6.26.2010 – 6.29.2010 || Hong Kong
After four nights in Bangkok we headed to Hong Kong. We continued flying Cathay Pacific Airways and had a direct flight to Hong Kong that was ~3 hours. After clearing customs we met our guide for this portion of the trip and headed into the city. It wasn’t exactly a sunshine and blue sky kind of day. The fog and mist was making it hard to see the skyline and scenery as we made the ~30 minute drive to the hotel.
We stayed at the Intercontinental Hong Kong for three nights. This was a good location for us as it was right on the water in Kowloon with convenient ferry access to Hong Kong Island. One of the nights there was a wedding at the hotel with paparazzi lined up waiting for a glimpse of politicians as they entered the lobby. The restaurant where we ate breakfast during our stay also offered waterfront views similar to the hotel we stayed at in Bangkok.
Located on the Kowloon waterfront we had a direct view of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island. We were greeted with champagne and treats. Wouldn’t that be a nice welcome amenity every time you checked into a hotel? #honeymoonperks
We planned to meet our guide for a morning of exploring while leaving the rest of the time open to explore on our own. It was still raining and was supposed to the entire time we were in Hong Kong so we stuck to the itinerary and headed to Victoria peak. We traveled by tram to the top.
It wasn’t the best day to be up there, but it was pretty cool to take in the Hong Kong skyline. It really is the best way to grasp the scale and diversity of the city.
We spotted the Intercontinental across the water. The view from the top also verified why we liked staying on Kowloon instead of Hong Kong Island…it is much prettier to look at the skyline from Kowloon rather than look out at Kowloon.
One the way down we drove past cliff side mansions. We decided this one would be a suitable vacation home in Hong Kong.
We drove to Repulse Bay, one of the most popular beaches but kept going since it wasn’t exactly a beach day. We drove past a commonly photographed apartment building in Hong Kong. I am glad we drove by it two separate times, once it was raining so hard you could barely see the feng shui aspect of the building but the second time the dragon gate was in clear view.
Buildings in Hong Kong often have holes in them to allow dragons to fly from the mountains to the water. Dragons are believed to be bearers of good fortune so it is best to allow dragons to pass through to avoid misfortune.
We had a recommendation from a friend so we asked the guide to take us to Stanley on Hong Kong Island’s south coast. Certainly a tourist destination but there is a great open air market and many restaurants on the water.
We had a mission to pick up some paintings for a friend and ended up buying a few pieces as souvenirs for ourselves. They hang in our entryway at the moment so we are reminded of Hong Kong often!
With the paintings in hand it was time to dry off for a bit so we grabbed a drink at one of the restaurants on the water.
We ended up going back to Stanley the following day too! Friends recommended Lucy’s cafe as a must so that is where we had lunch, complete with pecan pudding with toffee sauce that people raved about. After 23 years in business, Lucy’s changed owners and has a new name so if you are in Stanley, look for Henry’s as the reviews are still positive. The rain and humidity was a bit much so I apparently started wearing workout headbands…
Our guide suggested that we visit the fishing port of Aberdeen. Fishermen often live in sampans in this part of Hong Kong.
We boarded a traditional sampan boat and rode through the harbour. We didn’t go to the huge tourist trap behind us but we did enjoy chatting with the fisherman and learning about life on the water in Aberdeen where dogs appear to have their own boats too.
We visited one temple while in Hong Kong. The Man Mo temple is a quiet retreat not too far from the busy financial district. It certainly sticks out but it isn’t as extravagant as other temples. The main attraction is on the inside. There are giant incense coils hanging from the ceiling. The red tags have prayers written on them.
The incense makes it pretty hard to breathe and even see due to the number of burning coils. There were also many offerings from worshipers at this temple.
This is the point in the trip were we just wanted something familiar and found ourselves at McLovin’s Tavern for some nachos and a burger. It also appears that we were the only ones there…reciting quotes from the movie Superbad.
The Intercontinental is practically located on the Avenue of the Stars right along the Victoria Harbour waterfront so we checked it out one afternoon and took in the views of the Hong Kong skyline on the walk back to the hotel.
At night we ventured over to Hong Kong Island via the ferry that was a short walk away from the hotel.
2010 was a FIFA World Cup year so the streets were packed with soccer fans pouring out of bars trying to get a glimpse at the big screen.
We found a fantastic sushi restaurant called Tokio Joe in the Lan Kwai Fong section of Central Hong Kong. This was our favorite sushi of all time outside of Tokyo.
Hong Kong’s Central-Mid-Levels escalator and walkway system is the largest outdoor covered escalator system in the world. It was built in the mid-90s as a way for workers to get from the mid-level where most people live down the lower levels where the skyscraper office buildings are located. They go down during morning rush hour and up during evening rush hour so plan ahead if you are heading to Hong Kong Island, otherwise you will be taking the stairs!
We navigated from the ferry drop off point on HKI to the Hollywood Road exit in search of a spot to grab our last meal in Hong Kong. We found a good Pho restaurant that is no longer open but there are plenty of options so you can’t go wrong!
The sun literally came out as we were heading to the airport but at least we got to see the skyline on a partially sunny, hazy day!
What we did:
- Took the tram to Victoria Peak
- Visited the Man Mo temple
- Spent the afternoon at Stanley Market
- Ate amazing sushi at Tokio Joe
Where we stayed:
Question: What is on your top three “must see” Hong Kong attractions list?