Hong Kong was awesome! We were staying in Lan Kwei Fong (central Hong Kong Island) - in the Soho area. The city is very cool, loads of big skyscrapers and at night it’s quite spectacular when the buildings are all lit up. Hong Kong Island is one giant hill so there is lots of steps involved in navigating the city (they even have escalators on some streets!). It’s a bit of a labyrinth of alleyways and roads which are all crammed full of cafes, shops and fluorescent signs. Weather wise it’s been pretty chilly (around 5-10 degrees) for most of the trip and it’s the coldest Hong Kong has been for 16 years! We mitigated the frosty temperature by purchasing new woolly jumpers!
On our first evening (Thursday 13th Feb) we were pretty exhausted after the nearly 24 hour journey, so after showers we explored the local Lan Kwei Fong area. We went to the local market and ate at a really nice little tea house recommended in our Lonely Planet. After a late start the following day we headed to “Victoria Peak” which is a vantage point accessible via a very steep tram ride, which has great views of the harbour. In the evening we went to a restaurant called Ye Shanghai in the Marco Polo Hotel and as it was Valentines day, we had the special set-menu. It was okay but I was a little grossed out by the Sea Cucumber and purple egg(!). After the meal we went to the ‘Avenue of Stars’ (a viewpoint to see Hong Kong Island) to take a few photos and then we found a really nice wine bar near our hotel for a bottle of beaujolais.
On Saturday we had brunch at a famous Dim Sum restaurant (Tim Ho Wan) which was really delicious, then we did a bit of shopping in the Olympian City. We explored the Mong Kok area which was really densely populated with high rise apartment blocks and loads of local shops and cafes. We visited Tin Hau Temple which was really busy filled with so much incense it made your eyes sting. We bought a few things from the Jade Market to add to our growing collection of bits on our Indian Cabinet at home & we checked out Temple Street Night Market. In the evening we found a local Nepalese restaurant which was really good!
Sunday was our last full day and we visited Man Mo Temple which is the most famous temple in Hong Kong; it was even busier than yesterdays and the incense was somehow even more potent! We then caught the train to Lantau Island and then caught a cable car to see the Tian Tan Buddah. It’s the world’s largest bronze Buddah statue and sits on the top of a mountain. On the way up we went through the clouds and even had a bit of sun when we emerged out the other side. The Buddah was a total highlight and it was quite nice seeing a bit of the countryside after spending a few days in the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong City. In the evening we got the Star ferry to Kowloon (mainland Hong Kong) to watch the “symphony of lights” where they play music and orchestrate a light show on the buildings. It was okay; perhaps it would have been more exciting on a clearer night. After that we went to a restaurant called Nanhai recommended by Linden (a friend of the family) and it was probably the best Chinese food we’ve eaten and we had an amazing view of Hong Kong Island. After the meal we met one of Neil’s friends who lives out here and he took us to the Ritz Carlton bar ‘Ozone’ on the 118th floor. The views should have been spectacular but unfortunately we were just in the clouds so we couldn’t see anything. We then headed back over to Hong Kong Island for quite a few more drinks!
On Monday (yesterday) we were very hungover so we just did a bit of chilling in a big local shopping centre (the IFC) and walked along the harbour. In the evening we flew from Hong Kong to Bangkok and we stayed in a hotel at Don Muang airport. We’re now just in Starbucks at the airport waiting for our flight to Mandalay. We’re really looking forward to seeing Myanmar!
p.s: Just sent this from our hotel in Mandalay as we ran out of time in BKK!