01.05.2016 – 07.05.2016
Arriving in Hong Kong was kind of magical, as we only decided to come to Hong Kong in the previous week, and we survived the grueling process to get a Chinese Visa. When we arrived we couldn’t get over how temperate the weather was, and that we weren’t sweating on impact with the outside world. Two distinguishing factors about Hong Kong are the size of the hotel (budget) rooms and the beauty of the mountainous landscape that laps up against the metropolis. The view of Hong Kong city from the Kowloon foreshore is one of the best city views in the world. Magical!
For the first two nights, we stayed on Hong Kong Island in the heart of the action. Our room was small with just enough room for two single beds and a bathroom. The best thing to do was get out and stretch our legs. We found a really cool restaurant where you sat at a round table with a bunch of strangers and ordered soup. Everyone got the same broth, but you could choose the type of noodle and up to two meats or vegetables to add. Choosing was difficult as outside of mushrooms and beef brisket, everything was foreign to our palate; century egg, pig trotter, undisclosed sausage and chicken feet. Our strategy for finding food in Hong Kong was to keep an eye out for any restaurants that were busy or had lines out the front. Clearly the food was would be good inside, as we couldn’t understand most of the menus.
We felt it was best to play it safe, especially on the first night. For the remainder of our time in Hong Kong we stayed in one of Kowloon’s mansions. Mansions were formerly shopping centres and now they are full of tiny guesthouses. We thought our last accommodation was small, the new one was next level. When you swung open the door it revealed double bed that sat off the ground so bags could go underneath, a small table wedged in the corner (big enough for a passport) and a bathroom where you showered on top of the toilet.
Hong Kong is packed with lots of cool tourist options. Enough to fill 4-6 days easily. We visited the Hong Kong National Museum, the Zoological and Botanical Garden (free zoo!), Peak Tram, Kowloon Park (so many turtles!), Lamma Island and plenty of markets. The Peak Tram is definitely worth a visit, so iconic, and the top has plenty of lovely city views and walking paths. The Zoo, 200m from the tram exit, has the best range of animals in a free city park we have ever seen. It has everything from orangutans to flamingoes. Lamma Island (see Monday Moment 18 for more information) was a great place to visit to get out of the city for a few hours and appreciate more of Hong Kong’s landscape.
In Hong Kong we found that shops selling the same things were grouped together. For instance there is a few street just dedicated to Pet stores, or jewellery, and even a group of goldfish stores!
There is a fabulous part of Shanghai street that is just dedicated to stores selling cooking and homewares! YES! Bianca was ecstatic as we just stumbled across these stores on a leisurely stroll. After a little research on the internet we found that this is one of the best and most extensive set of cookware wholesaler ever – and everything was so well priced! I only had one box to fill, so I was restricted on what I could buy, but I did fill the box to the brim! Pair this with incredible shopping for all things fashion, we actually sent home two boxes worth of items! The first box was used to help lighten the load in our backpacks as well.
Would we recommend Hong Kong to a friend? Yes. But only for a holiday or a short trip. It’s not a place you come for cultural enlightenment, but enough for a cool holiday.
OUR FAVOURITE BITS
- Visiting Lamma Island and having ham and salad rolls for lunch.
- Peak Tram. Make sure you take the short walk to the Botanical and Zoological Gardens while you are in the area.
- Shopping for bakeware (applies to Bianca only)
- Shopping for anything really!
- Viewing the skyline from Kowloon at night.
- Being prepared for small rooms at your accommodation. This is the norm all over Hong Kong.
- If you’re travelling long term and need to send extra items home, to lighten the load, Hong Kong is a great option. Cheap and easy. We sent 2!
- Exploring more than just Hong Kong’s metropolis. The scenery on the islands and mountains are beautiful.
- Not going to the Kowloon Foreshore to watch the light show of Hong Kong city. Completely pointless. Instead just enjoy the city lights when its less crowded.
- Paying 40HKD to get a return trip on the Peak Tram. You can pay 83HKD which will include entry to a viewing platform, but the view is no different to what you see walking around the mountain.