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July 22nd 2023
Published: September 27th 2023
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A quick day trip to Hong Kong. This time I took the train from Shenzhen North Station to West Kowloon Station. The train journey was really quick, only 20 minutes and I like the ticketless travel. However, the journey was really boring as it was mainly through tunnels so nothing to see and Hong Kong immigration took forever as it was so busy. Also West Kowloon Station isn't directly connected to the MTR so we had to walk through a mall for about 5-10 minutes to reach it. Subway to Hong Kong station was nice and quick and from there we walked up to Central. Although I have been to Hong Kong a few times and visited quite a bit of it, there are always new places to discover, even in areas and districts that I have been to before. I think that's why I love coming back time and time again. We walked around Central along Connaught Road and Des Voeux Road and past the Western Market Building, which I don't recall seeing before. It is the oldest surviving market building in Hong Kong. I love just looking up and seeing all the skyscrapers jutting out into the sky. I love the mix of the new ultramodern glass fronted buildings with the older concrete ones and the smaller buildings too. Also the buildings covered with bamboo scaffolding, which I think look great as well. On Upper Lascar Row, there was a flea market/second hand market going on and it was nice to walk among it and see what was on offer. It was a scorcher of a day so I was happy when we stopped off at a convenience store for some water. My body needed it. Then it was back out to wander the streets of Central some more. The area we were in had a sleepy Saturday morning vibe to it, as there weren't too many people out, like many had been out the night before or were just relaxing under the air conditioning because it was the weekend.

We made our way down to the Central Pier to catch the Star Ferry across to Kowloon. No matter how many times I have ridden the Star Ferry, it never gets old. It is one of my favourite things to do in Hong Kong. I love watching the tall buildings of Hong Kong Island get smaller in the distance and watching the different kinds of boats sailing around Victoria Harbour. When we arrived in Tsim Sha Tsui we went to look for somewhere to eat as it was well past lunchtime and we were starving. We had decided on curry so headed to Chungking Mansions to find a restaurant. This takes me back to my first trip to Hong Kong and staying at Mirador Mansions next door in a proper couple of little flophouses. We headed up to the first/second (depending on what you call it) floor and found a restaurant straight away. It was time for a mango lassi and some air conditioning. I was very boring and went for my regular choice of palak paneer and garlic naan. The food was really good and it was nice to escape from the heat for a bit. Since I didn't have samosas with lunch we headed downstairs to one of the stalls selling them to get a samosa fix. So good!

The afternoon and early evening were spent wandering around Kowloon. We headed up Nathan Road, branching into side streets and the different markets. Some of these I'd visited previously, but some were new to me. We wandered around the Temple Street Night Market area, but since it was still early it was pretty dead. We wandered around some of the other streets I'd never been down before. We had a walk around a camera market and it was nice to be in the air conditioning and also see all the different types of cameras and accessories on offer. If I was alone, I would never visit these kinds of markets so it was interesting to see something different. Back outside we headed to Sham Shui Po and the Mong Kok area. It was a lot more lively here. Lots of stores and markets spilling out from their buildings onto the streets and also people flogging stuff from their cars/vans and little hawker stalls. The streets were teeming with people and energy. It made a real contrast to the sleepy vibe there had been in Central earlier. Looking in some of the second hand shops was eye opening, so much crap (in my opinion) for sale, all that one man's trash is another man's treasure I suppose. I did wonder about the guns for sale, presumably replicas.

As the sun was setting we headed down to the Prince Edward area to see the Goldfish Market. I have been here before during the daytime, so it would be good to see it at night. I think I preferred it at night. We wandered around looking at all the fish for sale and the creepy bugs that you can buy to feed them(?) or just because you want to keep them. The outer streets also had other kinds of pet stores and we saw a variety of animals for sale. We headed up to an overpass, where we got some great views of the market going on in the street below us. It was great watching the covered stalls with their lights shining out from beneath their roofs and the people wandering among them. By this point we were wrecked, it had been a long day and we still had to make it home. We hopped on the MTR to take us to Lok Ma Chau, where we could cross back into the mainland at Futian Checkpoint. The train was pretty busy so we had to stand for the whole journey, which wasn't too bad. Getting out of Hong Kong was fairly straight forward. I find it a little strange when the immigration officers ask your name, surely if I was using a fake/stolen passport, I would have memorised these details. Getting back in to China was an ordeal. Why at one of the busiest border crossings they only have one immigration officer for foreigners I will never know. Also no arrivals forms out for people to fill in. Arrival forms are so archaric. Eventually an extra member of staff was added to deal with the ever expanding queue but I still spent a good 40 minutes waiting. Not what I wanted after a long day. However, Hong Kong was great as always.

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