Published: July 25th 2012July 25th 2012
Our first day of travel for our epic summer adventure started with a train ride to Shanghai Hongqiao where we then hopped on an airport shuttle over to Pudong. After the 45 minute ride, things appeared to be going smoothly. Unfortunately our flight ended up being delayed for 2 hours, and the line at customs to enter Hong Kong took about another hour. By the time we reached our hotel, it was 2 in the morning. We ended up running downstairs and walking around for a few minutes before settling in with a beer and sandwich from the nearest 7-11 to celebrate the victory. The next morning we got up and enjoyed what is arguably the best dim sum I’ve ever had. It was delicious. We had shrimp dumplings, radish cakes, barbecued pork buns, and egg rolls. After lunch, we did a little shopping around Tsim Sha Tsui and strolled along the Avenue of the Stars before jumping on the Star Ferry over to Hong Kong Island. We could not have asked for better weather… the whole time we were there it was beautifully clear blue skies. Once on Hong Kong Island, we headed over from the harbor for some lunch
in the Wan Chai district. We had a sort of cashew, chicken, and celery combo dish that really hit the spot. Later on, we headed underground and took the subway over to Mong Kok for some more shopping. Lauren enjoyed the near endless supply of street vendors selling almost everything you can imagine. It was packed. This area in Kowloon is one of the most densely populated places in the world, and it shows. While walking around, I was able to get some local preserved pork slow cooked Cantonese style from a street vendor. It was life changing. If you’re ever in Hong Kong, please order some pig. You’ll see countless restaurants with goose, chicken, and pork hanging in the windows. They are nearly all superb. Craving some western food, we did the cheesy thing and went to an Outback steakhouse for dinner. That blooming onion was very comforting.
The next day we got up and jumped on another ferry out to Lamma Island; a rural area that was quite a welcome contrast to the hustle and bustle of Kowloon. We hiked around the island before settling into lunch at a seaside diner where we enjoyed a shrimp dish
as well as a beef and scallop mélange. As is usual in this part of the world, everything was delicious. We came back to Kowloon to rest up and wash off before heading back to Hong Kong Island to take the peak tram. It is very much a tourist trap, but the views from the top of Victoria peak are beyond comparison. I’ve never seen a more beautiful night time skyline. We found a hiking trail that takes you back down to Central, so we took this new route back. After this, we headed to the Ozone Bar on top of the Ritz Carlton on the 118th
floor of the tallest building in Kowloon. The seating area at the top is actually open air… a crazy concept for that high up. It was spectacular. I believe it is currently the highest bar in the world. After enjoying a drink at the top, we called it a night and headed in. The next day was our last day in Hong Kong before heading to Macau. We spent it doing a little shopping in Causeway Bay and then grabbed a quick bite to eat before catching the ferry.
was pretty much a mystery to me before we arrived. I knew that it had been a Portuguese colony until 1999, and that it was now filled with gambling. It was also VERY small… around 12 square miles. I had heard it had the highest life expectancy in the world and was very intrigued to find out what was so great about this now special administrative region. Our speed boat ferry from Kowloon took us directly to the Macau Harbor. From there, not knowing our way around, we hopped in a cab and shot off to our hotel on Rua de Pequim. We settled in, grabbed some dinner and hit the town. For our first night, we pretty much stayed around our hotel and perused some of the casinos. It’s crazy how much of a one game town this place is. It is at 5 times the gambling revenue of Vegas at this point, and if less than 95% of the tables are baccarat, I’d be surprised. The next day, a slight misadventure landed us at quite a nice little Macanese café. We ordered a few dishes, but the standout for sure was the Macanese pork bun. I was expecting
something a little more similar to Chinese style barbecued pork buns, but all it is is a pork chop on a buttered bun. I was bummed when it hit the table because it looked so bland, only to find it is the most delicious food ever!
Later in the day, we decided to just walk around the town. We saw the obligatory sites, such as the façade of the ruins of the church of St. Paul and the many delightful European squares. The vibrant colors of the Portuguese buildings were beautiful. We lucked out with weather (other than the heat!) and had beautiful skies throughout. After the ruins, and the fort, we headed up to a large city park, cemetery and then went to climb the hill to the top of the island/lighthouse. The tram was broken, so I walked up to scope it out. After heading back, we walked back to the hotel through the city and freshened up. Afterwards, we went back out to try our luck at the tables.
The next morning, we woke up and had breakfast before taking off to enjoy the southern part of the territory. Technically an island, the
whole area is so well connected with bridges and roadways, you’d never know it was separate. The south end is very rural, with very few people hanging around. We took a long walk around this seaside park and got some beautiful pictures while enjoying the cooling breeze. Afterwards, we hit up the Cotai strip and decided to check out a few more casinos before leaving for Zhuhai.
The border was not as quick and easy as we had thought it might be. When we arrived in Macau from Hong Kong, it was a very simple, quick, and painless process. Heading back to China was NOT. We waited in line for what seemed like an eternity just to exit the Macau territory before having to wait in an equally brutal line to re-enter China. We finally arrived, and decided not to shoot up to Guangzhou just yet, but to just stay the night in the border town Zhuhai.
There are more photos below