The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, and what a treat we were able to reunite in the homeland!
My secret trip back home began with a secret stopover in Hong Kong. With my mutli flex pass attached to my flight booking, it was only a very small fee to move the flights to give myself a couple of days in HK. Despite flight delays, poor weather, and several close calls to the surprise coming to an end, I made it in one piece ready for my first solo Asia trip.
For the first night, I treated myself to a night in a hotel to recover from the mad rush of finishing work, dashing to Melbourne airport, then rushing back to Sydney airport at 4am, and then surviving a (delayed) 9 hour flight. After a few area recommendations, I chose the Empire Hotel Causeway Bay. Getting out of HK airport is an ordeal in itself, as although easy to navigate, takes a lot of walking AND a train journey before you even claim your bag. But I was soon on the train, and straight into the city. This was only approx £10 including a complimentary transfer to my hotel. The hotel upgraded me to a larger room for the night, which although had little view, was spacious, clean and excitingly came with a smartphone which could be taken out and used around the city – an ingenious idea!
Firstly – the heat, after Melbourne winter, this was actually greatly appreciated.
How difficult it can be to find something to eat which isn’t deep fried sparrow, or entirely written in Chinese so has the potential to be literally anything.
The crowds – oh my. And with the crowds? Selfie sticks. Need I say more.
Hong Kong is truly “bright lights, big city”, and there’s so much to be distracted by when strolling around. Before long, I made it to the harbour for a trip on the Star Ferry which crosses Victoria Harbour to Kowloon, and for a ridiculously small view gives you amazing views of the harbour. At night – this really is a spectacular sight! I made it just in time for the daily “Symphony of Lights” where many of the larger buildings on both sides of the harbour participate in a lightshow, with music playing in time to the show. For a free activity, this was enjoyable, and certainly something to do if you have time in the city, but the view really is impressive enough without needing any extras!
From here I wandered up to the Mong Kok night market and after a short perusal, hunger took oveWhar, and I found myself sat in one of the typically Asian cafes with the plastic chairs perfectly designed for Peps-sized people, enjoying some delicious food which was only a fraction of the price of a meal in Australia.
All in all – once I had adapted back to the craziness, a successful first evening (and I even managed to navigate the trains back to the hotel with my new “octopus” card!)
What started as a hot, dry second day fuelled by a delightful hotel breakfast, quicky became a tropical downpour (where the sky went so dark it could have quite easily been the middle of the night). After a quick visit to Man Mo Temple, I spent some time wandering around the extensive outdoor escalators and walkways which forms one of the largest of its kind in the world.
After a quick relocation to the second nights accommodation – the Yes Inn, the rest of the day continued to be walk, walk, walk! Back over to see the view of Victoria Harbour in daylight and a stroll along the avenue of the stars, attempting to visit the Gallery which was seemingly closed for renovations, impulse buying at the ladies market, drinking iced green tea lattes (YUM!), generally eating at every opportunity, and taking a ride on one of the rickety old trams running through Hong Kong.
Despite having the best intentions to be sociable in the hostel, I was far too exhausted, and instead chose to have an early night on my third tier bunk – something I haven’t seen in a hostel before – glad I wasn’t on the bottom!!
With a full day ahead before my 1am flight, I set off bright and early to the Hong Kong Heritage Museum, after luckily discovering a large Monet exhibition was currently featuring. Again conquering the train system, I made it in good time, although hung back to let the morning school and tour groups go through ahead of me (I still get rather baffled that some people choose to view these things solely through their phone screens as opposed to enjoying the sights with their eyes…). This was a great exhibition (The Savoy even managed a mention) and had a large second room set up as Monets garden, home and studio.
Wednesday in HK have free museum admission, so I ventured back to the city to the Hong Kong Museum of History – it’s no secret I love a good museum, so it was fascinating to learn more about the country and its culture – even better for being free.
After taking the Star Ferry back to HK, I stopped for coffee at the Coffee Academics, which was seemingly voted one of the top 10 coffee shops in the world by buzzfeed – and it was pretty excellent coffee!
For my last activity before heading to the airport, I took the Peak Tram up the mountain. Allow time for this – I had expected there to be a wait, but hadn’t quite anticipated how long it was going to be. The tram ride itself is a little bit rickety up the steep mountain, but the views at the top looking down over the skyscrapers is incredible. I chose to head up just before sunset to see the views in daylight and watch the lights turn on at night. The perfect end to a hectic few days!
After finally making it back to the UK for reunions, weddings, and some much needed relaxation, before I knew it I’m back in Australia and back to the daily grind. But just a few weeks to go now until hitting the road again, indefinitely!
Looking forward to hearing how London life is treating you Hector!
With kindest regards,
Have you been lucky enough to spend some time in Hong Kong? What were your highlights?!