It’s all About the Skyscrapers
After a few months of trying to wrap my head around all things technology, I have finally made it here! My first official post. This website is still a work in progress, and I hope as the weeks go by, this website will begin to look more aesthetically pleasing than it currently does. Bear with me!
So, moving on… My first post starts with my my last big trip of 2015. My friend and I decided to take advantage of a long public holiday and travel to Hong Kong (bucket list item # 106) and I’m so pleased I had the opportunity to visit this vibrant city.
On this trip, I also left the planning in the hands of a travel agent, which I never do. But I took a leap of faith.
After a particularly uncomfortable night flight (I am not a fan of long haul night flights), we arrived in Hong Kong. After checking in to the hotel and an afternoon siesta we decided to explore Kowloon and made our way to the Tsim Tsa Tsui (referred to by locals as TST).
Stay: Intercontinental, Intercontinental Grand or Shangri-La are all located close to the East TST/TST area in Kowloon. Another recommendation by a friend was to stay at the Shangri-La on Hong Kong Island as it has direct views to Kowloon across the Harbour.
Visit: Temple Street Market, explore the Victoria Harbour/waterfront area for stunning views of the HK skyline.
Eat: Street food on Temple Street Market (vegetarian can be difficult).
On our first full day in Hong Kong, our lovely guide Helen came to collect us early in the morning. Helen was so friendly and knowledgeable about the culture and history of Hong Kong. We spent the day exploring Hong Kong Island and Aberdeen. The views from Victoria Peak are magnificent so make sure it is at the top of your list.
- Victoria Peak (tip: unless you want to hike up, make sure you get to the tram station early to avoid super loooong queues).
- Aberdeen fishing village (only if you have the time, otherwise give it a miss).
- Stanley Market and the surrounding area is a MUST SEE! You need at least 2-3 hours.
- Ladies Market if you still feel that you need to shop.
Hit: Views from Victoria Peak
Skip: Madame Tussads
Eat: Spice, Kowloon. Indian/Malaysian cuisine with halal and vegetarian options.
On Day 3, we headed over to Hong Kong Island to visit the famed Frank Gehry designed HSBC headquarters. In the afternoon, we opted for a harbour cruise on a junk boat courtesy of the tour organisers and explored Hong Kong on water.
Tip: There is no need to go on a harbour cruise. Instead, a more fun and much cheaper option is to climb aboard the iconic Star Ferry and travel between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. The fair is less than HK$3.
Eat: Islam food (halal Chinese food from a northern province of China). Directions: MTR: Kowloon Tong, then taxi to restaurant
Day 4 was the highlight of our visit to Hong Kong and I think that no trip to Hong Kong is complete without a visit to Lantau. The island is famous amongst tourists and locals for the seated Tian Tan Buddha (or “Big Buddha”), the biggest of its kind in the world.
- Tai-O Fishing village
- Big Buddha – see if you can climb the 267 steps to the top
- 5.7km cable car Ngong Ping 360
Eat: Lunch: Enjoy lunch at the Po Lin Vegetarian Restaurant
- The only transportation permitted in Lantau are those vehicles that are specially registered in Lantau. Hence, organise a tour with a registered company to avoid the hassle of finding your way around the island. The other way is to get a MTR over to Lantau and then take the cable car up to Big Buddha.
- At the fishing village, DO NOT take photos of older women, people fishing or playing Chinese bingo as it is believed that photos take their souls away
Because you’re never too old for Disney.
This resort is the smallest of all the Disney parks in the world, but the good news is that you will probably be able to cover the entire park in one day. If you are travelling with kids, this is probably at the top of your list. Make sure you catch the Lion King show if it is still playing, it’s quite awesome.
Eat: There is at least one halal restaurant in the park serving Indian/Asian cuisine. Vegetarian options are available as well.
As no trip to Hong Kong is complete without a visit to Macau, on our 6th day we decided to travel to Macau. The only way to get to Macau from Hong Kong is by ferry and there are regular ferry services that depart both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. We used the Turbo Jet service (Departs every 30 minutes from the China Ferry Terminal in Kowloon). Tickets cost around HK$ 165 one way. Average travel time is about 1 hour. I would also recommend that you book your return journey at the same time that you buy your inbound ticket particularly as the later ferries can get more crowded. Also, it is best to book your return ticket for a later time as you have the opportunity to jump on an earlier ferry if you desire. If you want to change your return time to a later time however, you will not be able to do this.
Casinos – of course the main reason that people travel to Macau is to experience the casinos and there are no shortage of casinos here. Grand Lisbon, MGM, The Venetian are just a few that are in Macau. Although I didn’t gamble myself, I was still enthralled by the experience.
- Largo do Senado and see Leal Senado
- Ruins of Church of St Paul
- Monte Fort
- Sir Robert Ho Tung Library
- Macau tower (didn’t have the time, but it is highly recommended)
Eat: Pasteis de nata for those famous custard tarts
- When you travel to Macau, you have to pass through/exit HK borders before you can get on the ferry.
- Bus #3 can get you to the town centre from the ferry station
For such a small city, Hong Kong has a lot to offer and I will most definitely be going back some day.
- Indian passport holders can get a 14 day visa on arrival in Hong Kong and 14 day visa on arrival in Macau.
- The two major islands in HK are Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. Kowloon is where we stayed and has a vibrant night life.