We knew Hong Kong was going to be organised, clean and in comparison to other places in the region, efficient. The airport’s a breeze, nobody hassles you over taxis, even the airport bus has WIFI! We had landed in another world.
What we didn’t know though, but were soon to find out, was that Hong Kong as well as being one of the most densely populated places on the planet, also had another side. One which included hidden spaces, quiet islands where there were no roads (just people cutting about on bicycles), and peaceful corners to watch the world go by on empty white sand beaches. Yes really.
We wouldn’t have had the experience we had though without the knowledge and generosity of some friends we had met in the Philippines a few weeks earlier. They happened to be long term residents of Lantau island, the largest of Hong Kong’s islands and they gave us a fantastic day around their island. Pizza on the beach, a beautiful drive through the countryside en route to the impressive ‘Big Buddha’, finishing off with fried rice and a restocked vitamin cupboard. Tammy and Rob, thanks so much!
There are lots of things to do in Hong Kong, much more than five days allows for . We never made it to Kwoloon or up the peak and we didn’t ride a tram, but what we did do was eat a lot of Dim Sum, ride the Hong Kong eye and take more than our fair share of ferries. We also sampled some of the lesser known temples as we stumbled upon them. As anywhere if you get off the beaten path you get a much better flavour of the city, those little hidden treasures that aren’t mentioned in any guide books.
Wolf (another ‘Philippines’ friend) showed us the sights of Lamma island, via a walking tour from port to port across the island. Yet again we saw beautiful empty beaches, peaceful countryside and ate some delicious local food.
Our home whilst in the territory was down in Aberdeen, a town in the Southern district of Hong Kong island. Now I don’t know what Hong Kong was like before the handover, but there’s not a lot that’s British about this part of Hong Kong apart from the plug sockets and buses. Home to a bustling fish market, Aberdeen also has a hidden gem in the form of the Ovolo Aberdeen hotel.
Now lets not mess about. Hong Kong is expensive by anyones standards. If your backpacking around the world, it can break your bank a little. The Ovolo at Aberdeen was great value, with friendly knowledgeable staff, a free minibar and even a nightly happy hour which included proper wine. Malbec from Chile and French Merlot!!!
We are not massive lovers of big cities and the thought of the hustle and bustle of central Hong Kong gave us a slightly uneasy feeling of dread! If we had known, we would of stayed a week! I can’t believe I’m writing this, but five days really wasn’t enough.
So if your passing through on the way to somewhere else, stop and stay a while. It’s going to cost you, but you might be pleasantly surprised.
- Chum, the manager at Aberdeen Ovolo hotel. Top man.
- Delicious Dim Sum (I think thats actually its name) in Aberdeen.
- The children’s playground in Mui Wo. Best of the trip so far.
- Pizza on the gorgeous lower Cheung Sha beach, Lantau island.
- Public transport – Cracking.
- Old friends, new places.
- No! I don’t like sleeping. (Bet)
- Eat some Dim Sum mummy? (Bet)
- I like fish. (Bet)
- This driver is mental!! (Bet…..Yes honestly!!!)(On a bus back home)
- Who knew!? We didn’t. (Nay and Steve)
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