Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Hong Kong Highlights Part 2

After the failure that was the pub crawl, we rose bright and early the next morning. The weather and the moving hostels had meant that prior to this we hadn't gotten a huge amount done so far, but the sun finally came out and we hit the streets to see the sights of Hong Kong. 

First stop was Times Square which was right round the corner from us at Causeway Bay. Located on a cross section of busy shops (both local and international brands) there is a huge plaza and a large mall located here.

After a mooch around the area, we headed to Central which is (as the name suggests) in the centre of the Hong Kong harbour. We walked to the Star Ferry port and crossed the bay across to Kowloon (the metro would have been quicker but we both wanted to ride the iconic star ferry and it's half the price at about 20p). We took some photos of the skyline in daylight from Kowloon and it was just as impressive as at nighttime.

While walking up the main shopping street, Nathan Road, we stumbled across some British stores, most notably Robs favourite place HMV and Marks and Spencer's (complete with food-court selling flapjacks for £5.50). It's obvious that Hong Kong was a British colony until relatively recently.

We couldn't afford much at the branded stores so we headed to the various cheaper markets that Hong Kong has to offer....

1) Ladies Market

This sells various tat including fake bags, purses, headphones, electronics and souvenirs. Good for a wander and we both got a few bits and bobs.

2) Goldfish Market

Does what it says on the tin...pretty much a street filled with goldfish. Something of a surreal experience

3) The Bird Market

Another self-explanatory title. A wacky street filled with all types of birds (some in cages and some free) including this parrot which told on us to its owner when we took this sneaky photo- 'argh camera.'

After the long metro ride back from Mongkok (where the bird market is) we went out for dinner again to a Michelin star restaurant which we stumbled across which was delicious!!! We shared pork buns, stir fried Sichuan pork and noodles, sweet and sour jumbo prawns and prawn dumplings. 

After a few casual drinks on our rooftop at the hostel, we called it a night while the others went on another bar crawl. They definitely should have followed our example though as one ended up in hospital and the other ended up in a police station accused of stealing a wheelchair. Good work guys.

The next day we made our way across to Lantau Island which is south of Hong Kong. We were planning on taking the cable car to a small village called Ngong Ping but unfortunately it was closed for maintenance. Instead we took a bus up the treacherous hill (views were worth it) to reach the village. In Ngong Ping there is Asia's largest bronze Buddha and Po Lin Monastery. 

There were also some more spectacular views.....

We walked along the Path of Wisdom and up the 200 stairs to reach the Buddha taking in the vistas. When at the top we asked someone to take a photo of us in front of the Buddha but unfortunately ended up with a photo of us in front of railings. Not even worth uploading.

The monastery was unfortunately under construction (not our day overall) so after sadly skipping this, we went down the village rough the main shopping street, bought some more souvenirs and made our way back to the bus.

It was Chris' (one of our travel companions) last night, so after going out for another good meal we enjoyed a few more beverages and another early night!

The next day, we took the MTR to Central and were planning on getting the Peak Tram to the top of The Peak which is the highest point in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, with it being a Sunday, the queues stretched for miles and it was a 90 minute wait. Rather than waste time, we jumped into a cab (which was super cheap anyway) and reached the top in less than 10 minutes. 

After a quick bite to eat, with a great view over the harbour, we went to the observation deck to see the full 360 degree view...

We went to the mall at the Peak for a look around the shops and then cabbed it back down. It was the last night for Casey, Sam and Ollie who we travelled China with, so we all decided to go for a nice meal to say goodbye. We headed back up to the Peak (queue for the tram was still ridiculous so another taxi) and went to Bubba Gumps which is a restaurant based on the film Forrest Gump therefore selling lots of shrimp. Me and Rob went for a boatload of shrimp and it was scrummy. It was more expensive than any meal we'd been for so far but the food was definitely worth it!!

During dinner Rob got propositioned by the Chinese waitress with an offer of 50% off his meal if he came back with her (thankfully he politely declined). After this, we left to go back to the observation deck to see the views at night which were equally as impressive....

After some emotional goodbyes (Casey) we all went our separate ways for a rather depressing early night. To cheer ourselves up, Rob and I, along with the other remaining person off the China Tour, Emily, went to Ocean Park which is a huge theme park.

We managed to have the best day heading there on the bus early in the morning and staying until gone 6pm. There was a great selection of rides, shows, animals and other attractions and here are some of the highlights...

1) Seeing the penguins and seals in the North and South Pole (and avoiding the sun in the freezing cold exhibits where the park attendants were bundled up)

2) Riding the Abyss (well I did but Rob was a chicken)

3) Riding down two rapids

4) Seeing the dolphin and sea lion show

5) Getting to see Giant Pandas again

And loads more. All round a great way to spend our last day in Hong Kong.

That's pretty much everything in Hong Kong apart from one last stop in the Michelin starred restaurant. We have now reached Vietnam so expect another update soon!

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