Oh what a crazy city it is! We flew via here for a mini city break (one and a half days / two nights) as a stop over to Australia and managed to jam pack quite a bit in.
Included in the massive piece of writing below are Taxi prices, The Eaton Hotel, Temple Street Night Market, Lantau Island, Tain Tan Giant Buddha, The Lin Monestary, Ferries, Peak Tram, Elevated walkways, Metro and the Sky100 viewing tower.
Feb 7th Hong Kong DAY 1 – We arrived at Hong Kong airport late afternoon and after pushing through immigration and passport control we made it out to the taxi rank pleasantly surprised by the warmth of the air and the helpfulness of the airport staff.
We had many options on how to get from the airport to our hotel but with minimum time and a lot to do we opted for a taxi (bearing in mind there were 4 of us and 4 pieces of luggage). The taxis in Hong Kong are brilliant, the rest of the world should watch and take note. Everything is metered and they stick to certain zones so as not to overcharge. Our red taxi took us to our home away from home, the Eaton Hotel in Kowloon on the mainland. We crossed over first of all into Lantau island then across the worlds longest suspension bridge to the main land, the views were astonishing and as it had taken us a while to get out of the airport we saw this view at night with the crazy bright lights for all to see. Our ride cost us HK$255 which is about £27.. bargain if you ask me.
The Eaton Hotel (Nathan Street, Kowloon) is definitely the poshest hotel I’ve stayed in, with a rooftop gym and pool, a fancy cocktail bar and huge buffet breakfast hall. We stayed on the 15th floor in room 15/19. The best thing about this hotel is the views in the glass outside lift, you can see for miles. We also bagged free wifi which worked really well, no lost connection although sometimes a bit slow. This crazy hotel also trusts you enough to lend you a phone tablet with tourism information, maps, guides and restaurant advice and the best hotspot wifi to take around with you. This meant we had no issues with pre-arranging our trips and last minute deciding as we could all connect to the hotspot and use our internet without any qualms.. even on the subway.
First night – after showering and unpacking ever so slightly we grabbed our coats and wandered down to the night markets on Temple Street. Markets are the same everywhere, tacky and full of annoying people. Yeah it was interesting but to me it’s just a waste of time.
We then wondered around the streets searching for a place that would serve something western (don’t judge us we were hungry , tired and couldn’t deal with weird menus and our empty stomachs any longer t was 10.30pm and we had a full day ahead planned). We found a little restaurant called Seasons that served stone baked pizzas and kebabs and that was us sorted. The pizzas were quite expensive HK$112 for a margherita but the service was quick and the food was lovely 4/5 overall.
We then wandered back to our hotel, the streets lightened up with neon signs. Our hotel had a fabulous cocktail bar called T-bar and they served a wonderful array of cocktails. I opted for a Vodka And Everything – vodka, cranberry juice, pineapple juice and lavender syrup – oh it was better than it sounds so refreshing and light.
Then it was bed time and an alarm set for 7am.
Feb 8th Hong Kong DAY 2 – okay I was a little jet lagged and had been awake from 5.30am so after laying in bed for ages my sister and I made our way downstairs to the the buffet breakfast at 7am, I had my usual of 2 slices of white toast and a bowl of coco-pops. My sister on the other hand had a full on English breakfast and she gave it a 4/5.
We then wanted to sample our hotels rooftop pool, silly idea at 8 in the morning.. even though the pool was heated it can’t have been heated for long and after a quick dip we gave up and went back to the room for a quick shower and to get ready for the day ahead.
First stop Lantau Island to see the Tian Tan giant Buddha and Lin Monastery. Again we had a few options of getting there but opted for a taxi as this was quickest. Our red taxi from our hotel to Tung Chung cost us HK$250 then a quick change to our second taxi, this time a blue one to the Lin Monestary wish cost around HK$160. We did want to take the cable car from Tung Chung up to our destination, unfortunately this was closed for repairs at our time of travel so a taxi was our only option. We arrived right outside of the main entrance and made our way up to the giant Buddha. An amazing site, very peaceful but also quite overwhelming as this is a big religious gathering for many Chinese buddhists. Then we wandered over to the Lin Monastery to take a peak at the hall of ten thousand buddhas. I was hoping to capture some photos of this but as with most religious gathering places this was not allowed. Another thing we saw was a lot of incense burning, I’m assuming this is a tradition and the smell is very overwhelming ! I definitely recommend taking the trip out to Lantau Island to experience this place.
After hailing down a blue taxi back at the entrance, we travelled to Mui Wo HK$150 to jump on a fast ferry HK$30ish to Hong Kong island (otherwise known as Central ferry station). Travelling by ferry is a good way to see both sides of Hong Kong, the business central is an amazing, chaotic and pristine area. Next on our itinerary was the Peak tram, to get to this station we had to meander through the city district via elevated walkways high above the road.. why this isn’t a thing in every city astonishes me, saves you time trying to cross busy roads and also means that when it rains you can avoid the wetness. This central district is very wealthy, we saw a lot of western people in suits and ties and even had a quick trip into the gigantic HSBC bank to get some more cash out as literally no where takes card (bet you didn’t know that HSBC stands for The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation?).
We arrived at the tram entrance just after 2pm and the queue took less than 10 minutes. A return ticket was HK$42 and this tram ride is 100% worth it. You go up the steepest of hills past some crazy wealthy houses to a peak on a mountain that overlooks the whole of Hong Kong central district and on a good day the whole of the mainland. Unfortunately we had a very overcast day so our view was a bit of a drag but oh well ateast we can say we did it.
Next stop was back to our hotel and the cheapest /quickest option was via the metro subway. A one way ticket cost us HK$10.50 each and experiencing the Hong Kong underground is a must, even just before rush hour!! Super busy, but we had no trouble finding our way around everything was clearly marked and very simple.
After some food at our hotel, a quick nap and refresh we then made our way via red taxi to the Sky100 viewing tower HK$32 (this was recommended to us by our first taxi driver and after doing some research we decided this was a must. Tickets for the sky100 were HK$168 each. Unfortnately it was still quite foggy so our views weren’t the best, however we still thoroughly enjoyed the view, I’m glad we were able to see the city from above at night, it’s a completely different perspective. After an hour or so up the viewing tower we wandered through the shopping mall connected to the lower floors then jumped into a red taxi on the north side back to the hotel HK$28.
Hong Kong has pleasantly surprised me, it’s a mix of London and Greece.. some people are crazy busy rushing to and fro and the others are just crazy. I’ve learnt that taxis here are great, everything has an English translation (thank god) and as long as your not in a rush you can enjoy the overwhelmingness of this huge sky scraper filled city. I would like to visit again, maybe live and work in the central district for a few months to enhance the experience.
And after a long two days of city siteseeing we are re-packing our backpacks ready for Australian immigration tomorrow, keep an eye out for us on ‘Nothing to Declare’.