Josh Aggars of flip flops city shares his experience and photos trying to navigate his way around the wonders of Hong Kong.
Full of street food restaurants and market stalls. I arrived to Hong Kong, China groggy and tired after a 13 hour flight and had a wander around. The area was packed full of natives and backpackers all eating and drinking. It was your typical bustling market atmosphere with Chinese and western music pumping out in equal measure. I wanted to stay but my bed was calling, any bed in fact, even a curb stone would do.
I bought an Octopus Card for 5 day travel around the city – Metro, buses, ferries and trams – and retired to bed exhausted but full of anticipation at the road ahead.
Hong Kong Island & Kowloon
Day 1: On my first morning I set off for the Peak Tower at Victoria Peak and caught the Peak Tram up to the top (notice an imaginative naming theme anywhere?). From here I was able to see a full panorama of Hong Kong Island looking across to Kowloon through the haze.
In the foreground are the Hong Kong Island skyscrapers. Across the bay is Kowloon / Mainland China.
I came down from the peak by bus and captured these images of residential towers. As a fellow traveller remarked, “You don’t see a house anywhere.”
Hong Kong Tramways
When we got to the bottom I caught one of the original old local trams to the Star Ferry Terminal.
Star Ferry Hong Kong
While looking back to Hong Kong Island from the Star Ferry Terminal, the nice haze/pollution is clearly visible.
Hong Kong Cultural Centre
The skate-rampesque Hong Kong Cultural Centre is home to some of the best views of Hong Kong from the elevated promenade and observation gallery and stands on reclaimed land.
The floats from the Chinese new year celebrations which had just taken place.
The Old Hullett House bar, part of old colonial Hong Kong, is the former Marine Police HQ and one of the four oldest surviving government buildings. Clearly some things never go out of fashion as they still make a superb gin and tonic.
Happy Valley Hong Kong
Day 2: The next day I took a tram to Happy Valley which is a lush park area with bowls, football, cricket and rugby all being played with the Hong Kong horse racing course around the perimeter. A green oasis in a concrete jungle.
Man Mo Temple
After exploring Cat Street Flea Market, I went onto a Buddhist temple “Man Mo” dedicated to the Gods of Literature and War and lit candles and joss-sticks.
A heady smell of incense wafts round from the giant spiraling coils of incense hanging from the ceiling that are constantly burning.
Sunday Stroll Through Hong Kong
Day 3: I was advised to check out the celebrations on the Sunday where all the migrant Philappino workers get together to picnic and hang out on their only day off. It looked like quite a social club.
The raised walkways are the best way to get around the city on foot.
St. Johns Cathedral’s European architecture stands out against the high rise backdrop.
Hong Kong Park
The Bali Mynah bird, a native of Indonesia now housed at the Hong Kong Park aviary where Bird flu warnings continue to abound. “Don’t touch the droppings,” was my favourite.
Turtles sunbathing in Hong Kong Park. Looked like they were having a nice restful Sunday.
Across the road from the park I happened upon a ritual dance.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel had quite the chocolate buffet. Low on funds I had to resist the temptation to indulge my choco habit so instead took some photos.
A Symphony of Lights
The Symphony of lights show every night at 8pm is set to music and illuminates the harbour beautifully. Whether my good epileptic friend Jon would agree or not is a moot point. Well worth watching once whilst you’re there.
Lantau Island Hong Kong China
Day 4: I caught the ferry out to Lantau Island, connected with a bus at the other end and enjoyed a nice drive along the coast for 45 minutes to the Po Lin Monastery.
Po Lin Monastery
Twelve Divine Generals
Tian Tan Buddha (Big Buddha)
The long steep staircase up to the Big Buddha which, at 24m tall, is the World’s largest outdoor bronze Buddha (one for my Dad).
Ngong Ping 360
I then caught a cable car which takes you from the Monastery right the way past the new airport, or Chek Lap Kok if you prefer, until the Tung Chung underground terminus which links you back onto the Metro to the city.
Port of Hong Kong
The Hong Kong container port. Looks like the start of “Saving Private Ryan” to me (well the bit after Tom Hanks and Co. have cleared the beach head).
Goodbye Hong Kong
My last night in Hong Kong so I returned to Hullett House for one more gin and tonic and a cheers to the harbour.