Hey what’s up? Or 你怎么样 like they say over here ! Ready to discover Hong Kong ? This restless city, where you can either be a swiss banker hanging out at the Ritz-Carlton, 465m above the sea, or a fisherman enjoying some fried squids on Lantau island, enjoying the shadow casted by the Big Buddha! Let me be your guide on a journey in the jewel of the Pearl River!
Where to Stay?
Ain’t you tired of asking? Of course, I’m staying at the Ritz… Ok I’m not, but you’ll find everything you need at the Yesinn – Causeway Bay hostel! If you’re going in Hong Kong on a special event time, like the Chinese new year, you’d better book very soon, as the prices fly pretty high and every good accommodations tend to be taken several month before. Well if a closet is fine for you, you might still fine something in your budget 1 day ahead ^^ 5 days meant 100e for me, which was already high enough!
My top 5:
Lantau: Fishermen village and Big Buddha:
You make a guide about Hong Kong but the first place you mention is another Island ?.. Yeah, I know, but I really loved this place! On a regular week, it costs around 25HK$ to get there in 30min by boat, Starting from the Deck n°6 of Central Pier. You can also choose the cable car Ngong Ping, where you’ll get a 360° view over the bay, and even a glass floor if you pay for it… starting price is 200HK$ 😉
Once you hit the land, take bus n°2 (10HK$, departure every 30 min) to the first stop of your trip: Big Buddha and the Po Lin monastery. Aside from the surrealistic sculpture standing on top of a hill, the temple is worth seeing, with its 10000 buddhas hall and mountains of flower offerings.
After the stairs of the Big Buddha, gotta dig deep and take the bus again to Tai’O, a fisherman’s village a few clicks away from there. I can’t say it was very active when I went, but I can understand why locals like this place: Fried fish and other seafood hanging everywhere, old fisherman playing in front of near-crumbling houses, old sampans slowly making their way to the sea.. Quite a contrast with the gigantic industrial port of Hong Kong.
Victoria Peak: Hike and enjoy the taxi back
There’s no shortcut to success, you’ve got to take the stairs! Well there are no stairs here, only a steep slope that will burn your legs on your 1h walk to the top (the sightseeing one). Be sure to check the weather before going or you’ll end up being caught in the fog, I had to climb two times… Nice place to wander starting from sunset, you’ll be able to get away from the crowds and the buildings to admire both from this iconic place. Take the 50 min round walk around the peak to enjoy the view over buildings coming out from mountains to dive into the sea, lightened up by ships coming from the other side of the world.
If you’re too lazy or in a Hurry, you can still take the funicular, 50HK$ in and out with one every 15min.
On your way back, why not take a taxi and take the road snaking through the hills overlooking Hong Kong. The view is breath taking !
Enjoy a Horse Race in Happy valley or Sha Tai
You might’ve heard of the neighbouring country of Hong Kong, you know, the middle kingdom? Chinese like to gamble, but the thing is it’s illegal in their country, which is why they unleash their gambling fever in both Macau and Hong Kong, alongside with the rest of Asia, also found of gambling. Though, in Hong Kong, casinos are forbidden as well, which is why lottery and horse races prevail.
The betting offices are everywhere and the weekly horse race at Happy Valley attracts thousands of locals and tourists, 40000 viewers for every race as they say.
Races are usually on Wednesday. Being there during Chinese New Year, I had the opportunity to attend the special race hosted at this occasion in Sha Tai. Being surrounded by locals possessed by the game fever is quite a feeling 😉 but understanding how to bet is difficult if you’re a beginner like me!
Stare at the city by night from the Ritz Carlton hotel sky bar: Ozone
When you arrive in a capital, look for the tallest building. It’s either a television tower or a hotel with a skybar on top. In Hong Kong, lucky pick, it’s the Ritz Carlton Hotel, with its sky bar closing on to 465m height. Take the elevator to the lobby on the 103rd floor of the international commerce centre to get to the lobby. You’ll the get to access Ozone and its outside terrace, with a mere glass screen between you and the outstanding view over the city. Unfortunately, it was cloudy when I went, but I couldn’t take my eyes from the scenery. The feeling of being this high and this close to the edge is exiting.
Take a dinner at Yau Ma Tei district in one of the local food courts under the glaze of shop’s lights.
If I had to describe hong kong to someone, I’d definitely speak about the lights you can find in every street, in front of every shops, giving this oppressive but yet lovely feeling of being in a sleepless city, dazzling with activity. In Yau Ma Tei district, those are legion. Even the colours match the mood of the city, and you’ll find yourself in a night market or a food street filled with fluo scribing providing their fading light while you enjoy one of the local snacks, for instance pork intestine, yummy! 😉
Ok, Ok, 5 wasn’t enough, let’s see a bit more of the city 😉
Enjoy the street art in Sheung Wang and finish the night in Lan Kwai Fong with the local youth:
If you’ve ever been to Paris, you must know Montmartre, famous for this beautiful white church on top of the Hill, but also for the stairs climbing up to it, a magical place by night, especially for lover 😉 The Sheung wang area made me feel of this place, as it has stairs of the same kind, gifted on the sides with colourful street art.
From this point, you can either go to Victoria peak, or pursue the walk until you reach Lan Kwai Fong, where coffees and restaurants welcome the crowds every nights. One of the most famous is the Hard Rock coffee, always a nice place to stop and enjoy some concerts 😉 You’ll find here all the bars and nightclubs you need, but be careful, some of there are very selective!
Celebrate the chinese new year and enjoy the parade in Kowloon!
What would be New year without celebration? If you get to Hong Kong in mid February, check the schedule of the spring festival celebrations: you wouldn’t want to miss the artists coming from all over the world to display their art on this special occasion. Even though it’s early, messy and lacks of rhythm, it remains a great thing to see 😊
Get lost inside the narrow streets and admire the skyline .
A very famous picture of hong kong is this view of the sky, surrounded by buildings. I managed to find the spot where it was taken and play around a bit! Though wherever you go in Hong Kong, you’ll find yourself some beautifull buildings to try out your photographers skills. Take the walk on the shores of Kowloon Island to enjoy the skyline of the city and the light show!