Thursday, June 08, 2006

Enter the dragon

Having just returned from a short break in Hong Kong and Macau I thought I'd write a few words about my holiday. I took just over a week off which in all honesty isn't really long enough to do Hong Kong justice. I managed to see most of the major attractions, though there was a great deal left for me to see. It doesn't help suffering from jet lag as well, which made it extremely difficult to sleep at night time and very tired in the morning.

I arrived at Hong Kong International Airport on Sunday the 28th of May and what a pleasure it was to arrive at this airport. It makes Heathrow Airport look so very sad indeed, not only is Hong Kong airport so clean and efficient there is plenty of space and natural light entering the building. It was no surprise that I quickly zipped through arrivals to be met by my father. A 30-40 minute bus ride later and we were in the Yau Ma Tei area of Kowloon.

The next morning I went down to Tsim Sha Tsui by MTR (Mass Transit Railway) for a brief walk around the area before catching a bus to the airport to meet Yipi who was flying in from Shanghai. I must say getting around Hong Kong is a breeze, especially with the handy Octopus card (Whizzy card which you can add money to, and use to pay for public transport and purchases in many shops). During the afternoon we visited Wong Tai Sin temple and explored around Tsim Sha Tsui and the view overlooking Victoria Harbour. We then took the famous Star Ferry across the harbour to Central, which unfortunately made Yipi feel a bit seasick.

The next day week took the MTR to Lantau Island and then a bus around the nice countryside to Po Lin Monastery. Po Lin is quite famous for having a large bronze statue of the Buddha, in fact it is the world's tallest outdoor seated bronze Buddha. We climbed up the stairs to see the statue and then looked around the temple and paid our respects.

We proceeded back to Hong Kong in the afternoon and decided to take the Peak Tram up to the top of Victoria Peak. The views of Hong Kong are amazing from here, even with overcast weather.

The next morning we started the day with Yum Cha or sometimes called Dim Sum, which consist of small dishes you choose from various carts being wheeled around the restaurant. There is nothing like having breakfast in Hong Kong, and it's quite surprising how busy the restaurants are at 8am. I heartily recommend having Yum Cha if you ever decide to visit Hong Kong, especially the London Restaurant on Nathan Road between Mong Kok and Yau Ma Tei.

During the day we explored Hong Kong, especially around the Central area, Mid Levels and Man Mo temple.

We then looked around the Space Museum and wisely visited the Bird and Flower market.

The next day we visited the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort on Lantau Island and unfortunately for us the weather wasn't brilliant. The placed looked very promising at first, but you soon discover that this is a very small resort. It's still got some quite reasonable attractions, though we kind of felt disappointed leaving the resort. The saving grace of the resort must have been the 3D cinema and the Space Mountain ride (we even went on the ride twice). I don't think Yipi enjoyed the ride particularly the first time, as she didn't stop screaming for pretty much the whole ride.

The next day we took a ferry trip to Macau from the Shun Tak ferry terminal in Sheung Wan. The journey by ferry takes around an hour, even in the horrible weather we had to endure. It rained for the best part of the day, though we still managed to see quite a lot of Macau as well as spending a bit of cash in the Casino Lisboa.

The following day we decided to take a leisurely look around the Mong Kok area, mainly an excuse to buy lots of junk for friends and relatives back home. Mong Kok is an excellent place for shopping, as there are so many markets in that area. You name it and I'm sure you can find it there. I recommend the fruit market and ladies' market especially towards the late afternoon when things are getting busy. This area of Hong Kong is so buzzing, especially late in the evening and feels extremely safe.

Before I knew it the holiday was over and I would be heading back to the UK aboard a Cathay Pacific flight to London Heathrow.

More pictures from my Hong Kong trip at :-


MarciNYC said...

I love visiting your blog to see where you've been. Your pics make me smile -- and I'm *this close* to booking a ticket to Hong Kong.

That yum cha/dim sum looks delicious! I haven't had it in a long time -- used to get it quite frequently in Chinatown (NYC). Living in the suburbs now, it's not as convenient.

Loved the London pics too -- reminds me I am overdue for a trip to England. I don't think it'll be happening this year, more likely 2007 when work pays for the airfare. :)

nac said...

Would recommend a trip to Hong Kong, though it might be a bit too humid for you during the summer. Hong Kong is a very easy place to get around, especially as the public transport system is so convenient and frequent. You must try dim sum in Hong Kong, that atmosphere is completely different from other cities.
It'll be a few months before I go abroad again, though should manage a few places in the UK soon