Since Hong Kong and Macau are both part of China, yet separate in many ways, and I spent 4 nights between the two, I wanted to group them together. It was interesting as I needed my passport to travel between the two, yet no visa was required like mainland China.
Hong Kong was intended as a brief stop over before I headed to Beijing and I really had no expectations or plans – which was kinda nice.
I started off my first day in Hong by getting a birds eye`s view of the city. I wandered along the harbor on my way to get the Star Ferry. Many friends told me I had to take the Star Ferry across the harbor as many times as possible as it was the best way to see it all, and all these friends were right. It was a quick 10 minute ferry ride from Kowloon (where I was staying) to Hong Kong island. From there I took a red double decker bus across town, and was amazed at some of the crazy architecture. I had to take a photo of one building as it was so geometrically different.
I rode the historical Peak Tram (another funicular) to the top of Victoria Peak and was rewarded on a sunny day with a beautiful view of all of Hong Kong. I couldn`t have asked for a better day as it so was clear I could see it all. I didn`t realize how many tall buildings were in Hong Kong, but I saw them all from this viewpoint.
I decided to wander back down to the ferry and see where I turned up. Ends up this part of town isn`t really walking friendly unless you know where you are going. Many walkways just ended in a busy street. So I was forced to walk carefully around, avoid getting hit by buses and cars and find my way to some sidewalk here or there. It was a fun game of frogger as I crossed the streets.
Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade:
I decided to wander down to the promenade to see the Avenue of the Stars. This was supposed to be where they pay homage to the Hong Kong film industry (like in Hollywood), but I didn`t think it was the same.
The main reason I went was to see the light show at 8pm. Across the harbor, all the office buildings are lit up in colorful lights and the lights are changing to the music that is pumped in to all the watchers on the promenade. It was a fun and entertaining 15 minute show. I arrived there early to grab a seat, and it was a very cold hour in outside as the temperature dropped quickly.
While I was watching, I started to talk to two women next to me, Grace and Chris. They were college best friends 49 & 53 and take a trip every year without kids or husbands and this was their last night of a 3 week trip. So after talking in the cold with them and walking back to the area we were all staying in, we decided to stop for “one” beer. Well 5 hours later and maybe 8-9 pints of Kilkenny (love that beer!), we were having a great old time, but I had to go as I needed to make a phone call and the Internet place closed at 2am. Now was that such a great idea? Drink a ton of beer (without dinner) and then try to make a phone call (about rolling my 401k to my IRA?). Good thing the people I called about my 401k were idiots and really couldn`t help me besides mailing out a new pin code to my address of record, so all in all – it was a success. On top of that Chris and Grace wouldn`t let me pay for any of the drinks so that was a great bonus (thank you again!).
Next day I just wanted to take it easy and find great Dim Sum. Mission accomplished as I found a great local place where I was the only non local there. I had some of the greatest Dim Sum and the waiter allowed me to order half orders of a few dishes so I could try more. There were also these great goldfish right next to me, so I was entertained watching the fishes swim as I ate.
I decided to go check out the large outdoor markets where there was everything from clothing, to shoes, to electronics to goldfish. It was three long streets worth of stores and within the each street, it was dedicated to one theme of items for sale. Who knew goldfish needed their own market (or half a street).
All in all, it was a lot of crap, but fun to see. It was more fun when the lights came on and there was tons of neon lighting the streets. There was also a night market on Temple Street that I was told I had to go see. Again…same old crap, just different street. I did manage to buy a few DVD`s and there were brand new releases so that was fun.
Funny Signs I read in Hong Kong:
1. Outside of a restaurant: “Illegal drugs and nuclear weapons are not allowed in”
2. Down in metro: “Spitting is not allowed – stop the transfer of germs” – but no one followed this one
3. At immigration for ferry from Macau: “Line up here and wait. Do not push others”
Guesthouse: Super 7 Hostel (also known as Guangdong Guest House). Super 7 is the newer one both owned by same person. Email Simon at: firstname.lastname@example.org (63060782)
Amazing Dim Sum in Kowloon area: Szechuan Restaurant
3/F, Mass Resources Development Building, 12-16 Humphreys Ave, T.S.T, Kln. (27309131)