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Hong Kong

HONG KONG | Sunday, 1 July 2012 | Views [965]

27 June 2012

I spent Sunday to Wednesday travelling Hong Kong.  It was only a 2 hour plane trip from Shanghai.  Like most people living around Asia, my trip was induced by an expiring Visa which made me leave mainland China.

Hong Kong is made up of 4 main parts including Lantau island, Hong Kong island, Kowloon/Tsim Sha Tsui and New Territories.  I stayed in Causeway Bay on Hong Kong island which is the busiest shopping area.

Day 1-Monday

I bought a Metro tourist day pass for transportation and took the metro to Lantau island at Tung Chung.  The HK cable car has been featured on Discovery channel "Greatest engineering feats" and is the longest cable car in Asia; possibly the world.  I took the cable car up to Ngong Ping Village a top a mountainous hillside.  The morning was dotted with fast moving and low lying clouds that covered the top of the mountain.  An intense but 5 minute short rain shower happened right before the cable cars opened at 10AM.  Therefore, the view was from rain spotted glass and half way up I was surrounded by white cloudy breeze that was so dense I couldn't see anything.  The second big attraction on Lantau island is the Big Buddha that sits at the top of Ngong Ping with incense burning temples.

After a clear view riding down the cable car alone, I went shopping at the CityGate Outlet mall.  So much to try on and look at, but after 3 hours I did not end up buying anything.  I then took the metro and headed back to Hong Kong island and got off at Central station to find some lunch.  After a walk around Lan Kwai Fong, a popular eat and drink neighborhood, I had a delicious burger and beer special at one of the pubs.  Afterwards, I walked to the Central piers to take a ride on the iconic Star Ferry across the Victoria harbor up to Tsim Sha Tsui.

At Tsim Sha Tsui I had a walk around in the Ocean Terminal and did some window shopping.  Ocean Terminal is the largest indoor mall set jutting out into the harbour.  Nearing evening I headed for the promenade to see the Avenue of Stars and watch the Symphony of Lights as the sun went down.  The Symphony of Lights is a famous site to Hong Kong and the largest permanent city light and music show anywhere.

Day 2-Tuesday

Starting the day at 8:30AM I took a minibus from Causeway Bay to the south end of Hong Kong island getting off at Stanley.  Stanley is one of the oldest villages on the island but has become a popular seaside attraction for tourists and has been commercially reconstructed with water front dining, a pier and modern shopping.  Stanley has a small main beach and is also famous for the Stanley market which sells everything under the sun ready for barganing.  I had a walk on the beach(san sun)and then casually walked the pier, a short wilderness park hike, and the market before catching the bus back to Central.  At the north of HK island at Central there is the Victoria Peak which is the highest viewing area in all of Hong Kong.  I asked the local bus driver where I could get off if I wanted to go up to the peak and he either misunderstood me or I asked the wrong question.  He told me to get off near Wan Chai which is east of Central at a hilly area that had steep streets going upward. Okay,...but I wanted to take the tourist way from the Peak tram stop in Central...It was blazing hot outside, sweat dripping and humid; I decided to start walking having no clue where I just got off the bus.  After 20 minutes up walking on a busy inclined street with large tourist buses ready to plow me over I waved a passing taxi and told him to take me to the top.  Glad I did, because I would have never made the distance we covered by walking.  I then had a leisure rest at the top of Victoria Peak overlooking all of Hong Kong skyscrappers and Victoria Harbour.  From The Peak I rode the Peak tram down the mountain into Central where I explored the streets heading west until I ran into Gough St.  I heard Gough St. was a great place to eat and everyone loved a local hole in the wall for it's beef brisket soup noodles.  So, it was dinner time! And it was delicious.  Around 6:30PM I walked my way back to Lan Kui Fong to meet Katie.  Katie was a contact that my brother set me up with who used to work with him in Atlanta but now still works for TransPerfect but in HongKong.  She was very cool, we had good conversation and a couple drinks ending in SoHo where the iconic mid-town escalators make going uphills very easy.

Many people I talked to before travelling to Hong Kong myself had very different opinions of Hong Kong.  Most were on the dislike side.  Hong Kong is a very densely populated place that feels very crowded at all times but I have to say that my overall impression from my short stay is very positive.  Hong Kong has tropical weather, beautiful hills, beaches, city with world-class shopping and brands as well as dirt cheap bargaining markets.  There are many fabricated attractions for sole tourist purposes but it is an exciting city.  I feel that you can take a bit of Los Angles, New York, London, San Francisco, and Asia slap them together and you've got unique Hong Kong.  Asian foods meet western.  English speaking Cantonese people.  It is definitely a different world from mainland China.


Tags: cable car, china, hong kong, lan kui fong, ngong ping, stanley, star ferry, symphony of lights, the peak, victoria harbour



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