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Marketing Melodie’s Adventures in Hong Kong

April 29, 2010 5

I’m happy to report a safe return to sweet home San Diego from my first international trip to Hong Kong. Although I’ve been back for over a week now, I’m slowly but surely recovering from the unexpected Jet Lag. I want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who generously offered me travel advice. As soon as I announced that Marketing Melodie brings Marketing Expertise to Hong Kong, everyone stepped up by giving me invaluable tips which significantly increased the quality of my overall travel experience.

Hong Kong is much different than I imagined. It trumps every “big” city I’ve visited in the United States: New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, etc. as far as the amount of people, tall skyscrapers and commotion in a condensed area. Everywhere I turn, at any time of day there are massive crowds in every direction. The streets are filled with endless vibrant and colorful buildings. My primary reason for visiting Hong Kong was for business to speak at the INET Asia Regional Conference on the topic of How to Engage Your Customers through SEO and Social Media and also attend the co-located event, Hong Kong Electronics Fair. I’m fortunate that I was able to optimize my time there to experience everything Hong Kong has to offer. My good friend from high school, Lauren who resides in Boston was able to take some time off to join me during my trip.

The rest of this post is my daily Hong Kong experience through a photo blog corresponding with my own insight. If you prefer not to read it all, skim through the photos and view the rest on Marketing Melodie’s Facebook.

Day 1: After over 20 hours of traveling (more than double my previous longest travel time), I arrived in Hong Kong. Navigating my way to the hotel in a new country was a challenge but I made my way to the Harbourview Hotel. Located right near the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, Harbourview is a very clean and quaint business hotel. I was delighted to discover they’ve recently joined Facebook and Twitter but highlight of my evening was definitely earning my first passport stamp!

Day 2: Monday was cloudy and humid, not the best weather conditions to tour the city, but nevertheless we made the best of it and took the tram up to Victoria’s Peak for an incredible view of Hong Kong. We also walked around and toured several bank buildings to experience city life during the work day. That evening I attended the INET welcome reception on the rooftop of Wooloomooloo restaurant with an amazing view of the city. I met the other speakers and locals who part of the organization. Everyone made me feel very welcome in Hong Kong. I was delighted to find a Loving Hut vegan restaurant right downstairs from Wooloomooloo so I picked up take out to eat at my hotel. The Loving Hut menu was completely different from the San Diego menu; it was customized with many delicious Hong Kong style options.

Day 3: I arrived at the Convention Centre early for the opening keynote of the INET Asia Regional Conference. The morning session was a great learning experience for me as experts educated us on IPv6 securing the future growth of the internet. I spent the rest of the afternoon checking out Gadgets at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair. This event was enormous! It was 5 floors of every type of electronic device you can imagine from tea kettles, fans, lighting equipment to new technology products: netbooks, notebooks, cameras, smart phones and more. That evening there was a very fancy business dinner arranged for about 20 speakers and VIP guests. This was a 15 course meal with an abundance of delicious selections and also the largest meal I’ve consumed in a sitting. Each time we thought the dinner was over, the servers continued to bring out new dishes. They graciously prepared vegetarian options which I very much enjoyed. The dinner ended with a 3 course dessert including traditional “birthday buns” seen in the photo below.

Day 4: The second day of the INET conference kicked off with another morning keynote, then various speakers who educated on multilingualism and internet navigation. This is a very important topic to anyone who plans to grow their business beyond their native country. I learned about the importance of understanding local search patterns, usability and  options to optimize domains to meet different country standards. The afternoon session focused on SEO and my presentation came up quickly. I was honored to present in front of such an advanced crowd on a new topic, Social Media. My passion is really to educate and empower others with social media knowledge so they can use these powerful tools to grow their business. I received great feedback about my presentation and have made it available through Marketing Melodie’s SlideShare. That evening, I enjoyed dinner at  restaurant called Heaven on Earth in Lan Qwai Fong, the heart of Hong Kong’s nightlife and

Day 5: Thursday was another jam packed day. The Hong Kong Art Centre is right next to my hotel so I enjoyed many of their exhibits. I also walked around the 13 story mall, Times Square which easily may be bigger than the Mall of America. After window shopping, I headed back to the Convention Centre to check out some more gadgets at the Hong Kong Electronics Show. Then I took a cab to my new hotel located on the Kowloon side. The Mira is a high end boutique hotel with luxurious amenities. The rooms are fully equipped to ensure a relaxing stay. After getting settled at the Mira, we walked over to the Intercontinental Hotel, which I’ve been told has the best view for the Symphony of Lights show that happens every night at 8pm in Hong Kong along the harbour and with all the buildings in the city. It’s quit an amazing spectacle.
Mira Hotel, symphony of lights

Day 6: Foursquare Day arrives in in Hong Kong! Before celebrating, I started my day by enjoying activities hosted by the Hong Kong Tourism Board. They do an amazing job at offering tourists cultural, fun and cost effective entertainment. There are dozens of programs free to visitors. I took advantage of their morning Tai Chi Class and then a Feng Shui Class. That evening, I headed back to Lan Kwai Fong for Foursquare Day in Hong Kong! I set this event up from another country solely by connecting with the Hong Kong Tech scene through Social Media. I’m grateful for everyone who immediately stepped up and helped put the event together. Without everyone’s help, the event wouldn’t have been such a success. Foursquare Day in Hong Kong took place at a fine Italian restaurant/bar W52. W52 prepared delicious Italian style appetizers available all night and offered everyone a complimentary drink upon check in. Although the event was just shy of unlocking the Swarm badge, I had a marvelous time meeting everyone and learning more about the Hong Kong Tech/Social Media scene. The event started winding down at 9pm so the night was still early which gave me a chance to scope out a few other spots in Lan Qwai Fong. The nightlife in Hong Kong is very vibrant and active. I was told places stay open until 6am and beyond.

Day 7: I began my last full day in Hong Kong at the Nan Lian Gardens run by the Chi Lin Nunnery. The peaceful garden is the perfect get away from the bustling city. Located in the garden is a gourmet Vegetarian Restaurant with a beautiful waterfall view. I enjoyed a tasty 7 course vegetarian lunch. Then I toured the rest of the garden and nunnery. That night I finally went to a traditional street shopping district called Ladies’ Market. Ladies’ Market is filled with endless rows of vendor selling fashion accessories and clothing. After late
night shopping, I was ready to go back to my hotel to pack for an early morning departure.
Veggie photo Garden photo Ladies Market

Whether you had a chance to read this entire post or not, I’m glad I was able to write it all down  to personally document my adventures in Hong Kong. For the short time I was there I was productive from a business perspective (thank to my new HP Mini netbook) but also enjoyed a cultural experience in a new city. I’m not one to take “vacations”. I consider my life in San Diego an ongoing vacation which I’m grateful for but after this trip I’ll consider visiting more new places as opportunities arise.

Additional Trip Highlights:

  • I love  how generous the Hong Kong Toursim board is. They really take the initiative to ensure visitors have a great cultural experience. In addition to offering the free classes I took on Tai Chi and Feng Shui they offer many other attractions such as guided tours, chinese teaappreciation class, etc.
  • Delicious food- Although Hong Kong isn’t known for being a vegetarian city it’s easy to customize dishes and find vegetarian options. I met Adaline at the Foursquare Day event who is a veggie foodie and runs a great blog Doufu Mafia about being vegetarian in Hong Kong.  Their vegetarian dishes are deliciously made with many varieties of mushrooms and tofu not found in the US.
  • Unlocking 3 new Foursquare badges during my trip! (Overshare, Super Mayor, Foursquare Day)

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