I write this blog almost 18 months after arriving home from Hong Kong, so am relying on my memory along with our photographic record of events. We took little to no diary notes during our 10 day stay. Something I now wished we were more diligent with at the time.
I remember arriving into Hong Kong on the airplane and gazing out the windows at the lit skyline, it was late in the night on New Year's Day. We were both excited to be here in this international metropolis city and to the new experiences that it may bring with it. We grabbed a taxi to our hotel, we were staying at the highly recommended Lan Kwai Fong hotel in the middle of the bustling area of Soho. It was quite expensive at around $200 per night, but the location was amazing and the rooms and luxury was exquisite. Unfortunately I had to shake off the last of our Boracay luck when we arrived at the hotel in the taxi and I mistakenly handed over a crisp 1000 Hong Kong dollar bill instead of a 100 and didn't realise until I got my wallet out in the lobby.
At an exchange rate of around 7.50 HKD to 1 AUD we basically just kissed $130 goodbye upon a silly mistake. It can happen all too easily when you aren't used to the new currency denominations and look of the notes, especially on the darkness of a taxi at night. We did our best to retrieve the money and the hotels staff were very very helpful and kind in this regard taking us to the nearest police station so we could put in a report. The police attempted to call the taxi company however weren't able to locate the taxi driver. We didn't exactly expect to see the money back, and at this point in time we really weren't that bothered about it as we knew that all we wanted to do was forget about events of the last few days and start our holiday experience afresh. We went back to the hotel for a well deserved rest in our super comfy luxury room.
We were happy to spend our days in Hong Kong just living..... Soaking up the sights, sounds, feel, and tastes of this wonderful city without any real agenda. We had no preset expectations of Hong
Kong, but we absolutely loved our time here. Some of the activities we got up to included:
• The peak, for some stunning views over Hong Kong. The trip to get up here in the tram is not for the claustrophobic! And I don't mean for the tram cabins, but for the thousands of people who all seem to be ascending to this view point at all times of the day. There just doesn't seem to be a quiet moment up here. But it is well worth fighting through the crowds to get here and see it for yourself.
• Star ferry crossing to Kowloon, which included a pleasant stroll along the riverfront following the stars on the footpath to find Jackie chan.
• Happy valley racecourse on the Wednesday night for a punt and a pint. We had a great time here and it is well worth a look. It is quite the experience cheering your horse home under the lit skyline of Hong Kong in the background
• Shopping, shopping, and more shopping. I think we would have walked through the IFC mall at least 4 times a day. We couldn't believe how many malls there are in Hong Kong.
There seems to be one on every corner. Suz mentioned a few times that she would love nothing more than to come back to HK one day with a group of girls for a shopping extravaganza. I guess I just wasn't quite the shopping companion that she would have hoped for!
• Hong Kong park for a stroll and some 'fresh air' in the middle of the city. We managed to see some locals practicing tai chi, and also visited the bird park which was for us surprisingly worth the time and effort.
• The mid levels escalator, we thought it was genius that they had these escalators running from the lower lying areas right up into the mountains to make people's daily commute to work so much easier. During the morning they run down into the city on the way to work and in the arvo they run in reverse to take you back up hill and home again. Brilliant, and such leg savers in this hilly part of town in Soho.
• The people's party which was a concert that happened to be on during our stay. It featured the Jezabels and the naked and famous. We were most excited to
see the Jezabels. We arrived with plenty of time up our sleeve so went and had a drink and a bite to eat, unfortunately we arrived back at the concert and the Jezabels had only a couple of songs left on their set. Somehow we majorly stuffed up the timing of our return. Not to worry, we still managed to see a few songs and the naked and famous were great as well.
• The laser show over the city best viewed from over the star ferry on Kowloon. This was a little disappointing and we couldn't see what all the hype was about. However we did really enjoy the night skyline views of Hong Kong.
Some of the amazing places we dined included:
• Shui hu ju, where they served a modern Chinese menu. It was at the top of Peel St on Soho, through some beautiful large wooden doors. This was by far the best restaurant we ate in during our stay, so good we went back a couple of times as we absolutely loved the modern twist on all time classics and the ambience was beautiful and quite romantic really.
• Yung Kee on Wellington
St, a dim sum experience in Soho. We didn't see an expat in the whole place but instead dined with the locals. Unfortunately they weren't serving their famous goose at the time of our visit.
• Bubba Gump Shrimp Co at the peak, this interesting franchise revolves completely around the movie Forrest Gump. We actually had some decent seafood here. But more than anything we were just here for the wicked views over Hong Kong from the tables and floor to ceiling windows.
• The temple St night market, we found ourselves parked on a small plastic stool ordering up some street food fair with the locals.... And I loved it! Nothing better than some local street food, and oh so cheap.
• Nah Trang on Wellington St Soho for some unreal Vietnamese, again we frequented this place with a couple of visits it was so good.
We went to some brilliant bars as well, most that I can’t remember the names of but the ones that I do included:
• Pubblico on Staunton St which had a western wine bar feel to it. People were snacking on after work tapas and downing red wines at long u shaped
• Varga lounge, by far our favourite. They served up the best appletini cocktails. The bar is themed with cartoon pin up girls and furnished with comfy old school lounges and chairs.
We really enjoyed our time staying at Hong Kong and can easily say that we would happily move to this city tomorrow. It had such a great vibe to it with so much to see and do. We realise that we probably only saw the tip of the iceberg. There seems to be an abundance of expats, especially around Soho. Each night was lively and it seemed as though most people eat their meals out instead of going home to cook. Who knows maybe one day we will end up here!
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