Hong Kong | Top 3 Experiences
Thinking back, Hong Kong was a whirlwind, well not literally – it was so humid it made Durban look like a Autumn destination – but it went by quickly. We spent seven short days there and walked so much, I walked my brand new shoes down to thin soles. The city is extremely safe – there is no threat to walking with your phone in hand or exploring late at night. My first piece of advice would be to not go there in Summer; we often found ourselves walking into shopping centrums just to numb ourselves by the aircon and spent most of the daylight indoors and explored the street markets by neon light. My second piece of advice is to try and speak to as many people who have been there, as possible. Get food recommendations, transport advice and must see places, according to them. Researching the location or places to go will serve you with tourist destinations that are overpriced, or a site that is not available in English and there is just something more credible in word-of-mouth. We spoke to family friends and friends of friends, etc. It will pay off in the long run. Without further ado, here is my Top 3 of Hong Kong.
Every single thing about this market is what you avoid on home ground: obvious fakes, a few less obvious fakes and the fakes you could probably sell as an original and no one would be wiser. The market in it’s entire four blocks, is lined with stalls two metres high, occupied by hagglers that hold no prisoners. It is a must to experience, and makes great hunting grounds for trinkets to take home!
The Peak Galleria:
The entrance fee to take the tram up was pretty steep (pun intended), and at one point we were hanging on to a vertically climbing tram, but the experience was well worth the ridiculously long line we had to wait in (watch out for those line cutters, some people have no shame) and the seven flights of escalators that we had to take to get to the crowded rooftop. Here we quickly realised that being polite and waiting your turn is not the way to go, you have to take any gap at the railing that becomes available. We spent a good hour moving from spot to spot, and found a quieter section to the left of the entrance where we put the camera on timer and ended up holding up traffic to get our shot together! If you manage to get there just before sunset, you will be rewarded with purples and pinks on the horizon, and of course the evening lights are just as amazing. You will probably catch the harbour light show from here too.
During our stay, we moved three times to different parts of the city and looking back, this gave us such an insight to the different sides that aren’t often in the spotlight when searching for photo’s of Hong Kong. Here we stayed in The Butterfly Hotel, a small Hollywood themed hotel that pinned these velvet butterflies to our pillows! They provided us with a cellphone, to use at our own risk, that had data, a tourist attractions app and more importantly – provided a map. We learnt that Google Maps does not work that well in China at all, in fact, we followed the direction the arrow pointed and hoped for the best. We decided to walk up Hollywood Boulevard and found, much to our delight, an array of Antique stores and street art, as well as many Western food joints. We loved the lively atmosphere (while suffering in the extreme heat that we weren’t used to at this point) and found ourselves walking up some steep hills. Man Mo temple can also be found at on this winding road; one of the few temples where they allow you to take photographs and hand out incense.