We got to Hong Kong after an awesome flight with Emirates. We’ve had so many budget airlines that this was walking onto a 5* luxury plane. The food and service was amazing, we only wished the flight was longer. We got the Airport Express into the city just as it was getting dark. Already from the short walk from the station to our apartment it felt like a great atmosphere with a mixture of London and New York.
Our Air BnB was on Hong Kong Island near Causeway Bay, great for jumping onto the underground trains and perfect for shopping. Our studio apartment was teeny tiny. It had the worlds smallest washing machine which to us was pure luxury, we could wash our own clothes! Air BnB was the cheapest way to stay in this city that we had looked at and worked out perfect for us.
The temperature was cooler and less humid here which was so refreshing and made it much easier and more comfortable to explore around. The first night we came across a vegetarian restaurant that was cheap and incredible. We both opted for the big bowls of soup/broth with noodles and satay tofu for Stu and I had dumplings. If this was the start of food here at Hong Kong it got us very excited for the next 5 days. We got our bearings and an early night to explore.
We saw so much here, we jam packed our days full of tourist spots. We went walking down random roads and ended up at beautiful gardens, seeing little temples hidden amongst the huge buildings crammed with tiny flats like ours or huge fashion designer offices. Stu had found a pub crawl that you can buy tickets to and get discount drinks and a tour of the best places to drink at. It was a very messy night. There was a free shot upon arrival and money off gin and tonics. 100 people turned up to this event, including a lot of Dutch people dressed as various animals! We drank a lot, made new friends and got lost stumbling back home before remembering we could get a taxi… This night came crashing into a very hungover state the next day.
After we could stomach food and sunlight we were on a mission to see everything. We got the classic Bus Tour tickets. Traditionally we always seem to pick the worst weather to sit on top of an open top bus to see the vast cities that we visit. Hong Kong was no exception, the coats finally came out of the backpacks for the first time since we packed them! It always makes us laugh as we shrink down and try and hide from the wind and rain whilst battling through the tourist hot spots. For us it’s a great way to see a lot of stuff, hop on and off, in a short space of time. They always come with a discount and freebie booklet too. We got to see the observation deck at the Sky Tower, the weather actually lifted for this, and we got some great photos of the view. It also got us a free boat ride to the other part of Hong Kong and a discounted trip up the Peak tram.
The Peak was built in 1880 with it’s first trams going to the top of the peak. It’s been updated and changed in the long years it’s served the city. They added a history gallery 10 years ago which you can look at while you wait for your turn to the top. The tower at the top is very modern, with shops and restaurants. The observation deck shows the beautiful city in all its glory. Luckily for us there was a Bubba Gump restaurant in the tower, Stu’s favourite film ‘Forest Gump’ and his heaven! There’s so much memorabilia in here along with the brilliant view to watch the city. We might have ordered Coronaritas before 11:30 but that’s ok, we’re on our holidays…
Further out of the city you can get to Po Lin Monastery – Tian Tan – The Big Buddha. You don’t feel like you’re 20 minutes away from the big bustling city at all. We opted to get there by the Ngong Ping cable cars that takes 30 minutes and gets ridiculously high into the mountains. Much to my horror Stu booked the crystal clear car, which was just clear glass all over… even the floor! I’m not so great with heights, but pushing myself to do more so this was a challenge. I did manage to sit right on the floor in the middle of the car.
When you get to Tian Tan it’s a village just for the monastery and the huge Buddha they built. But before you can get to it there’s lots of modern shops and of course a 7-11 and a Starbucks… It’s a big climb up to the Buddha in the heat but it’s an amazing view to see the green landscape and the village below. It really is massive, 111ft and made of copper. It took the Monks 12 years to make and finished in 1993, they wanted it to represent peace and prosperity of Hong Kong and China. There’s also 6 kneeling statues of “The Offering of the Six Devas” which are along the bottom of the first platform below the Buddha. It really is spectacular to see along with the colourful Monastery with the ever present wafts of incense that make hazy viewing at times because there are so many burning at once.
Along with the culture, the modern shopping, restaurants and gardens Hong Kong is rich with diversity and can appeal to so many different types of tourism. We really loved it here, it was chaotic but felt very well organised with easy to use public transport. The food was incredible, avocado for breakfast with hipster style cafes everywhere. We found a great sushi restaurant that was tiny and fun with a conveyor belt with little plates of yummy food. We’ll definitely want to come back and explore here some more!