Short notes on Hong Kong

After 3 weeks of travel, I’m finally finding time to write something for this blog! Although such a short amount of time, a lot has happened since we left Heathrow on our 12 hour flight to Hong Kong.

When Claire and I landed, the rain was pouring! We managed to get a bus into the city, but with no idea where to get off, we relied on photos from Google! Thankfully, it paid off, and we were soon at the Oriental Lander, a compact hotel in the north of Kowloon.

We strolled down Nathan Road, something we would do a lot over the next few days as we bounced between Kowloon and Hong Kong aboard the Star Ferry.

Excellent value at just HK$2.40 (about 24p) each! The city is an amazing clash of eastern and western cultures - whilst Starbucks and Burger King straddle one side of the road, traditional Chinese medicine stalls and dried fish cover the opposite streets. Language wasn’t too much of an issue either, which was a relief, as almost everything was written in English…

We sampled some tradional Chinese food, and whilst still unsure of some of the things we were eating, it all tasted very nice!

We headed up to the Peak for views across the harbour, but although the rain had long gone, cloud still hung heavy in the air, so we could barely make out any buildings. Undeterred, we walked around some of the tracks across the Peak, and got some good photos!

At night, the view across to Hong Kong harbour from Kowloon is incredible, and we made sure to get plenty of pics. The buildings here are on a scale you have to see to believe-we were both very impressed!

On our last full day in Hong Kong, we travelled to Lantau island to see the famed Big Buddah’. He is indeed big, and the surrounding countryside is breathtaking. After climbing the steps and exploring the neighbouring monastery, we hopped on a bus to the fishing village of Tai O.

Here, we walked through the bustling fish markets and through the village houses to a lookout across the ocean where we could see Chinese White dolphins breaking the waves. Again, the landscape was like something out of a book, with lush green mountains surrounding us, and the Big Buddah emerging every so often through the mists that passed over their peaks.

Our final day in Hong Kong was spent exploring more of the city and Hong Kong island. As recommended by our travel guide, we seeked out the Luk Yu tea house (along Stanley Street) for a well deserved brew.

Whilst Claire was initially concerned we might be spending a fortune on Dim Sum, her fears were alleieved by the lovely green tea, and - more importantly - endless refills of the teapot on offer.

Hong Kong is a truly amazing place, and we both enjoyed our short stay there. We sampled plenty of tea and famed Hong Kong cakes, and were very surprised by the seemingly slow pace of the main streets.

Being a huge financial and business centre, we’d expected streets rammed like London’s Oxford street, but instead everyone along Nathan Road seemed to stroll along at a pleasant and relaxed pace.

We left Hong Kong for the next leg of our journey to Australia, happy to have finally seen that world-famous skyline and sampled some very new foods.

During our travels, we are keeping journals that we’ll eventually write up on our return. It would also be great to get some photos up, but finding free (or even cheap!) Internet in Australia, and somewhere that can read SDHC cards, is proving nearly impossible.

Hopefully we’ll be able to find somewhere as we travel down the East Coast. In the meantime, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

21 April 2010