Do you have that one place that feels like your second home? Somewhere where when you arrive, you take a sigh of happiness that you’re back in what feels like the motherland? I mean this could just be your best friends house or your favourite Zara store… I’m not judging! But my second home feeling? It lies with Hong Kong.
Yes - good old Hong Kong. My dad moved there in the early 90’s due to a project working on their international airport and our first family visit was in 1995. Yep, that's me in the photo!
From that point, we were going back to Hong Kong every year until my dad moved to Taiwan almost a decade later. However, he has always gravitated back there across the breadth of almost thirty years. Much to mine and my sisters’ joy, he has just accepted another job there and moved two weeks ago! We can’t wait to visit next year (our fingers are crossed that it’ll be safe enough to) as it will be the first time that my two daughters will get to see my favourite place. They’ll be a little too young to understand as they’re only toddlers but regardless, it will be an experience.
So what is so great about Hong Kong? It is difficult to sum it up in just a few words. It’s a feeling for me, I suppose. I spent a lot of time there as a child and my mind has made happy connections to things, places, smells, tastes, sounds. It’s all in our senses! As soon as we step out of the airport into the hot, night air of Hong Kong, my sisters and I get a jolt in our tummies - it smells the exact same as it did all those years ago. Perhaps I’m being a bit wishy-washy, but do you know what I mean? It feels comforting.
Hong Kong is an exciting, eclectic mix of many styles and cultures. A place that awakens the senses and is an urban jungle on a cluster of 250 islands. Hundreds of skyscrapers are densely packed into central Hong Kong yet it’s surrounded by multiple rugged mountains and wildlife (which actually make up 75% of the Hong Kong territory!). I have always marvelled at these huge buildings, especially when they come to life at night and the environment is buzzing. They don’t call it the City of Light for nothing. At Victoria Harbour, beams of light from forty-two buildings across the water glitter the sky every night. Watching the daily ‘Symphony of Light’ show (which is the world's largest, permanent light and sound show) is still as mesmerising as the first time I saw it. Walking along the waterfront promenade in the evening time is still one of my favourite things to do when I visit.
But the metropolitan city is so much more than just a cosmopolitan dream. There are beaches, mountains, world-class sunrises, parks and rainforests. Would you ever believe that Hong Kong could look like this? This photograph is of the Tai Long Wan coastline, photographed by Mark Lehmkuhler.
An extract from the BBC Earth Stories explains, “Despite only spanning 423 square miles , Hong Kong houses more types of bird, mammal, insect and plant than the whole of the British Isles.” Hard to believe, isn’t it? When you step out of the city centre, it feels like another world. And what is most amazing about that, is it’s just a metro ride away. I think what I love the most is that there is so much choice in Hong Kong. You could have a day spent shopping in the endless, compact markets looking for treats and trinkets or taking a serene boat trip to spot pink dolphins near Lantau Island. Have I sold it to you yet?!
I was so excited to create a scented candle fragrance blend for Hong Kong Nights. I wanted to make something that was a personal reflection of my favourite place. Something that was warm, inviting, spicy and enticing. It is a stunning medley with notes of sweet mandarin and a heart of rich, spicy clove and oriental ylang ylang on a base of warm vanilla. I feel it really invites you to experience the iconic views, bustling nights and wonders of such an enticing, yet comforting place whilst being perfect for autumn and winter season. If you have been to Hong Kong before, I hope you share my view that it is a great destination - a little pearl in the South China Sea.