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Pipe Smoking in Hong Kong and China, A Brief Trip Report

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swhipple

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I recently returned from a 2 week trip to Hong Kong with a 1 week trip to Huizhou China in the middle of that. I thought I'd write a trip report for the enjoyment or perhaps boredom of everyone here and maybe share a few pictures as well.

</a>[url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/120498845@N06/]

I took a empty 50gram tin filled about 1/2 way with Luxury bulls eye flake, and a couple of my favorite "travelling" pipes (to me travelling pipes are good smokers that I don't have a lot of money or sentimental value in) . I figured the 1/2 full tin would get me under the 25gm import limit for Hong Kong. I guess I shouldn't have worried since there didn't seem to be much interest from the HK customs folks in checking bags.

I didn't get to smoke at all during the first stop in HK. See I work at one of those companies that is slowly forcing smokers out and I don't share my pipe smoking with them. I was travelling with a co-worker and I couldn't find a convenient time to slip away for a pipe.  We did have a day and 1/2 to explore the city and had to the time to visit Victoria harbor and the Big Buddha via the cable car. The cable car is well worth the fare just for the views on the trip even if the destination isn't your cup of tea. I found the area around the big Buddha to be a bit touristy but still not terrible either.

https://flic.kr/p/GSS1zkhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/120498845@N06/

As far as pipe smoking goes things got a little better once we got into China. The hotel we were rooming in had the luxury of private balconies and I was able wrap up my evening with a pipe on the porch, pretty much the same as at home, just with a very different view.

I was surprised by the liberal attitude towards smoking in China. Even the company I work for allows smoking on their factory grounds here and even has indoor smoking areas. The most surprising thing is that you can smoke in restaurants still. I'd consider taking up coffin nails again if you could still smoke after a meal out. Those were always the most satisfying smokes to me. It's funny what some counties value and ban compared to others. In China Facebook and Google are banned but feel free to smoke indoors. Sadly I'm sure the nanny mentality will take over there one day as well. I told the folks I know from China to enjoy it while they can.

After my work was finished in China I made the trip back to HK. My US co-worker staying behind another week to work on some unrelated items. I was free to explore HK on my own and I'd made plans to stay a few days past what the business trip called for. The smoking rules for Hong Kong seem to track similar to the USA. Generally smoking outdoors is OK but I noticed some parks banned smoking. It all seemed very constricting after the freedom of China(never thought I'd type that sentence :)  :)

One of the things I wanted to do was visit the Davidoff shop that I'd found online. It was the only Western style tobacconist I'd found searching online and I thought buying a pipe or some other tobaccania would be a nice momento of the trip. It was a short walk from the Subway station and it was located in a high shopping area below a hotel. They did have a decent selection of pipes for sale, I'd guess around 100 in total. Ranging from Savinelli's to Dunhills. I looked at nice Davidoff pot shape pipe but quickly and gently set it back on the rack when I saw the price was over 1000 US. I settled on a green, blasted Savinelli Acrobaleno. I paid about $130 US for it. I figured that was more than I would pay in the US but I justified the extra cost because the pipe will always be a reminder of the trip. I thought I'd pick a tin of tobacco while I was there to supplement my supply and I got a serious shock. I looked at the price on a Davidoff 50gm tin and it was over $50 US. Damn, it almost caused me physical pain to see such a high price. Gave me a new appreciation of what pipe smokers in some other countries have to deal with. Needless to say I didn't buy the tin.

https://flic.kr/p/GSJJkwhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/120498845@N06/

I forgot to take a picture of the pipe in Hong Kong so you will have to settle for one I took once I got home.

https://flic.kr/p/HGcQGRhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/120498845@N06/

The next morning I grabbed a coffee from the café in the hotel and walked around the block to a small park close to the hotel that I'd scoped out earlier. I knew that it allowed smoking, it even had warning signs, saying that smoking was allowed. As luck would have while I was enjoying my pipe this guy showed up to play his pipe. It was a memorable moment for sure, gently puffing away while listening to the soft notes echoing from his wooden flute. The park is just outside the entrance to an old temple and the smell of the burning incense permeated the air and it blended nicely with the aroma from the Bulls Eye Flake, well worth the extra expense of the pipe.

https://flic.kr/p/GSHbwyhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/120498845@N06/

There is also great food to be had every where you turn. The city has everything from Michelin starred restaurants to excellent street food. My favorite meal was from here

https://flic.kr/p/GSRZBihttps://www.flickr.com/photos/120498845@N06/

Absolutely excellent spicy crab served with rice and beer. All eaten while sitting on a low plastic stool with a wobbly card table to hold the food.

https://flic.kr/p/HKwbQ7<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/120498845@N06/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">[/url]

I've been to Hong Kong a few times in the past and I've always enjoyed the city. It has a blend of Chinese and Western culture (thanks to 100 years of British rule) that makes it both exotic and familiar at the same time. Thanks to an excellent subway system the city is easy to get around in.
 

Richard Burley

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Interesting stuff. Thanks for posting. (Blue Girl beer is a new one to me. Thought I'd had 'em all.)
 

RDPipes

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Certainly sounded like you truly enjoyed yourself, makes me wanna go check it out myself if I was able.
You also made it simple to read and an enjoyable read for a guy like me that hates to read because of some issues I have with my grey matter. I look forward to reading more posts like this from you sir. ;)
 

Brewdude

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Great report Mr. Whipple. Certainly makes me feel like I was there. I'll look forward to further instalments!

8)

And that crab dish looks delightful! Not sure about the beer though.........



Cheers,

RR

 

swhipple

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C'mon, Brewdude the Blue girl was the premium beer on their menu. Actually it wasn't bad for a light lager.
 

Brewdude

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swhipple":gd6uzfo4 said:
C'mon, Brewdude the Blue girl was the premium beer on their menu. Actually it wasn't bad for a light lager.
Otay, I'll take your word on it!

:bom:



Cheers,

RR
 

Fatman

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Hong Kong is a place I would love to visit! my oldest brother was on a few west coast submarines and hit Hong Kong, among other Pacific ports of call I would have loved to see. I was an East Coast sailor, so I got to experience Europe and the middle East.
 

Puffy

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What can I say..Pretty Pipe..Beautiful Pictures..Great Post.
 

swhipple

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Fatman, It's worth a visit if you can get there. You are about 1/2 way there already, compared to me at least. Still a long trip though. :D

Glad everyone enjoyed the post.
 

ftrplt

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Great pics and write up on the current Hong Kong. Used to fly in there (the old Kai-Tek airport with the awful approaches!!) during my flyboy days. Vacationed there (1977) with the first wife. Had a super time. The old Navy China Fleet Club was still in operation during that time. I still have the Meer I bought in the Fleet Exchange store inside the club. :cheers: FTRPLT
 

Eric Furgeson

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Thanks for the wonderful review and photos of your trip. That is a hansome pipe and I hope it brings back wonderful memories with every bowl. I look forward to hearing more of your trips in the future.
 

Striploin

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I recently returned from a 2 week trip to Hong Kong with a 1 week trip to Huizhou China in the middle of that. I thought I'd write a trip report for the enjoyment or perhaps boredom of everyone here and maybe share a few pictures as well.

</a>[url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/120498845@N06/]

I took a empty 50gram tin filled about 1/2 way with Luxury bulls eye flake, and a couple of my favorite "travelling" pipes (to me travelling pipes are good smokers that I don't have a lot of money or sentimental value in) . I figured the 1/2 full tin would get me under the 25gm import limit for Hong Kong. I guess I shouldn't have worried since there didn't seem to be much interest from the HK customs folks in checking bags.

I didn't get to smoke at all during the first stop in HK. See I work at one of those companies that is slowly forcing smokers out and I don't share my pipe smoking with them. I was travelling with a co-worker and I couldn't find a convenient time to slip away for a pipe. We did have a day and 1/2 to explore the city and had to the time to visit Victoria harbor and the Big Buddha via the cable car. The cable car is well worth the fare just for the views on the trip even if the destination isn't your cup of tea. I found the area around the big Buddha to be a bit touristy but still not terrible either.

https://flic.kr/p/GSS1zk Shawn Whipple

As far as pipe smoking goes things got a little better once we got into China. The hotel we were rooming in had the luxury of private balconies and I was able wrap up my evening with a pipe on the porch, pretty much the same as at home, just with a very different view.

I was surprised by the liberal attitude towards smoking in China. Even the company I work for allows smoking on their factory grounds here and even has indoor smoking areas. The most surprising thing is that you can smoke in restaurants still. I'd consider taking up coffin nails again if you could still smoke after a meal out. Those were always the most satisfying smokes to me. It's funny what some counties value and ban compared to others. In China Facebook and Google are banned but feel free to smoke indoors. Sadly I'm sure the nanny mentality will take over there one day as well. I told the folks I know from China to enjoy it while they can.

After my work was finished in China I made the trip back to HK. My US co-worker staying behind another week to work on some unrelated items. I was free to explore HK on my own and I'd made plans to stay a few days past what the business trip called for. The smoking rules for Hong Kong seem to track similar to the USA. Generally smoking outdoors is OK but I noticed some parks banned smoking. It all seemed very constricting after the freedom of China(never thought I'd type that sentence :) :)

One of the things I wanted to do was visit the Davidoff shop that I'd found online. It was the only Western style tobacconist I'd found searching online and I thought buying a pipe or some other tobaccania would be a nice momento of the trip. It was a short walk from the Subway station and it was located in a high shopping area below a hotel. They did have a decent selection of pipes for sale, I'd guess around 100 in total. Ranging from Savinelli's to Dunhills. I looked at nice Davidoff pot shape pipe but quickly and gently set it back on the rack when I saw the price was over 1000 US. I settled on a green, blasted Savinelli Acrobaleno. I paid about $130 US for it. I figured that was more than I would pay in the US but I justified the extra cost because the pipe will always be a reminder of the trip. I thought I'd pick a tin of tobacco while I was there to supplement my supply and I got a serious shock. I looked at the price on a Davidoff 50gm tin and it was over $50 US. Damn, it almost caused me physical pain to see such a high price. Gave me a new appreciation of what pipe smokers in some other countries have to deal with. Needless to say I didn't buy the tin.

https://flic.kr/p/GSJJkw Shawn Whipple

I forgot to take a picture of the pipe in Hong Kong so you will have to settle for one I took once I got home.

https://flic.kr/p/HGcQGR Shawn Whipple

The next morning I grabbed a coffee from the café in the hotel and walked around the block to a small park close to the hotel that I'd scoped out earlier. I knew that it allowed smoking, it even had warning signs, saying that smoking was allowed. As luck would have while I was enjoying my pipe this guy showed up to play his pipe. It was a memorable moment for sure, gently puffing away while listening to the soft notes echoing from his wooden flute. The park is just outside the entrance to an old temple and the smell of the burning incense permeated the air and it blended nicely with the aroma from the Bulls Eye Flake, well worth the extra expense of the pipe.

https://flic.kr/p/GSHbwy Shawn Whipple

There is also great food to be had every where you turn. The city has everything from Michelin starred restaurants to excellent street food. My favorite meal was from here

https://flic.kr/p/GSRZBi Shawn Whipple

Absolutely excellent spicy crab served with rice and beer. All eaten while sitting on a low plastic stool with a wobbly card table to hold the food.

https://flic.kr/p/HKwbQ7<a href="Shawn Whipple" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">[/url]

I've been to Hong Kong a few times in the past and I've always enjoyed the city. It has a blend of Chinese and Western culture (thanks to 100 years of British rule) that makes it both exotic and familiar at the same time. Thanks to an excellent subway system the city is easy to get around in.
VERY enjoyable reeding! Thanks from Sweden.
 

peanubutter

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Sounds like a fascinating trip. Were there any other pipe smokers there? Thanks for the information.
 
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