Face pressed close to the bus window for the half hour journey into town, startlingly large suspension bridges, impossibly narrow towerblocks densely packed, more going up at every junction, huge ocean liners ploughing through the deep water channels between the islands. Frenetic activity, everywhere.
The eight hour time differential made it quite late by the time I arrived at the hotel just off Nathan Road, but I couldn't resist taking a midnight stroll, to get my bearings and soak up a little of the vibrant atmosphere of the Golden Mile.
I headed towards Victoria harbour, where the Star Ferry provides cheap passage for the thousands of commuters, who daily cross the narrow strait to Hong Kong itself. Turned the corner and suddenly a glittering skyline came into view, flashes of reflected neon tumbling across the water, the sky lit up as bright as day. Only here, from the other side of the bay, do you realise how rapidly the mountains behind the shoreline rise, narrowing the available land and enforcing the vertical. The engineering needed to accommodate the millions of people and thousands of businesses here is very impressive indeed.
Despite the late hour and the humidity, the promenade was crowded with revellers and tourists. I followed it along past the old colonial clock tour and onto the rather kitsch Avenue of the Stars which celebrates, through Hollywood style handprints and pavement stars, Hong Kong's film industry.
It's hard to imagine that it's only 170 years since a naval party first hoisted the British flag over what was then a sleepy fishing village and began the process of colonisation that has, in turn, led to the creation of this tiger city. There's so much I want to find out. It's going to be a fascinating few days.