If we were to summarise Hong Kong in one statement, we would say it is ‘a city full of surprises’.
We found it to be a fantastic city that left a sweet taste in our mouths from good food, friendly people and fabulous sights.
The mad run up to departure day didn’t lend itself to time to research places to visit. Therefore, day one began rather jet-lagged with no map and a brief list of interesting sounding places to see.
After walking in circles feeling mentally lost, we eventually collected ourselves, stumbled into a cafe for breakfast and returned to the hostel to seek out a map.
It served as a good reminder of learnings from previous trips – exploring should not begin without a map nor on an empty tummy.
Fortunately, Hong Kong offered an abundance of fantastic food from breakfasts of beef satay noodle soup to endless dim sum; favourites being piggy custard and char sui buns!
We looked forward to meal times – all whilst surreptitiously sidestepping the varying options of tripe and chicken feet.
Armed with a map (and eventually an Octopus card), visiting the city’s sights became a breeze.
We kicked off exploration with a trip to Nan Lian gardens to the north of the city to regain some inner zen after a frantic few weeks.
This was followed by a relaxing amble around Hong Kong park and a tram ride to Victoria Peak on Hong Kong island. The views of the city and surrounding islands from the Peak were mesmerising.
Hours were spent taking it all in and waiting for the sun to set.
We were also treated to some random performance of Mika’s ‘Grace Kelly’ by a Norwegian choir who happened to be passing by.
As the sun dropped below the mountains, slowly the city lights started to flicker on in the sea of sky scrapers. An incredible sight to witness and well worth the wait.
Dragon’s Back Trail
As the days rolled on, Dragon’s Back trail on Hong Kong island became one of our most favourite things we did. It is a ridged part of the Hong Kong trail – a 50km walking route which passes through the five country parks on Hong Kong island.
The views across the beaches below and neighbouring islands were a sight to see.
The cherry on the cake came at the end of the trail in the form of Shek O beach – a beautiful sandy cove full of surfers. The perfect place to lay on the sand and relax after the arduous trek.
Expecting another of Hong Kong’s highlights, we ventured out to Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island to view the ‘big buddha’ of HK. But quickly realised whilst climbing to the top amongst the hordes of people that we may have previously hit our Buddha quota on our last trip.
So, after a cursory poke about, we made a swift bee-line to Cheung Sha beach, 20 minutes down the road. After a nap and watching the sun go down behind the mountains we started our trip back to the mainland.
Not two minutes after Byron said ‘we’ve got this transport malarkey sorted’ were we refused entry onto a bus for having insufficient funds on our travel cards, and had no cash on us. A couple of kilometres drudge and an £8 taxi ride later, we eventually made it to the MTR station & ATM with a bemused unpaid taxi driver.
On our last day in the city and acting on a recommendation of ‘something you must do in Honkers’, perhaps the most pleasant surprise of all was visiting Sha Tin racecourse to watch the horse racing.
The course is surrounded by a mixture of sky scrapers and mountains and was a wonderful way to while away a Sunday afternoon.
It was interesting to observe how many of the locals watched the race on TV inside the stands rather than standing outside to watch it live! While Fern won a very respectable 60p, Byron was the winner of day allowing us to eat dinner that evening!
Thank you Honkers – you were the perfect opening act to our trip.
Hostel: Ah Shan Hostel, Mongkok – provides the ability to shower while on the toilet (pretty standard in HK), great location.