After being put in touch with an old school mate through a mutual friend (Facebook does have some benefits), a suggested catch up for coffee turned into two weeks of home comforts, family feasts and an expert expat take on the best of Hong Kong that I will never forget.
There was so much to do and such diversity of culture and landscape… Whether it was tasting life as an expat in Sai Kung or bunking down with the backpackers in Causeway Bay, I could wax lyrical about Hong Kong all day long, so here’s the condensed version…
Hong Kong Island…
Vibrant, bustling and cosmopolitan – a rich blend of Asian alley ways, western consumer culture and corporate skyscrapers. Whether it’s brand name shopping, top notch cuisine, an evening’s entertainment, a visa run or a walk along the waterfront, you’ll find everything around Causeway Bay, Central and Wanchai.
Lang Kwai Fong and Soho, in and around Central/Mid-Levels (ingenious escalators), are the places the rich kids hang out. It ain’t cheap, but so many great spots to soak up the after work drinkers vibe, sample menus from all over the world, take in the antique streets and meandering markets. You’ll also find Asia’s first comedy club – which is a very entertaining night out indeed!
For a unique experience, the funicular tram up Victoria Peak is fantastic way to see the city and beyond. Not to mention the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co restaurant at the top (which fellow Forrest Gump Fans will find fabulous!), that has some of the best views over Hong Kong from its bar. Nearby, the Zoological and Botanical Gardens offer respite from the tourist trail and is home to many plant and animal species.
Happy Valley Races are a must for any racing fan (or horse racing virgins). At HK$10 for a ticket on Sundays and Wednesdays, it’s a great night out on the cheap and you might even get lucky backing the winner!
In the south, a short bus ride to Stanley, passing Repulse and Discovery Bays on your way, is a relaxing way to escape the city, check out the market, get some beach action and see a slower side of Hong Kong life.
And that’s just the Island, I haven’t even got started about the other stuff!
For a more authentic Asian experience, Kowloon offers up even more delights – from the Rolex and Gucci lined Nathan Road and the infamous Chungking Mansions (where I had the best curry ever – thanks Jordan), to the markets of Mong Kok and Temple Street. There’s also a LA style ‘Avenue of Stars’ with a free light show every evening that illuminates Hong Kong in musically accompanied neon lights!
Over on Lantau there’s the Ngong Ping 360 cable car taking you to the Big Buddha Temple (and that is one massive Buddha)and an illegal drive (apparently you should have a permit) takes you to the quaint and quirky fishing village of Tai O.
Towards the New Territories there‘s the lesser known, but fascinating Ten Thousand Buddha Monastery in Sha Tin and for a bit of nature there’s the beautiful Sai Kung Country Park.
Then there’s the food, the trams, the Star Ferry and so much more…take your walking shoes, extra memory cards and go and see for yourself!
Dedicated to Family Atko…you are the best and I can’t ever thank you enough for making a good trip GREAT x x x