I had always seen Hong Kong as a transit town and not a destination. To me, it was a big metropolitan city and a shopper’s paradise that would take no more than 2 days to see. My perception was changed during my last visit where I stayed for 6 days and still felt as if I didn’t get to fully experience it. Here is a breakdown of what we did, I feel like we got all the tourist things done but also managed to get some of the local experiences in as well 🙂
We stayed in Causeway Bay which was convenient for getting to most places. We just spent the first day walking around the area and got dinner at Din Tai Fung which is popular worldwide for dumplings (xiao long bao) – the bill came up to about HKD 380 for 3 people. We also got the egg waffle gai daan zai across the road from Times Square as a midnight snack for about HKD 15 🙂
Day 2 was a big day because we travelled a long way. We made our way to the Nan Lian Gardens (Diamond Hill Station) and Chi Lin Nunnery (I hear their vegetarian meals are a must-do!), after which we travelled one station further to Wong Tai Shi to the temple. We then took the subway to Mong Kok for some shopping! There were streets and streets of counterfeit goods that look just as good. I’m really bad at bargaining so I decided not to get anything :’). We ate authentic road side won ton noodles for HKD31 each and they were delicious!
After some walking, we rushed to the Avenue of Stars to try catch the light show but had to leave disappointed after waiting for 45 minutes without anything happening, turns out we were at the wrong place (oops). BUT we were told that it can be seen from anywhere! We then changed up the perspective and went to the other side where the Ferris wheel was in Central.
Day three was Ocean Park day! Food in there is really expensive so keep that in mind! We got there as it opened in the morning and then left at 8pm, I’d say we got our money’s worth 🙂 We took the train up to the top first and got on the big rides before it got busy. The park filled up after lunch with many big tour groups. We took the cable car back down and went to all the aquariums and animal buildings. We decided wait until we got back to Central for dinner. Dinner was at Tsim Chai Kee for their delicious won ton noodles for about HKD25 per bowl! Each dumpling had about three prawns in it, yum. I could probably eat this forever!
The morning of day 4 we went to a restaurant nearby and got bo lo bao and nai cha (pineapple bun and milk tea) for breakfast. There was actually no point in doing this because in the streets nearby, there were many bakeries that sell on the pavement for at least a quarter of the price (HKD 5 for one). That night we decided to go up to the Peak. We got to the station at the bottom while it was still light but only got up after it got dark. This was on account of the queues being ridiculously long. All the cold and irritation was soon forgotten when the view of Hong Kong greeted me on the deck. It really is one of those spectacular sights that you can only look at in silence and admire. Well, you can try do that but might not be able to as there will be many other people who also want the view and will steadily nudge you out of the way
The AIA carnival was in town so we decided to check it out, the games and entrance was rather pricey so it was not really worth it.
_______________Interruption of the trip by a 5 day trip to Thailand_____________________________________
Once we got back from Thailand, it was our last night in HK :(. We made our way to Tsuen Wan for some last minute shopping before heading back to the airport hotel.
Our last full day. We decided to visit Lantau Island. We took the cable car up to the Tian Tan Buddha. There is a bus that goes up there for a cheaper price if you’re on a budget but the cable car offers some spectacular views of Hong Kong and you also get a really good view of the Buddha as the cable car takes you into the station. Once up there, there is still quite a distance to go until the Buddha but at least there are picturesque buildings to photograph on your walk over.
Before you climb the stairs up to the Buddha, there is a counter where you can buy coupons to eat at the little cafeteria at Po Lin monastery. They had a variety of dishes and it was quite worthwhile. Buddha watches over you as you climb the stairs and there is a museum beneath Buddha that you’re allowed to visit.
After we had lunch, we took a bus to Tai O where we took a ferry through the town and out into the sea to try spot dolphins (we didn’t). The town of Tai O has a very back-in-time fishing village feel to it. The streets were lined with seafood snacks, dried fishes, and my childhood dishes – tea leaf eggs and thick wheat syrup that you wrap around a small stick hmmmm. There were also tiny tin houses that many residents seem to live in. It is fascinating to see the contrast between the houses in this town and in urban Hong Kong.
And that was the end of our amazing trip to Asia! It was time to go to the airport and return to South Africa 😦
I look forward to going back to Hong Kong to eat all the yummy food and to see more of the city 🙂
Photo Cred: Darren Ho