I don’t remember when I first learnt of Hong Kong, I know it was whilst it was still under British rule. It interested me as a city, in theory at least, being an easily navigable city with lots to see. As we planned our trip to Australia to visit Jono and Anna for their wedding it seemed like a golden opportunity to visit.
We arrived at Hong Kong reasonably early on the Monday morning between Christmas and New Year and made our way to Kowloon, and the Hotel Benito, via one of the airport buses. We couldn’t check in for a few hours so abandoned our stuff and spent some time exploring the area surrounding the hotel and discovering Kowloon Park and it’s free government wifi.
After check-in, naps and a freshen up we headed back out for further exploration, still staying in the Kowloon area, taking a walk down to the Temple Street night market where we found food and beer, before heading back towards the Avenue of stars to take some night photographs of the skyline.
Our only full day started late due to the excitement of Christmas and travelling catching up with us, but after a quick trip to a nearby bakery to feed ourselves, we headed off to the nearest MTR station to pick up our octopus card (pre-paid travel card – similar to an Oyster card in the UK). Armed with our travelcards we headed off to Lantau Island to take the Ngong Ping 360 cable car to see the Po Lin monastery and the Tian Tan Budha.
After lunching at the monastery, we made our way back towards town and stopped off at Hong Kong Island for some exploring around that area, including, of course, a trip on the Central Mid-levels escalator and a trip to the Man Mo Temple.
After our fill of culture, we headed off to check out a few recommendations from a friend of mine who lived in Hong Kong for a few years, so took in the Red bar at the IFC before finishing our evening at Lin Heung Tea House for dinner.
Our final day in Hong Kong, so after another bakery based breakfast and checking out of the hotel (and leaving our bags) we headed off to the 10,000 budha temple as our final cultural experience of Hong Kong, well, if you don’t include food courts in department stores, haggling for iPhone related stuff (case, charger etc) as cultural before getting our bags, getting on the airport express and waiting for our 10pm flight to find Jono and Anna in Sydney (of which more in another blog post).
We used an iPhone app as our main guide which turned out to be excellent and was based on the wikitravel Hong Kong information. See Richard’s post for information about which other apps we used.
60 hours in Hong Kong was a reasonable amount of time to see most things – it was pretty cloudy most of our time there, so there was no point in heading out to Victoria Peak. The timing of our visit, between Christmas and New Year, made this even more interesting, as the cultures collide between dim sum, noodle bars and piped Christmas music from every possible outlet. The general cries of “copy watch, copy handbag” and “new suit, new tailored suit” at every corner were accompanied by the occasional jingle bell rendition – most odd. As a stop over destination, I really enjoyed it, and would gladly stop in Hong Kong again. It was everything I’d imagined it to be, an interesting city which, as an English speaker, is relatively accessible without too much difficulty.