Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Hong Kong Highlights

Hi all,

This is starting to get a bit behind now (something which I'll be rectifying over the next few days) as we are currently sat at Hong Kong International Airport after 5 nights in Hong Kong about to fly to Vietnam.   We've had a great time here and I'll tell you about some of the highlights.....

First we took a bus drive of death from Yangshuo to Guilin where the bus driver spent about 50% of the journey on the wrong side of the road. Also, rather than avoiding the pot holes, he seemed to make it his mission to hit every single one resulting in me spending half the journey with my head out the window!! We took our last night train from Guilin through to Shenzhen (right next to the border between China and Hong Kong). The train journey was fairly uneventful apart from the family who got on the train with bags which I swear contained decomposing bodies thanks to smell that filled the carriage. With us all on the verge of vomiting, the only solution was this......

Upon arrival, the border crossing was surprisingly easy and it's definitely easier to leave China than get in. We took the MTR to our hotel on Kowloon (the mainland) which was lovely and had the best view from our 20th floor room....(shame about the weather)

After a refresh, we headed out for dinner and got to try some traditional Cantonese food which is the regional speciality. Cantonese food is what most Chinese food at home is based on so it was very familiar. We had sweet and sour chicken; fried rice; sticky beef stew; prawn dumplings; spring rolls and pulled pork dim sum (steamed buns). It was amazing. After the meal, we said our goodbyes to our tour guide Susu (although she did end up coming out afterwards) at which point she burst into tears. It was all a bit distressing.

After finishing our dinner, we headed to the harbour on Kowloon to see the Symphony of Lights which is a laser and light show that plays every night at 8pm. The buildings light up in sync to music. To be honest, it's a little bit lacklustre and feels outdated. Saying that though, the view of the skyline is fantastic even without the pyrotechnics.

After the Symphony of Lights a few people wanted to head to the observatory bar at a nearby skyscraper but at 100HK$ per drink, it seemed a bit steep. 20$ for two drinks from a 7/11 while looking over the harbour seemed much more reasonable! 

We all met back up in an Irish Bar further up Kowloon- possibly the best decision of the trip so far for rob for one reason. They sold English Cider at not extortionate prices which made him very happy! One mistake was buying one of these for Susu as about an hour later she was asleep in the corner and had to be escorted back to the hotel. Oh dear.

After a few more drinks we headed to LKF which is the main bar and club area of Hong Kong but as the drinks were extortionate (cheapest bottle of beer was over £6.00) we didn't stay long. 

The next morning, we woke to a very rainy Hong Kong. It was the last official day of the tour so we said our goodbyes to most of the group and headed over to our new hostel getting drenched on the way. Thankfully, we were upgraded from a dorm to a private room which was an extra bonus! Apart from the glass door and the exposed pipes on the ceiling making a racket, the hostel was ok and very centrally located in Causeway Bay. With the weather we didn't really do much apart from go to the best jacket potato place for lunch and do some washing.

That evening a few of the remaining people from the group and us headed to a Japanese restaurant specialising in Katsu curry (flashback to the first few weeks of our trip). Rob got into a bit of a flap with his order as apparently the Katsu sauce may have contained nuts but the rest of us thoroughly enjoyed it. After eating, we headed to Hong Kong pub crawl which is the number one attraction at night of Hong Kong according to Tripadvisor.

To say it wasn't great is an understatement. For starters, the start point was located at the top of a mall near a ferry port which was incredibly difficult to find. Taking our drinks to the rooftop (a selection of cider for Rob - happiest guy) we met the group doing the crawl and it seemed alright. As the night went on we soon found out that everyone bar us seemed to be total idiots (playing chicken with cars like 8-year-olds and singing loudly on residential streets). After about an hour it was not a tough decision to call it a night to enjoy a much more relaxing night having soft drinks in a nearby pub before we went to bed.

More of Hong Kong to come on the next entry where we became much more productive.....

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