Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How to Survive Nonstop Hong Kong Walk-A-Thons

When I went to Hong Kong last year, it felt like an amazing race. My friend Jen and I were determined to cover as much ground as we could in the four days and three nights we were there. We were able to do that by walking a LOT.
If ever you find yourself in Hong Kong and wonder why most Hong Kong natives are slim, it's probably because they are always walking. In fact, most women are able to walk long distances in fashionably high heels. For the casual traveler, here are some tips on how you can survive nonstop walk-a-thon in Hong Kong.
Absorbent and Quick Dry
All-day walking means you're going to be sweating buckets especially in sunny weather. Trust me, an extra shirt is not going to be enough. It was summer in Hong Kong when I went there so I opted to wear shorts and a thin but comfy shirt. Lightweight clothes dry easily under the sun. So whenever Jen and I needed a break, we would find a seat under the shade or go inside a cafe to cool off and dry ourselves. A small absorbent hand towel is also more helpful than a handkerchief.
Flat is Not Equal to Comfort
People often think that flat shoes equals comfort. This is not always the case. A friend of mine made this mistake when she wore doll shoes while walking endlessly. She complained that her feet were so sore, she had to stay off them the next day. Flip-flops are also a no-no. You need sufficient protection for your feet lest someone steps on them. Slippers are too flimsy and break easily. Don't use new shoes when traveling. You won't know they're suitable for walking unless they have been broken in. Sneakers are your best bet or any comfortable pair of footwear that have been tried and tested for traveling.
Sparkly Vampires Need One, Too
We all know how unpredictable weather is and we never really know how the day will turn out unless we're there. We went to Hong Kong in July so the weather was sunny with clear blue skies. I was glad I had my trusty portable umbrella with me to shield me from the scorching sun. You can also opt for a cap or a hat but if you have sensitive pale skin that burns easily, use an umbrella instead. In Hong Kong, I saw so many citizens wielding gorgeous umbrellas, some with sequins and embroidery. Unfortunately, the language barrier prevented me from finding out where I can buy the fancy looking ones.
Leave Excess Baggage Behind
Walking while lugging heavy suitcases or bags is exhausting. It takes the joy out of exploring especially when you're busy worrying if your luggage might get stolen. What Jen and I did was that we left our things at our hotel's concierge while we set out to explore the city. We carried small bags for the bare necessities: wallet, cellphone, digital camera and map. As much as we wanted to bring the dslr camera, we didn't want it to weigh us down while traveling on foot.
Lather up and Drink a Lot
When I say lather, I don't mean the soapy kind. Drink here doesn't mean alcohol either. Lather up on sunscreen and make sure you are protected from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Use sunblock with sufficient SPF for your skin. They say the higher SPF, the better. But sometimes these can be too strong for sensitive skin. Remember to hydrate and drink a lot of water. You can bring your own water bottle or just buy from 7-Eleven stores found everywhere in Hong Kong. If you plan to visit theme parks like Disneyland, they have water fountains where you can refill your bottles.

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