One of RK’s fondest memories that he kept sharing with the group prior to our Hong Kong trip was about his typhoon experience. When he was in Hong Kong a few years ago with a few friends, there was storm warning but they were clueless how severe it was. So they went to Victoria’s Harbour to enjoy the strong wind and were literally blown away. One friend had a deep cut on her leg when the wind blew her to a barricade. RK thought he flew at one point.
When we first met Roy, he kept checking his phone and told us that typhoon was forming outside Hong Kong. That was on our second day in Hong Kong. Throughout our trip, he kept keeping RK updated about the weather forecast and told us that if the sky is red during sunset, typhoon is likely to hit.
On the morning of our Ocean Park day (fifth day), No. 1 warning for Level 3 typhoon was issued but there was nothing to worry about. That evening, we saw red sky during sunset and Roy kept texting, saying our flight would be cancelled on our sixth day, the day we were supposed to go home.
You know what? RK and I were super excited when he told us about typhoon hitting. On the other hand, Victor and Alicia were like, “Huh? Flight gonna get cancelled. Don’t la…”
We were supposed to go to Ngong Ping 360 for a cable car ride on the morning of our sixth day, before visiting Citygate Outlets for shopping in the afternoon and flying back home at night. The talk about typhoon was escalating by the night of our fifth day so we thought let’s skip the pricey cable car, just in case the wind was really building up.
We woke up late on our sixth day, enjoyed a slow and easy morning before going to Citygate Outlets. As we were halfway shopping, Roy called and said No. 8 typhoon warning was up. No. 8 warning means that all businesses to close and all citizens to find shelter, in anticipation of typhoon. Typhoon Linfa was coming. OMG. (Quick guide about Hong Kong typhoon warning system here.)
Shortly after, Roy called again and said our 9pm flight was cancelled, 6 hours before flight time. OMG.
Roy and RK started looking for hotel to book for our extra night in Hong Kong while Victor and Alicia were still shopping. LOL. We went separate ways. By the time we regrouped and told them about the news, some shops have already closed their shutters. Queues at grocery stores got longer to stock up food. Taxis already stopped operating. But thankfully the bus to airport was still operating.
It was very exhilarating actually. Less than 2 hours until the typhoon was expected to hit when everyone else was heading home and the wind was growing strong, Alicia insisted to go to the airport to clear the matter; to check on our new destiny and if there’s any compensation from AirAsia. We managed to secure our new flight home the following day afternoon but no compensation of course because AirAsia can’t be responsible for typhoon.
The bridge back to the city was closed by the time we were done. So we took the underground MTR to Mong Kok, to check into a hotel Roy booked for us. Roy was very thoughtful to book a hotel that was right next to the MTR so we didn’t have to risk being blown away by the wind.
That room was actually cheaper than our Airbnb but it didn’t have any private room. RK bought travel insurance for himself and me so that room was free for four of us.
Wind was building up but it was still bearable so we walked to a mall right across the street from our hotel to grab dinner. It was drizzling when we walked over. All the shops on the street were closed already. Most shops in the mall were also closed, except for eateries. But the mall was still lively. It looked like some locals were even meeting up with friends at the mall.
After dinner, we went back to hotel, cleaned ourselves and chilled with a movie. Once I finished my pack of chips, RK and I thought we should check out the typhoon. We were planning to walk downstairs and watch the wind from indoor because RK has experienced a milder typhoon and it was powerful. Don’t play play.
To our disappointment, the No. 8 signal was already called off at 10pm. Typhoon Linfa changed direction and missed Hong Kong! We went down to the street anyway. I brought my scarf but there was no wind at all. I repeat. No wind at all.
We took a stroll around the block and returned to the hotel with mixed feelings. A little sad that we could not witness the typhoon. But still excited that we experienced No. 8 signal where citizens retreated home in orderly manner. At the same time, relieved that there was no physical damage.
I gained a better understanding of way of life in Hong Kong too via this typhoon experience. It was a lifetime experience.
“Our Hong Kong experience was complete,” I told myself.