HONG KONG: Oct. 12- Oct.15, 2014
I saw Hong Kong (HKG) featured on Food TV show as a haven for foodie lovers, and it became the driving force to move up HKG on my bucket list. I love to eat, has an adventurous palate wanting to try out everything gourmet, different, and exotic. A stop to this city was then included during our 3-week Tour of Asia in Oct.2014, and 2nd destination after spending one week in Japan.
Excited, at the same time apprehensive of our 1st time visit to Hong Kong.
Weeks before our scheduled visit, I watched daily on TV coverage of ongoing rallies in the city and hoped they would be over by the time we get there. On the contrary, the situation escalated as gov’t. officials refused to meet & talk with protestors, and resulted in spread of more rallies. Outbreaks of violence erupted in some areas. A number of streets closed for safety reasons, The situation definitely affected tourists as there were fewer public transportation in operation and were re-routed, causing confusion and difficulties to get to popular tourists spots.
Mongkok market in Kowloon was our foodie destination on this trip. Its street foods and bargain shopping attracts many visitors and locals alike. It has the largest and busiest markets and a good intro to HKG’s way of life. For safety reasons,tourists were advised to avoid this market due to ongoing rallies resulting in closure of streets to get here. What a great disappointment, but better safe than sorry.
Airport to hotel
We left Osaka Int’l airport at 10:00am and landed at HKIA at 2:30pm. The Airport Express is a fast, convenient and inexpensive transport option to get from the airport to your hotel in Kowloon or HKG Island. Our hotel, Hyatt Regency, is in Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon. The Airport Express to Kowloon station (HK$90,) takes about 25 min, runs every 10 min. From Kowloon station we took a complimentary shuttle bus (K3) which runs every 10-12 min, and dropped us off directly to our hotel.
Hyatt Regency in Tsim Sha Tsui
Love the location of our hotel; restaurants, shops, attractions and metro stations are all within 5 -15 minute walk. Our room on high floor has a full view of the harbor, and pretty spectacular esp. at night and during the Symphony of Lights show.
My Hyatt diamond status gave us free daily access to the Club Lounge which serves plenty of good food for breakfast, and during nightly cocktail & appetizers enough for dinner. This resulted in real savings to our budget for meal cost.
Oh by the way, their deserts are to die for! Gourmet, decadent and “no calories”. Yeah, I wished.
Highlights of our trip
The Star Ferry has carried passengers across the harbor between Kowloon to HKG Island since 1898. It’s a popular tourist attraction affording visitors a fantastic view of the city skyline for only HK$2.20.
Wasting no time, soon after we checked into our room we ventured out to the Star Ferry terminal (10-15 min walk) from the hotel.
Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront (Kowloon)
Locals and tourist flock here to stroll and watch the spectacular sunset on the harbor with the skyline of HKG island as the backdrop, amazing view!
Watch fascinating junk boats cruising the harbor.
It’s a great place to meet up with friends, rest your weary feet and people-watched.
Newly weds come here for photos, as well as models. It is truly a fun, exciting place to hang out.
This is a good spot to watch a light show every night at 8pm, called the “Symphony of Light”. But watched it in comforts from our hotel room.
We continued walking and reached the “Avenue of Stars“, Hong Kong’s answer to the Hollywood “Walk of Fame” where you can see the stars of Chinese and Western actors alike.
The Best Peking Duck
Reviews on TripAdvisor claim China restaurant serves one of the best, if not the best Peking duck in Hong Kong. Its located near the ferry terminal, and planned to come back for dinner the next day. They don’t allow half-order of the duck so we ended up ordering a whole duck, which was huge. Our verdict, it was just OK. Perhaps what contributed to our disappointment was we only had one entrée, and got overwhelmed by it.
Ride 360 Ngong Ping Cable
This cable car runs a little over 3.5 miles, spanning from Tung Chung across the bay towards the airport and then on to Lantau Island. The cable car gives a panoramic view of the airport, harbor, and city before it travels through the surrounding mountains. The ride lasts about 25 minutes and takes you to Lantau Island,
The cable car ride over waters and surrounding hills initially made me nervous and scared, but once I got used to the height I started enjoying the amazing views that surround us.
Lantau Island: is the largest of Hong Kong’s islands dominated by dramatic hills and peaks and spectacular scenery, picturesque coastline with some excellent beaches, temples, monasteries, traditional fishing villages and wonderful hiking trails. It features the Po Lin Monastery and its vegetarian restaurant, as well as the 85-foot (26 m)high bronze Tian Tan Buddha statue, also known as “Giant Buddha”. The Giant Buddha is visible at a far distance as we approached the island.
Ngong Ping Village
Is set on Lantau Island, next to Ngong Ping Cable Car Terminal and the Tian Tan Buddha Statue. It’s a culturally themed village designed and landscaped to show the cultural and spiritual integrity of the Ngong Ping area. It’s rather touristy with an array of retail, dining and entertainment.
My husband underwent total replacement surgeries on his left hip (Apr. 2013) and right knee (Mar 2014). Amazingly, he endured long day walks and even managed to climb more than 200 steps to the top of the Giant Buddha without problems.
Tai O Fishing Village:
The Tai O Fishing Village in the Western coast of Lantau Island is a quaint and picturesque village, with the traditional stilt houses typical of the old Southern Chinese fishing villages. This is one of the few remaining places where you can still see them in Hong Kong. With its pretty setting on the coast framed by the mountains, and all the activity surrounding the harbor, traditional seafood market, and daily life in the stilt houses, it is a photographers dream and definitely worth the trip from Hong Kong.
During a 20-min boat ,we saw interesting stilt houses. Some are dilapidated, some nice-looking ones, and some well maintained with small garden on their front.
After the boat ride we went to the market dominated by stalls selling all kinds of dried fish, including a stingray. Meandering through the narrow alleys, we saw other food items, fruits & vegetables, and souvenirs being sold.
What caught our eyes, and got us excited was the smell of gigantic shrimps being grilled. This we got to try! Which ones to order? Definitely, the giant grilled prawns, scallops baked in garlic , stuffed oysters & some type of clams, I could not remember the name. Delish and the best seafood we’ve eaten during our trip in Hong Kong. Fresh, moist, sweet & tasty.
The Peak Tram
The tram takes you to the top of the Peak, Hong Kong Island’s largest mountain, at 1700 feet. You ride a funicular to the top where you enjoy spectacular 180 degree views of the skyscrapers of Victoria Harbor, Kowloon, and the surrounding hills. It’s the best view of the city.
The Peak (Victoria Peak)
The highest point and one of the most popular attractions in Hong Kong. Its cityscape is the best in the world. At day time, you see the most impressive skyscrapers and Victoria Harbour all the way to the green hills of the New Territories. Imagine watching sunset from up here, when cloud turns into hues of pink and orange; and galaxy of lights illuminate the buildings at nighttime….must be spectacular and breathtaking!. If you only have time to see one attraction, this is it!
Less than an hour bus ride from Central in HKG island, it’s a popular day out to escape the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong proper. The market is in the quaint village of Stanley on HKG Island’s south coast and popular for good food and shopping. You’ll find reasonable prices here for clothing, accessories, souvenirs, etc. You will be expected to bargain here, so honed in your bargaining skills.
We boarded a double-decker bus, sat on top for better viewing as we went thru winding roads. It was a scenic ride and had great views of the Repulse Bay, where the Stanley Cup is held.
We came here just to visit, NOT to shop as we were intent on having only carry on luggage for the rest of our tour of Asia.
We then walked through the promenade, but the scorching heat was becoming unbearable.
Found relief by having lunch at this restaurant with cooling fan. Lunch was actually very good, and glad it accepted credit card for we were running low on HKG dollars.
The blowing fan from the restaurant provided a much-needed relief from scorching heat. Hubby ordered steak and I ordered an Indonesian dish, and enjoyed our lunch.
Before we knew it our stay in Hong Kong was over. We had a great time, and look forward to our next destination, Bali, Indonesia.
UDPDATE: My husband and I will have an opportunity to visit Hong Kong again in October of 2015, and hopefully this time will get the chance to satisfy the foodie in us.