which is a Chinese YMCA run hotel in the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong island. Wan Chai is probably most famous for being the setting of the Richard Mason book (and film) The World Of Suzi Wong.

Having never stayed in a YMCA hotel we weren't really sure what to expect . . . would the cowboy, red indian or builder be manning reception! Anyway, enough of the lame gags, the hotel is great. The rooms are modern and really nicely decorated and the staff are really friendly.

The hotel is one and a half blocks away from the main night spots that are clustered around Jaffe, Lockheart and Hennessy Roads and only two stops on the MTR (underground) from Central, which is the financial and commercial heart of Hong Kong. The only thing our "backpacker" budget wouldn't streach to was a room with a view. Instead of a harbour view we had skyscraper view. . .

Here's the outside of our hotel

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