I have just been showing Kate and Lisa my photos of Hong Kong and remembered that I still haven’t put this post up. I wrote this ages ago, but then couldn’t get the photos done. Still haven’t done the photos but here is the post, better late than never!
Our Long weekend/girls trip to Hong Kong was a great success. We left Canberra on Thursday arvo, met Kate in Melbourne and flew overnight to Hong Kong arriving there about 6am. It was hot and muggy, but we were excited and enthusiastic about what adventures lay ahead.
We made our way to Kowloon and got to our hotel which was in the heart of Nathan Road, the main street, often called The Golden Mile, because it is a very long street with jewelery shops everywhere and all the neon signs that you associate with Hong Kong. We were lucky enough to get our room well before check in time so we could freshen up and have a quick nap (Lisa and I) before hitting the streets. We decided to do some tours, as I figure it is always better to get someone doing the driving and tell you the facts.
First up though we took a wander down Nathan Road. It was bumper with knock off shops, tailors, cheap eats and souvenirs. Loving it all. We got some brunch at a YumCha place where we were the only white people. We ordered a few dishes, with the best being a pork bun. Most divine thing I have ever eaten. We even ordered another lot of them before we left, but the girl misunderstood us and we ended up with some other thing. Our quest for more pork buns had begun! Back down the road further and bought some dresses for the girls and little kicknak things for them. After making our way back up to the hotel again we were ready to join our tour of Hong Kong Island. Hong Kong is actually made up of hundreds of little islands, the main one being HKIsland and right opposite it, Kowloon Peninsula which is attached to China mainland. So our bus tour took us under the harbour and over to HK Island. We then went up a mountain, Victoria Peak, grabbed an ice cream like all good Aussies on holiday do and got some photos of the view. Just amazing up there. Then we went along to a jewelry factory where we could see them making the rings and necklaces etc. We had a chance to buy some things, but it was expensive and a little tacky too! We had a stop at the harbour where we got onto a SAMPAN and went for a little sail. Many fisherman families live on the water in these rustic old boats. We passed the Floating restaurant which is owned by the richest man in HK. He has 4 wives who each live in their own mansion, and even though he is 88 he is looking for a 5th wife. Even though multiple wives is now illegal in HK, they turn a blind eye because money talks! From there we went to Stanley Street Markets which we all loved and could have spent many hours there. I bought some handbags for my girl peeps, and things for the kids. Then we were escorted back to our hotel where we freshened up then headed out for dinner. We were pretty exhausted after this very long day and the flight, so we ducked into a close noodle shop and ordered off pictures on the menu. Kate wanted a beer, so pointed to a pic on the wall of a $16 beer (about $A2.50). I got one too and we nearly fell over laughing when it arrived and was nearly a litre bottle. Good value for money! The dinner was the same. Huge meals for about $A5.
After a sensational nights sleep and long sleep in, we headed up Nathan Road to the Ladies Market. On the way we saw the Gold Fish market which was quite amazing. In HK everyone lives in high rise, low cost apartments and you need a permit to have dogs and cats. So everyone seems to have fish instead. These markets have all the fish in plastic bags on display so you grab the one you want and go. WE walked in and out of markets (electronic, sporting goods, vegetable and general cheap stuff, and then the ladies market. Handbags, shoes, sunglasses, clothes etc etc. I got 2 Jimmy Choo handbags for about $A30 each. Dior sunnies, shoes, nicknack’s and so much more. Trying to bargain with the shop-holders was daunting at first but then I became quite good at it and I think (!!) i got value for money. We continued our search for the best pork bun in HK by eating some more.
That evening we were picked up for another tour and taken to Temple Street Markets (loved that one – many bargains and great things) and then picked up again and taken to the Peninsula Hotel for dinner. The Peninsula is the oldest and grandest hotel in HK and dates back to when the British were in charge. Inside is so elegant and refined that I could quite imagine being there in the 20’s and 30’s. We took the express elevator up to the penthouse floor where there is a world famous restaurant called Felix (check it our here) We had a window seat overlooking the city and we settled back to enjoy an evening of fine dining. Food was delicious and we really enjoyed our moment of elegance. After dinner we took a walk along the harbour foreshore where there is a ‘walk of fame’, no unlike the Hollywood Walk with all the famous stars on the pavement. Names like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan etc were there. Back up Nathan Road, which was bumper to bumper with shoppers at 10pm, not to mention stinking hot, and into bed. Great day.
Up Early Day 3 to get to our tour of Macau. We had to catch a ferry over which took over an hour and then get through immigration (another stamp on the passport). Macau is part of China, but a small island about 30sq Km, with 32 Casinos. First up we headed out to the ruins of an old Catholic Portuguese church. Macau was inhabited by the Portuguese for 400 years and even though there are not many of them left, the culture is still very strong. I was starving so tried some hot roasted pork belly. OMG totally delicious. I chased that up with Portuguese tarts. James made these for us once when he was here visiting and Mum now fancies herself quite good at it. These ones were sensational ( I have to say better than Mums and James’!). Also at this stop we saw the ruins of an old fortress. Up the top was a great view of the island and into China, as well as our first glimpse of the casino’s. Far Out!! Check out this one – opulence or what.
We had lunch at a buffet restaurant before being let loose in the city square for shopping and bug-eyeing. We walked up to Victoria Square which looks like an old European village – reminiscent of the old Portuguese days. We then hit the golden Casino. We each put $10HK in the pokies, but lost (surprise, surprise). We wandered around looking at the other casinos, before having a cuppa at a fancy hotel and meeting the tour to get back home. Kate found some bargain perfumes at the duty free in Macau and we all had a little sleep on the boat ride home. Once back at Nathan Hotel, we freshened up then went back to the Temple Street Market for another look. Bought some more things (!) and then went home for a big sleep.
Monday morning we went to the Jade Market – lots of Jade which is a symbol of good luck. Got some things for the girls and then headed back to the hotel to pack up and check out. We said our goodbyes to got and muggy Nathan Road, caught the airport shuttle to Kowloon and checked our bags in there. Then we got the fast train to the airport where we then got a taxi to Lantau Mountain to see the Giant Buddha. To get up to the Buddha we had to catch a Gondola up a very steep incline and over great expanses of water. It was thrilling – the weather was against us, starting to rain a little, getting windy and the gondola shaking. Made it to the top and the fog was rolling in. We couldn’t really see more than a few meters ahead of us. We pushed on to see the Buddha anyway. Up a very steep set of stairs (thanks boot camp for getting me into some sort of shape!) but it was so foggy that we couldn’t see the big Buddha at all. It was only just in front of us, a meter of so but.. nothing!
We had some lunch up there, then made our way back down on the gondola and back to the airport where we spent the rest of our Hong Kong dollars on chocolate and wine before boarding our Qantas flight and heading home.
It was so nice to be home. Cold, but nice. I had the next few days off work, so it was good to settle back in, catch up with everyone and do the washing!. Girls loved their pressies.