Travel

Travel Diaries: Hong Kong

Hong Kong has been on my list of places to visit for such a long time. I had done all my research but for some reason, we were never able to plan a trip there. Last year however, my husband was invited for a training to the beautiful of Hong Kong and I knew I had the perfect opportunity to tick it off my bucket list.

How To Get There

Hong Kong is the perfect last minute vacation country in my opinion. It is one of the most well connected cities in the world. You have tons of flights available and a 15 day e-visa which you can get within 48 hours of applying.

How To Get Around

The easiest way to get around anywhere in Hong Kong is to get an octopus card. The prepaid Octopus card can be used for paying for all types of public transport, be it MTR, buses, ferries or trams. You can also use it at quite a few shops and fast-food restaurants.

Places To Visit

Victoria Harbour

If you want to get the best view of Hong Kong, the peak is the place to visit. The experience becomes all the more special thanks to the the Peak Tram. It is one of the oldest mode of transport in Hong Kong and I was fortunate enough to ride it before this original more than 200 year old tram is discontinued by the government next year and replaced by a newer version.

I would suggest booking the ticket for the tram and viewing platform at The Peak through Klook as you are able to skip the huge line at the platform and to access the peak as well.

Quick Tip: When you are in the tram, find a seat on the right side because that is where the view is.

Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade

The Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront is another spot to take in the breathtaking skyline view of Hong Kong Island. While you’re there, make sure to visit the Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong’s version of the Hollywood “Walk of Fame,” . There are shops, restaurants, and, at night, a large outdoor market serving traditional Cantonese food alongside knockoffs and souvenirs. You can also visit the Hong Kong Museum of History and the Hong Kong Science Museum which are located right next to the promenade.

The best thing however to do at the promenade is the Symphony of Lights which happens at 8:00 PM every day. It is a harmonious display of lights, laser lights, fireworks and music that can be viewed from the promenade for free. English narration is available on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You can also see the show from one of the many ferries passing by Victoria Harbour. If you prefer to experience riding the sightseeing ferry, you can book tickets a day before because the lines can be crazy.

Ride Ngong Ping 360

I was really excited for this as you get a view of the whole city from the sky. The Ngong Ping 360 cable car runs a little over 3.5 miles, from Tung Chung across the bay giving you the panoramic view of the harbour , moving toward the airport and then onward to Lantau Island.

Ngong Ping highland in Lantau Island is home to 3 attractions in Hong Kong: Ngong Ping Village, The Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha.

Po Lin Monastery was founded in 1906 by three monks visiting from Jiangsu Province on the Chinese mainland. It was initially known simply as “The Big Hut” and renamed to its present name in 1924.

Apart from the monastery, you have to visit the colossal Big Buddha called Tian Tan Buddha. This bronze statue weighs 250 tons and stands at 35 meters high. I would suggest covering this earlier in the morning because you have to climb quite a few steps to reach the Buddha and doing that when the sun is right on your head is no fun.

Ngong Ping Village is a culturally themed village, established to showcase the spiritual and cultural side of Ngong Ping. There are quite a few activities available like “Walking with Buddha” and “Stage 360” . You can also just roam around to shop from the various little kiosks or enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants of the village.

Hong Kong Disneyland

This was the part of the trip I was looking forward to the most. Yes, go ahead, roll your eyes all you want but I am proud of being a 29 year old Disney fan. First of all, the theme park has 7 themed attractions like Fantasyland, Adventureland, Main Street, Mystic Point, Toy Story Land etc.. There are also characters roaming in the park which can be a fun thing if you are travelling with kids. Being here was kind of a childhood dream for me particularly watching the parade and fireworks display.

Ocean Park Hong Kong

The Ocean Park was my husband’s “Disneyland”. Covering an area of 226 acres, the park is separated by a large mountain into two areas, The Summit and The Waterfront.

These areas can be reached by a 1.5 km cable car system, or the Ocean Express funicular railway. To ascend the Headland comprises several hills, visitors can use Hong Kong’s second longest outdoor escalator.

The theme park quite a few attractions including roller coasters, animal exhibits such as a giant panda habitat, rain forest etc. Also, it has an aquarium featuring the world’s largest aquarium dome.

Macao

Macao is just an hour’s ferry ride from Hong Kong so I would suggest sparing a day to visit the same. In contrast to the common assumption, Macao is not all about luxury casinos. This European colony has quite a few UNESCO Heritage sites which can be a fun experience to visit. Do not miss n enjoying some European cuisine at the various cafes in the city.

What Else

Shoppers Paradise

Hong Kong was a shopper’s paradise and the shopaholic in me went quite crazy. If you are like me and love to shop then you need to visit the Temple Street Night Market and Stanley Market. Be ready to bargain hard though. Similarly, for unique boutiques and vintage stuff, Central and SoHo are the places to go.

Nightlife

I am not much of a pub hopper anymore but I do enjoying visiting the party hubs of each city for a quick drink. Lan Kwai Fong or LKF is a small square of streets in Central, Hong Kong. It is a popular expatriate haunt in Hong Kong for drinking, clubbing and dining. I would recommend Keyaki, Kila and Veranda in the area.

What To Eat

Hong Kong has a quite a few options when it comes to Chinese, Cantonese and European options. Do not miss the amazing egg tarts, soup dim sums, beef brisket bowl, egg waffles and the pineapple bun. You can find most of these at the local eateries at Central and Wan Chai.

If you are a vegetarian, you might find it a little difficult to find good options to eat out so you might have to rely on food chains like McDonald or Pizza Hut.

What To Pack

Hong Kong is hot and humid around the year so you need to take things that are comfortable. Cotton tops, summer dresses, shorts and anything and everything else that works for a humid weather will work in HK.

Also, I would suggest taking the most comfortable pair of shoes you own with you because Hong Kong is all about walking around. Taxis are quite expensive in HK and even though the whole city is well connected by MTR, you have to walk in and around the station.

I am usually a beach bum when it comes to vacation but visiting the city of Hong Kong has completely changed my idea of a city vacation. The city offers a perfect mix of a cultural rich modern city. Finally, the city has something for everyone whether you are travelling alone, are a couple, or going with your kids and family.

Have you ever been to Hong Kong?

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