A few weeks ago I headed to Hong Kong for a few days on my way to meet friends in Japan. I can only ever take around two weeks holiday at one time and so when travelling so far I always like to try and fit in another city to make the most of the travel and this time Hong Kong was the obvious choice!
I flew in to Hong Kong from London with BA and arrived around 2pm. A friend who had been in HK a week earlier recommended to buy the Airport Express for a quick and cheap way to the island. This was actually so useful as the ticket i bought was valid for a one-way trip on the airport express as well as three days unlimited travel on the metro for HK$250. You also get 50 HKD back when you return the card at the airport, although of course I completely forgot to do this.
Hong Kong is made up of three islands; Lantau, Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. I stayed at the Cordis hotel in Kowloon, about 30 minutes from the airport. The hotel itself was in Mong Kok which is a really cool area, bustling with people and full of restaurants and shops etc. The Cordis is also attached to the Langham Place shopping mall which was really handy for grabbing breakfast when i didn’t fancy it at the hotel, as well as grabbing my daily bubble tea! I really rated this hotel purely for the great view and the check in staff. I hadn’t put any notes on my reservation, but a quick glimpse at my passport told the guy on the desk that it was my birthday the following week, and later that evening I had a surprise birthday cake delivered to my room from room service singing ‘happy birthday’. It’s the little things like that that really make the service memorable.
After a quick freshen up I headed out for a wander around Mong Kok and Kowloon. I jumped on the MTR and headed to the Choi Hung Estate before sunset; instafamous for its rainbow coloured flats and basketball courts which are atop the estate’s multi-storey car-park.
I then made my way down to Tsim Sha Tsui and the promenade which overlooks Victoria harbour and Hong Kong Island. I hadn’t planned it but was luckily enough to make it there just in time for the symphony of lights show that takes place every evening at 8:30; basically a light show of all the high rise buildings on HK Island and really worth the visit!
I got up pretty early today and took the MTR all the way to Tung Chung on Lantau, which was full of excitable kids in mickey mouse ears on their way to Disneyland which is also on the island. It’s Tung Chung where you can take a cable car up to Ngong Ping to see the famous Big Buddha. My friend recommended to take a bus up and the cable car down so i jumped on bus no. 23 and it was so worth it for the views of both sides (sit on the right side) of the island on the way to the top. It’s also pretty cheap at 18 HKD. At the top I made way up the many steps to the Tian Tan Buddha (Big Buddha) and then for a wander around the Po Lin Monastery and Ngong Ping village. Unfortunately I had managed to pick the one day that the cable car was closed so had to make my way back down to Tung Chung via bus, not so much fun second time around!
I took the MTR to Central on HK Island and wandered the streets and shops, seeking out Man Mo Temple and the Central-Mid-Levels Escalators (can we have these everywhere please?!).
That evening I headed to the famous Ho Lee Fook for dinner and then back to The Garage bar at the hotel.
Still struggling with jet lag and not getting to sleep until 3am, I had a bit of a lay in this morning and then headed out to New Town Plaza before making the trek up through the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastry – they weren’t wrong about the ten thousand!
I then made my way over to Nan Lian Garden and Chi Lin Nunnery. It was so peaceful here just wandering around the gardens and nice to take in some old Hong Kong in the forefront of newer skyscrapers.
Next up was a trip to Victoria Peak via the Peak Tram. The tram is awesome but don’t be fooled in to buying the expensive viewing platform package, it’s really unnecessary as the view you get anyway is incredible. This cost HK$52 for a return trip. There’s also a shopping mall at the top and plenty of restaurants, I couldn’t help myself but buy a cheap plastic lucky cat!
I took the tram back down to central and walked along the waterfront where i took the iconic Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour to Tsim Sha Tsui. I bought an upper deck ticket, which basically costs hardly anything and takes only a few minutes. A nice change of scenery from the MTR.
I then wandered around the waterfront on the Kowloon side around the Avenue of Stars (although this was closed) and then explored Mong Kok on my way back to the Cordis to pack and get ready to head to Japan in the morning! I was so impressed with Hong Kong, I knew it was meant to be extremely busy, but it really wasn’t as crazy as I expected it to be, especially all the tourist spots! The people are lovely, and speak a lot more English than I expected, the food was delicious and i lucked out with the weather which was clear and beautiful sunshine the entire time! It was just extremely hot and sticky, around 30 degrees celsius everyday, but for me seemed like the perfect time of year to go.