Today I’ve had Stanley on my list. Stanley is a district and a tourist attraction. It is located on a peninsula on southern Hong Kong Island. Stanley is famous amongst the tourists mainly because of its street markets and nice location on the coast.
I hopped on the bus, which took me to Stanley in 30mins. It was a nice ride along the coast through Repulse Bay, another area of Hong Kong. Passing through Repulse Bay, you will instantly notice the really big and tall apartment building, which has a giant hole in the middle. Hong Kong people are strong followers of Feng- Shui. Their folklore says dragons, the bearers of good fortune, live in the mountains north of the building; the hole gives the dragon access to the water, south of complex, and encourages them to pass through. If as an example, you would build that building without a hole, located with the hill on the backside where the dragon lives and to the front side the ocean, which is the water source for the dragon, you could be certain that the dragon will get angry as he cannot reach the water and he could tear down the building.
I love stories like that
Anyways, once I reached Stanley I made my way down to the bay. It had a very Mediterranean touch. Lovely atmosphere, the street lined with many small restaurants. The market was tucked into the very narrow alleyways, jam-packed with stalls selling from cheap clothes, souvenirs, paintings, electronic gadgets, almost anything touristy :o) It was so much fun to watch.
It took me about 2hrs until I was fed up with all the shopping, many tourists and the noise :o) So, I took the bus back to the hotel and relaxed a bit.
As the weather cleared up a tiny bit, I decided to try my luck on the Peak this evening. With an altitude of 552 m (1,811 ft), it is the highest mountain on Hong Kong Island, hence you have the most stunning views over the city. My plan was to go up there right before sunset to take pictures with daylight/ during sunset and at night all together. I took the bus and taxi to reach the peak. The ride up to the top, especially taking the taxi or bus, will take you along a really curvy road with views on some of the most expensive properties in the world. In May 2010 a house at Barker Road (where Hong Kong's most expensive residential buildings are located) sold for HK$1.8 billion. At HK$68,228 per square foot, it is the most expensive location in the world.
The cab driver dropped me of at The Peak building. The place was crowwddeeeed with people. My goodness. I decided to take the walk along the summit, as I expected most people to be too lazy and make use of the more convenient view platform right there J I did read somewhere that this “walking- to” place was more secret and offered amazing views. I started walking. Kept on going, and going and going. I realized eventually, that I was on the complete opposite side of the hill from where the city is located. So, I had to walk 2.5km to reach the point I wanted to be. I also realized, that if I would have started off in the opposite direction, I would have had to walk only about 500m to the viewing spot. Well done Cindy. Good thing my legs didn’t hurt like h&%$ (yeah right J).
Anyhow, the views were fantastic and so much worth the walk.
But there was still more to see. I still hadn’t visited the Temple Street Night Market. Alright, so all across the city I went. Nights in Hong Kong are pretty spectacular.
As the skyline looked just awesome from the top, I also decided to keep going and take these pictures of the skyline from across again…hehe …but this time with a fully charged camera.
The pictures turned out pretty- awesome. I think, :o). You can take a look in my pictures section and let me know if you agree….or not J
Until about 6 months ago, I have never even heard of Macau. I did, however, hear about it as my GM Patrick visited Macau. So, once I booked my flight to Hong Kong I was sure I had to visit Macau as well.
Macau is one of the two provincial-level of the Peoples Republic of China, the other being Hong Kong. Macau lies on the western side of the Pearl River Delta across from Hong Kong, which is about 64 kilometers to the east. With an estimated population of around 636,200 living in an area of only 30.3 km2 (11.6 sq mi), it is the most densely populated region in the world. As Portugese Macau, it was administered by the Portugese Empire and its inheritor states from the mid-16th century until late 1999, when it was the last remaining European colony in Asia under Portugal.
Same as Hong Kong, it is under the policy of “One country two systems”, with the Republic of China. Macau is one of the world's richest cities. It became the world's largest gambling center in 2006, with the economy heavily dependent on Gambling and tourism, as well as manufacturing. Enough about the city :o)
I reached Macau within an hour from Hong Kong by Super Jet boat. The ride was pretty nice, seeing the beautiful landscape seamed with green hills leading straight into the ocean.
Once arrived, I headed straight to the Tourist Office (quite Touristy I know :o) ) but there was one thing I really wanted to know…I always saw these amazing pictures of a certain, incredible looking temple, when I researched about Macau. But, I just couldn’t figure out the name or location of the place. Hence, Tourist Office was my only chance. And they DID help me :o) I was explained that this is A- Ma Cultural Village in the very south of Macau. Just as they suggested me to do, I took the shuttle to the Venetian Hotel (yes just like the one in Las Vegas) and from there the Taxi. The Taxi driver was a bit surprised by my request. Reaching the place on top of the hill, I was offered with a spectacular view. First full I couldn’t believe that I was nearly all by myself up there. No tourists!! Plus the place was so gorgeous. After wandering around up there for a bit and exploring the temple area I was ready to go back to Macau….but how? It was just myself and 3 Chinese Tourists up there, out in nowhere land :o) So, I waited, and waited and waited. After about 45mins. a shuttle-bus finally arrived, which drove us back down the hill.
Next place I visited was the famous Senado Square. You totally feel like in Europe. From there I walked to the Ruins of St. Paul. The way to the Ruins was packed with people….crazzzyyy :o)
I needed a little break after that, so I walked to Lou Lim Lok Garden. Such a peaceful place. I watched the older generation of locals playing board games and it almost seemed a bit too much, a bit like in a Movie :o)
I read somewhere that Sun Yat Sen Park was supposed to be the “most Chinese” Park of them all. So I walked all the way there. The Park is right on the boarder to China. I must say, I was a bit disappointed. I thought that the previous park was a lot nicer. But, what to do. A quick stop at a Take away, I tried to order some food, but I quickly realized that the Mom and Son (at least I guess so :o)) didn’t speak a word of English. Hence I mooed, gaggled and grunted my way through the animal kingdom and their menu, to find out what to order. A quite fun way for the three of us to order my food :oD
I was also quite tired by now from all the walking and my legs started to get really sore. Plus it was extremely humid and hot again. Hence, I decided to take the cab back to Fisherman’s Wharf. That again, was disappointing. However, this time I must say it was my fault. I expected it to be an actual Fisherman Wharf. But all it was, was a kind of an amusement area with many shops. Not mine. So I decided to walk back to the ferry.
I reached Hong Kong at 20:30hrs. Looking at the sky, I noticed that the clouds had disappeared and there was a nice view over the skyline. I quickly decided to take the Star Ferry across the bay to take advantage of the good weather and take some shots of the skyline at night. So, I was there at the Avenue of Stars, gazing at the beautiful skyline, wanting to take a picture….but my camera was dead. Aaaarrggghhh. I was so angry with myself. How dumb is that. Really frustrated I stumbled back to the MTR, grabbed a taxi and went back to the hotel, hoping I would get a second chance to take nice shots of the skyline at night.
Macau sure is a special place. It is China, but so very European/ Portugese. Even all the signs, actually everything, is written in Cantonese and Portugese. How cool is that :o)
Do definitely visit Macau if you ever find yourselves in Hong Kong!
The plan for today was to explore Kowloon. With that in mind, I hopped on the bus to city center and took the MTR (subway) from there across the bay. It was ok weather in Aberdeen when I left, so I didn’t bring my umbrella. However, when I reached Kowloon it was raining again :o( Anyhow, we are weather proof, right!
I got off at Prince Edward station. I walked along Boundry street when it started pouring down with rain like insane. I took shelter under a building entrance. With me taking shelter was an elderly local man. We got into a conversation about the awful weather, he asked me, of course where I am from and if I would be all by myself. He was excited once he learned that I am Swiss, as he has visited Switzerland and thinks Switzerland is paradise :o) Your not so wrong my friend, I thought :o) We’ve had a nice short chat. The rain got a little less at that point. I told him I would go on now. He then asked me whether I do not have an umbrella. I said no. Without hesitating the man gave me his umbrella. I said no, I couldn’t take it, as he needed it too. But, he insisted and said he could buy another one, they would be cheap here. This might sound like a small incident, but I was really touched by how helpful he was towards a complete stranger. Honestly, would I have done the same? I truly doubt it. BUT, that was a big lesson learned!! Thank you- Thank you stranger for teaching me a lesson in kindness. These are the moments why I love traveling so much!
Well, I then walked on to Yuen Po Street Bird Garden through the pounding rain with my meaningful umbrella. As the name already says, it’s an area full of stalls where you could buy all sorts of singing birds.
Next, I found myself amidst super many flowers. I reached Flower Market road. Again, as the name gives away- street full of flower shops. Of course I’ve had to buy some flower seeds to grow my favorite sunflowers- maybe this time they will actually grow…hehe.
I walked and walked- looked left- looked right- oh dear- what did my “diver- eyes” see….. hundreds of small and larger fish packed in plastic bags. I definitely reached the Gold Fish Market. Want a Goldfish for your Aquarium? This would be the place to go. It was still raining hard by the way.
I headed back north to take a stroll along Fa Yuen Street market. This is a market where you can buy, I guess, almost anything. A thrilling picture to watch.
After a short break, as my legs started to hurt, I walked through Ladies Market and Electronic Goods Market. I walked one street up- the next one down- up again- down again. Temple Street- Shanghai street- Reclamation street etc. just to name a few. I was amazed by the happenings on the street. All the stalls selling vegetable, fish, raw meat (any part of the cow you could imagine), chicken feet right there on street. I was actually wondering what would happen to me, if I would eat some meat from there…..don’t think that would end too well :o)
I stopped at the Jade Market to practice my haggling skills buying a bracelet. Not sure how successful I was though, hehe.
At this point I was getting very tired- and my legs started to hurt. Keep going Cindy- there is still much to see :o)
I walked and walked and walked. This area felt like the real Hong Kong. Not that I know what that would be like. But this sure felt like it, and was exactly how I imagined Hong Kong to be like. I loved it.
I stopped at Tin Hau Temple. Already approaching the temple I could smell the incense sticks burning. A smell I love. I wish I could make you smell it :o)
This Tin Hau Temple was built in the 19th century. I love the atmosphere in these temples, the dark red light, the golden ornamentation and of course the many many incense coils burning and filling the temple with a mysterious smoke and flavorsome smell.
I decided to take the MTR back to the harbor. I walked to the waterfront thinking what I should do next. It was 17:00hrs. Two more hours until the famous Temple Street Night market would start, but my legs were hurting- my feet felt like sponges, aching. And I could barely keep my eyes open. I still have 2 nights left in Hong Kong, still time to explore the night market. All I want now is my bed.
So……I “jumped” on the subway (subway stations are HUGE in Hong Kong, especially if your feet ake like h&%ç….), hopped on the bus and returned to my haven Ovolo Hotel <3.
Some things, which fascinate me in Hong Kong:
1. How organized public transport is. People will ALWAYS queue. Subway, taxi, bus- always queues. New York learn from that!!
2. The moving stairways are moving extremely fast here :o) Yeah, I nearly fell the first time I took one.
3. Staircase steps seem to be quite narrow here- do have Hong Kongers have such small feet?!
4. Every time I needed a toilet, there is one not just right there, but also very clean. How do they do that???
5. If you get lost here you must be “light headed”. Everything is extremely well signposted. Yes, just as good as we know it in Switzerland.
I think it is safe to say that I do highly prefer Hong Kong to Singapore. I am not even sure why. Maybe because Hong Kong is much more itself and not trying to be so western (don’t get offended with me Singapore please :o))
Check Pictures section for impressions...
Good morning- World :o) It is day 2 in this great city and I was all by myself now. No more Amy that was leading the way. I decided to head back to Wan Chai/ Central and Sheung Wan area today. I took a 20mins. bus ride to Statue Square in Central HK. There, I gazed at the incredibly high skyscrapers such us HSBC Building, which is built strictly following Feng Shui rules. I made my way to Hong Kong Park’s Museum of Tea Ware, where I enjoyed one of my rare cups of Tea. By Tram I went all the way to Sheung Wan District. I hopped off right in the dried fish market. Boy I could smell that. Very challenging for my nose. Passing by Western Market and down Morrison Street, I passed stores, which offer edible birds nests. Wonder how that tastes. I then ended up at Man Mo Temple. Built during Qing dynasty in 1847 it is one of the oldest and most significant temples in the territory. Lending the temple its beguiling and smoky air are rows of large earth-colored spirals suspended from the roof, like strange fungi in an upside-down garden. These are incense coils burned as offerings by worshippers. Different to the fish market there was a very nice smell in these Temples oft he incense coils.
At this point I was a bit hungry. I stopped at a place called LockCha Tea Shop, which was packed with locals. I thought you couldn’t really go wrong if they eat there. Hong Kong style I was seated with someone else at the table. I ordered Dim Sum, beef dumplings and Mango dessert. Yummy. But again, quite challenging in taste and texture- and eating with chop sticks- don’t even wanna go there….haha. I actually had a lady showing me hwo to eat the dessert- sorry to all Hong Kongers :o)
As the weather cleared up I thought I will make use of it and took the famous Star Ferry across the bay to Kowloon. I decided to head to the International Commerce Centre (ICC), which is the tallest building of Hong Kong, planning to enjoy the view from high up. Ritz Carlton, which is part of it, is the highest located hotel of the world. Well, getting to ICC was a bit of a challenge. I found myself stuck in Harbor City Ocean Center, which is a gigantic Mall. I barely managed to find my way out of there. Being stuck in that Mall lead me to two questions: 1. Who in the world needs Gucci- Kids, Armani Kids, Valentino Kids -clothes? and 2. Seriously, how big does a shopping center really have to be?!? Hehe.
Anyway, I did eventually find my out of there and reached ICC. I took the elevator up to the 101st floor. From there I gazed at the beautiful skyline of Hong Kong. An amazing view over my most likely favorite skyline so far.
At this point I was pretty done- soaking up all the visions- smells- tastes and cultural differences is thrilling and also exhausting :o) That’s why I decided to take the subway across the bay, hopped on the bus and returned to my comfy bed. Joy- Gin!
Check "Pictures" for impressions of my trip!!
I reached the city after a really bumpy, 6-½hr flight from Male. At the airport I grabbed a taxi, which brought me straight to my hotel. Ovolo Southside Hotel is aaaaawesome J Without a doubt the coolest hotel I’ve ever stayed in. I was lucky enough to get a free upgrade to a corner room, which gives me the view on two sides of the room. Wow. I then had an appointment with Amy from Hong Kong- greeters. I have booked a walking tour with her to get to know the insights oft he city. First Amy & I made our way to Wan Chai area on Hong Kong Island. She showed me around the street market, and explained local delicatessens such as all parts of the pork, ducks, really fresh fish…and a lot more that I don’t want to know what it is. It was a challenge for all my senses J
After that we headed the beautiful Pak Tai Temple which is built in honor of Pak Tai= God of the sea. At the time the temple was at the shore line (which explains God of the sea), however taking a look at where the shoreline is today, it shows that Hong Kong has grown incredibly. Anyhow, this is where I made a wish to the god of the sea and had an interesting/funny chat with a priest (not sure if that’s what he is though). We then got a bit hungry. I was eager to try Dim Sum. Amy took me to a place called Lei Garden. Once we ordered our share of food Amy explained to me that this Restaurant has 1 Michelin Star- my blood froze. How in the world can I afford this?! Besides- I am sitting there in my sketchers shoes, my leggings and back pack… But that’s Hong Kong too. The food was great, different to anything I have had ever in taste and texture, but good. I’ve had my challenges eating with chop sticks- but that’s part of the whole experience J The meal cost USD$28 by the way- and I was full- 1 Michelin Star Restaurant!! How awesome is that. Anyway, we then visited the Chin- Li Nunnery Buddhist complex. This is a nunnery built in the 1930. What an absolutely amazing place. This must be one of the most amazing buildings I have ever seen- yeah it kinda blew me away. The building was built to last a thousand years. It is built without a nail- all interlocked, intended to demonstrate the harmony of humans with nature.
Well, all this made me feel very sleepy. So Amy took me back to my Hotel- Joy-Gin!
I'm Cindy. I love to board planes which bring me to new and unexpected places. Born in Switzerland am I currently living/working in Maldives.