Published: September 8th 2012September 8th 2012
Day 1 (Thurs 6th
So, my flight left London Heathrow at 9:30am. I checked in around half 6 looking like an extra from a zombie film, certainly wasn’t a pretty sight for the lady on the check in desk. Was also shivering like mad as the marble floor was freezing, this lasted nearly until I got on the plane. I flew with Jet Airways, who I’d never heard of before, booking to Hong Kong via Mumbai for a short interchange of planes. Luckily this morning flight from Heathrow had very few people on it for such a large plane, which meant not only did I have a window seat, which is always better to watch take offs and landings with, but I had 3 seats to myself to lounge over should I need a sleep, which after the night on the floor I did do for a couple hours, not the most comfortable sleep I’ve ever had but better than Heathrow. I used up the rest of the 9 and a half hours watching films, on a nice 11 inch TV in the back of the seat in front, very convenient. The flight was pretty smooth and
the cabin crew very good, also the food pretty decent as well, after having a meal of potatoes and chicken breast; we were also given a chicken curry sandwich as well as drinks and an ice cream, good old feast bar which I haven’t seen in years.
The stopover in Mumbai was straight forward enough, exit plane, avoid the bloke with the semi automatic machine gun, get touched up by customs guards and through into departures. Walked up to the gate for the connecting flight and there was the plane’s bus waiting, straight on and onto Hong Kong flight, handy. This however was a lot busier than the previous place and I had company, therefore no sleeping. Chicken wrap for tea, although it was like 1am, little snooze, 2 more films and woken up for breakfast, given the choice of omelette which I normally avoid or the veggie option which I definitely avoid. Omelette it was and first mouthful, slides off spoon and all over my shorts, knew there was a reason to avoid it!! Rest of the trip flew by and hello Hong Kong. The descent into Hong Kong itself is stunning, we did a bit of a
loop, not sure why but it added value to it. Got to view all the outlying islands south of Hong Kong Island. These islands, some I presume empty look amazing from the air, no doubt they are also. I would have taken some pictures but due to checking in my camera I couldn’t, shame really.
Day 2 (Fri 7th
So arrived at the airport, filled in my visitor card, got my passport stamped and through to collect my bag, very simple process in a monster of an airport, its huge but also very very clean and looked after, all the staff being very helpful and better at speaking English than me.
The process of getting to my hostel was a breeze, airport express shuttle to Hong Kong Island which took no longer than 20 minutes, with some brilliant views of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon in the distance, arriving at Hong Kong Island station which is connected to Central station via a series of long moving walkways. Onto the MTR and 3 stops to Causeway Bay, the MTR here is priced on distance which is handy as I’m so close to the
centre of Hong Kong Island, makes it reasonably cheap, unlike say the tube in London. Arrived at the correct stop, got of the MTR, went to leave the station and boom, hit by a wall of heat and humidity, seems the shuttle and MTR are well air conditioned and outside isn’t. Hopefully I will acclimatise to this heat a bit otherwise I’m in for a struggle over the coming days and months.
Checked into my hostel which is a new experience, so many people in one room, 21 to be precise in this one, although not sure all the beds are taken, but so far I’ve chatted to 2 other backpackers who have been spot on so pretty confident all will be good as we’re in the same boat when it comes to it.
After checking in decided to go for a walk in Victoria Park, old women everywhere doing what I assume was Tai Chi, but before that somehow perfectly timed the ‘Noon Day Gun’ This was accidental although I had read about it so would have liked to see it. Cannon is loaded, then the noon bells chime and it’s fired, very loud and took me
by surprise. . Followed this by walking along the harbour, found the world famous ’Star Ferry’ and figured be rude not to have a trip across to Tsim Sha Sui, For what converts to around 20p, get a 5-10 minute ride across the harbour, the views are amazing and it’s quite something, I’m hoping to over the coming days do this again but at 8pm for the laser show. Also something I want to see from Victoria Peak.
Got the return boat back after spending only 15 mins or so there and headed back to Hostel. I’m shattered so decided spending this night in and getting my head down. A good sleep is much needed. The camera will be getting its first run out tomorrow so time to get snap happy, for now though, quiet night in and some rest.
Day 3 (Sat 8th
Woke up around half 10 after a pretty decent sleep, woke a few times but managed to get back to sleep each time, although still a little tired, 3 nights of lack of sleep definitely catching up with me. Had planned to do Victoria Peak but after reading
reviews decided against doing so on a weekend, plus threat of heavy rain, so give it a swerve for a few days anyways. Still feeling tired, figured an easy day was an idea.
Decided to go and visit the Nan Lian Gardens and the Cho Lin Nunnery, which have between them the Lotus Ponds. This is around 20-25 mins from Hong Kong island on MTR and simple enough to get too. Well worth an hour or so of your time if you have it. The Nan Lian gardens, well are gardens, lots of different areas for different trees and a golden Pagoda in the middle of it. There are also some small buildings inside showing sculptures and architecture but no pictures allowed which is a shame. Followed this by viewing the Lotus ponds, some 50 yards away, a series of symmetrical ponds floating with lotus plants and with dragon like sculptures pouring water into them.
At the top of these ponds is the Cho Lin Nunnery, which is an impressive building, of which I was only allowed to take photos of the outside due to Buddha statues being on display and people praying to them, which is
Pond with Skyline in background
fair enough, There were I think 3 rooms with different statues displayed in them down either side of the Nunnery, with incense burning, the first time that smell has made any sense to me. At the head of the Nunnery is the main room, containing the largest and most impressive statues of Buddha and those that served him. From here I went to the nearest shopping district being Plaza Hollywood.
I had 2 reasons to go in here, firstly being air con, seems my anti-perspirant lasts about an hour, well it did today, which is longer than yesterday, before the full on body sweats that can only be described as playing sports after a heavy drinking session, not pretty at all. So I found the food court and braved my first foreign foods, being barbecued roast pork and chicken on a bed of rice and covered in some sauce, didn’t want to brave noodles or ought so kept it simple and it was beautiful, all for HK$36 which is around 3 quid, bargain, would more than happy pay that again.
Headed back towards Tsim Sha Sui after this to get the Star Ferry back to Wan Chai to
head back to the hostel. Showers are needed a couple times a day easy here, when you melt as much as I do. Off out for a few beverages of the alcoholic variety tonight, which are much needed.
Coming Soon will be Victoria Peak, Lantau, Ngong Ping 360, Tai-O fishing village, Po Lin Monastery and Big Buddha.
There are more photos below