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Published: January 5th 2018
So, by popular demand, I’m back on the blog, retelling some of our adventures. This trip is about returns, giving ourselves time to do things we haven’t done yet and reacquainting ourselves with some of our favourite things...Including champagne to celebrate the delay of our flight due to grim weather at Gatwick.
We last visited Hong Kong 12 years ago, exhausted and hungry from travelling round China the only thought then was eating; whether that was Macky D’s or tea at the Peninsula. We wanted more time to experience and ‘do’ HK.
I suppose the soundtrack to this part of our trip has to be Christmas music, which is played on the MTR (tube), shops, hotels, boats and oddly even in the cable car to the Buddhist monastery. The Xmas lights and decorations are everywhere and done in a big HK kind of way but seem incongruous in the sun and heat.
An obvious winner from the very start was our hotel, our lounge on the 36th floor looked out towards the harbour and we made ample use of the (free) free flowing food and drink. The rooftop pool and gym was
a definite draw. It was a welcome place to return to after busy days mooching around the city...to be honest, some days it was hard to tear ourselves away!
We spent time orientating ourselves by going round the city checking out Christmas lights and the obligatory sales before embarking on the ‘to do’ list. We had 3 essentials: Big Buddha, Victoria Peak and Disney, anything else was a bonus.
The Tian Tan Buddha is 34 metres high and sits on a 26 metre lotus throne that is on top of one the highest hills in Hong Kong, hence why he is known as the Big Buddha. After a 25 minute cable car ride over to Lantau (yep, with piped Xmas music) and a walk through the Ngong Ping village we reached the base of the 268 steps to Buddha. It was worth the climb to see him closer up and for the amazing views. Buddha shares the site with the Po Lin monastery, the colours inside and out of the monastery were so vibrant and simply breath taking.
Last time we came to HK, going up the Peak had all seemed
a bit of a rush. Situated in the western side of HK island, you get great views of Victoria Harbour, Lamma Island and central Kowloon. This time, it certainly wasn’t rushed, going to the Peak during peak season at peak times meant a 2.5 hour wait in the queue to get on the funicular to get to the top of The peak. Once up there, we then went up to the viewing platform on the 8th floor for some pictures. Neither of us had bargained for such a marked difference in temperature or strong winds. This trip has certainly challenged Moira’s fear of heights!
Anyone who knows me, will not be surprised that we had to visit Disneyland while we are in HK. It’s a great little park, which can easily be done in the day and we had a great time watching all the Xmas parades and shows and Moira got to go on her now almost compulsory trip round ‘it’s a small world. A major plus for me is that I could see most of the parades and nearly everyone is shorter than me here.
We also took time to visit a
number of the street markets, some focussed on the tourists (Ladies and Temple Street) and others for the locals (bird, flower, jade and goldfish). Behind a moon gate near our hotel was the bird market. Everyday men bring their caged birds to this area hang them on trees and sit chatting or playing games with their mates (the men not the birds!). Next to them is a set of stalls selling a wide variety of birds and some pretty elaborate cages. Both the flower and goldfish markets were busy and a sight to behold for tourists. I loved Temple Street market which is a night market and picked up a few bargains there.
As well as going to Victoria Harbour for the NYE celebrations (a story which needs a glass or 2 of wine to be told) we also took the Star ferry around Victoria harbour, shopped till we dropped and attended a Tai Chi lesson to name but a few...Well, my Fitbit (and feet) have told me we have really DONE HK now.
Getting on the plane to Auckland feels like a welcome opportunity to kick back, relax and get ready for the
next part of our adventure.
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