CEO and co-founder, Srin Madipalli recently came back from a trip to Hong Kong to be a guest speaker at the World Social Enterprise Forum and the HK Social Enterprise Summit. Srin shares his experiences of this most manic 7 days in one of the world's most action packed and vibrant cities.
I headed out to Hong Kong feeling a mix of excitement and tiredness. I'd just spent some time in Rio de Janeiro and was now heading to Hong Kong via a few days break back in London. Lots of flying!
But it's a good thing I love flying and travelling; and after a day of rest when I first landed in HK, I was ready to go!
1. The conferences
The first half of my trip would be dedicated to speaking and attending a number of events that were taking place to promote social enterprise and philanthropy in Asia. I was very kindly invited to deliver talks at the World Social Enterprise Forum and the Hong Kong Social Enterprise Summit, both taking place at the Hong Kong Convention Centre.
The talks went really well; and provided a great opportunity to showcase Accomable to an international audience of policy makers, politicians and key influencers in the social impact space.
Moreover, it was a great chance to get some of the issues our community cares about relating to accessibility raised with key decision makers around the world.
2. Hong Kong as a tourist!
Once the conferences were over, I then embarked on spending a few days seeing the sights and sounds of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong isn't the easiest place to navigate. It's crowded and full of steep hills. The city is packed to the brim, so getting around can be tricky.
I was able to get around Hong Kong really easily either by taxi or by the subway system. My powered wheelchair is big and the only company able to assist were Diamond Cab, who had a fantastically adapted wheelchair accessible van.
The subway system also has great access. Most stations have level access from surface level to the train. However, getting around these huge stations is like being in a maze and finding the correct entrance / exit that was accessible wasn't always straightforward. Nonetheless, here's a short video of me getting and out of the train.
The first spot we saw was Victoria Peak, a viewing point high in the hills that gives a great view over Hong Kong Island. We got there with a Diamond Cab taxi. While the views were great; especially at night when all the buildings were alight - the viewing points were super crowded!
Boat trip through Victoria Harbour
Taking the ferry from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon was a great way to see the city and which provided some iconic views of the skyscraper sprawl that is Hong Kong.
The ferries are also cheap and easily accessible.
Walking tour around Kowloon
My tourist highlight of Hong Kong was going on the city's first ever accessible walking tour around a part of the city. Tour operator Walk In Hong Kong put on a brand new tour where they purchased new portable ramps to make the route as a barrier free as possible. The tour took us around some of the more historic parts of the city and which had much stronger local feel with lots of quirky stalls and markets that were different to the usual diet of shiny shopping centres. We also ended up taking in some local Chinese karaoke!
Here are some shots from the tour!
I love Chinese food generally, so for a foodie like me, Hong Kong was a treat. I really enjoyed trying foods from stalls and markets that were much more authentic. Whilst accessibility to these places isn't great, the food is a treat and worth improvising to find a way around (or worth just getting take out!).
Finding accessible hotel rooms with a roll-in shower wasn't easy. It took a while to find somewhere suitable. In the end, I stayed at the Novotel Century Hong Kong.
Due to space constraints, hotel rooms in Hong Kong are usually smaller in comparison to Western counterparts; and this applies to accessible rooms too. While the room had a roll-in shower, the bathroom was very cramped and things were a tight squeeze. So if you're travelling out to Hong Kong, make sure the room size is sufficient for you!
4. In summary
Hong Kong is a super interesting place to visit. The packed hustle and bustle of the city along with the hilliness can make access difficult, it is possible to get around with planning; and many of the major tourist sites can be easily accessed. So if you want to try somewhere a bit different, think about a trip to Hong Kong!
Looking for an accessible property? Then click here.