Travel journal - Hong Kong

Travel journal - Hong Kong

I’ve left Europe for the first time at the end of July to visit Singapore, Indonesia (Bali) and Hong Kong and I’ve written up a few things. Maybe I’ll add some pics later.

10.8.

Grabbed a CSL prepaid SIM in the morning for 11 EUR, coverage is again better than at home, woohoo :( (Originally planned to get a Three SIM as recommended, but I took what I could get.) Sightseeing tour at 10, saw a huge part of Hong Kong Island and Victoria Peak, Aberdeen and Happy Valley. 30min Sampan tour in Victoria Harbour. Strolling along Nathan Road, the malls are packed with brand stores, reminds me of Singapore’s Orchard Road. Had a frozen Fanta smoothie ice cream float (had I not heard of a root beer float I probably would have been puzzled) in Kowloon Park and had a look at Statue Walk, the maze and the aviary. Visited the Night Market and fended off a few fake Rolex dealers. Dinner at a weird Dessert Shop that also seemed to have a few normal dishes like the Pork Skin, Squid and veggies curry, microwaved that I had. Edible, but not so great.

11.8.

Took the tram towards Central (it only costs ~30 cents, no matter how far you go without changing cars, but it’s slow due to so many stops) and hopped off somewhere near Causeway Bay. Had a look at Sogo, a huge Japanese mall. After that we took the Star Ferry to Kowloon and visited the Avenue of Stars (like the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Hong Kong’s stars. Didn’t know too many names, but there were: Sir Run Run Shaw, Bruce Lee, Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan, Chow Yun Fat, Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh and Wong Kar Wai. Visited the Central-Mid levels escalators (a bit disappointing, in fact) and went for a walk through SoHo and the Man Mo Temple. Quick rest at Victoria Park, dinner at some place possibly named Fairwood. Looked like fast food, but tasted excellent. I don’t exactly remember the day, but one time something funny happened to me on the MTR. I have to elaborate a bit and say that the trains aren’t exactly as high as our ones, so I had to slightly duck my head to enter and leave and on certain elevated spots I reached the ceiling, in the tram I couldn’t even stand upright anywhere. So, anyway, this one day I’m standing in the MTR near a door, ducked a little and some huge Swiss guy (I think he was 2.05m or so) enters, totally ducking his way inside and standing in a weird pose. Then he saw me, looked at me, looked at the ceiling and we both burst into laughter.

12.8.

Tried to find the Jade Market (this time the map was bad) and ended up running in circles until we found it. Saw the Tin Hau temple nearby. Watched the show at Kung Fu Corner in Kowloon Park (14:30 every sunday) that consisted of tributes to elder sifus and children students (at least sifu was the only repeated chinese word I could understand), dragon dances, short gong play intermissions and kung fu performances by children and also adults. Then went to Sha Tin to find the Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas (that Google Search and Google Maps failed to find when I looked, but I used “10000”) so we ended up in the part of the monastery that seemed to be a cemetary for local people, as there wasn’t a single English word written anywhere. Gladly the third guy we asked spoke English and told us to follow him all the way down again to the other entrance. Seems it’s quite hidden, a little path next to the parking lot without any signs. The venue was supposed to close in a few minutes so I sprinted (ok, I tried…) uphill for a few hundred metres until I ran into someone and asked him how far it would be. “What do you mean, how many steps?” he said but could indeed sooth my doubts by estimating it to 5-10 minutes on the winded path. Managed to get up in time and take a few photos but that climate isn’t too well-suited for sports, especially for foreigners. Had a quick look at a mall near the MTR station that turned out to be a furniture-themed mall (they even had an IKEA) like the one we saw in Singapore. Went back to the city and had dinner at YanYun Sichuan, very delicious. Run into it by chance by actually looking for another restaurant in that mall that doesn’t seem to exist anymore and not getting a table at a Korean restaurant next door.

13.8.

Planned to go to Ocean Park, read the ambiguous leaflet incorrectly, missed the bus by 30sec and had to wait an hour. Arrived at 1215, went through an enormous queue in an amazingly short time. The 10% off voucher also worked, woohoo. The “shows” leaflet was also not very helpful, so we got into a children’s play in Chinese and bailed out early. The bird show was quite okay, with a little bit of a plot of someone chopping down a tree, thus destroying the birds’ habitat and being scolded by a talking tree. Again more for children and with a strong focus on environmental problems, also mostly in Chinese, but you got a good close up of the birds. We also visited some dance show that looked a little like Grease, but on a stage with a lot of running water and the first four rows being labelled “wet zone” for a reason. I haven’t mentioned yet that umbrellas used as parasols are very popular in Hong Kong, so the poor park employee was busy 10mins before the show to tell people to put their umbrellas away. We were pretty much alone in those first four rows, so getting wet seems to be as popular as getting into the sun apparently. Gladly we really got wet and could continue walking around in the sun a little cooled down :) The dance performance was very good as well. Apart from the shows there were a lot of exhibits, mostly with sea animals, but we also saw four Pandas, a fire fox (Red Panda) and alligators and a walrus, seals and penguins. Managed to get a seat at the awesome dolphin and sea lion show at around 17:30, and 20:00 was the last performance, Symbio. Thought it would be some water and light, turned out to have sound, flames, fireworks and a story as well. It was awesome. Dinner at McD next to the hotel before hitting the hay.

14.8.

Putting Mong Kok off till tomorrow, having a walk through the electronics malls instead. Got an Ainol Novo 7 Tornados with case, a cheap orange gaming mouse and an additional duffel bag to carry all the stuff home again. Also bought some packs of tea leaves and received some telemarketing calls on the week-old mobile number. What was planned as a shorter day still ended in 10h on the road. Dinner at dimsumbar at Harbour City. You know the card slots at the hotel room door to enable electricity? We’re finding new stuff in ours each day as it’s the last room on the floor and the maid seems a little forgetful. Or we’re supposed to keep the second card in there for A/C. Who knows…

15.8.

Feeling a little sick, going to grab a quick last certain gift, then to the Museum of History. Turns out it’s overbooked or something. Science Museum is next to it though. The exhibition on the Chinese space flight is nice as well. The Science Museum is really more for kids, but was still good for a quick visit. Paid ~3 EUR for a special exhibit, the museum itself was free on Wednesday. Found out I could after all visit one of two main areas of the History Museum, The Hong Kong Story. Took the short route from the Opium Wars to modern times, left out prehistoric up to the Chinese Dynasties. That museum is awesome, especially the shops and street corners they built inside. Shuttle bus is supposed to get us to the airport at 2020 with a 60-90min ride, flight is at 0020. Looking forward to s01e07-10 of Person of Interest on the Cathay flight. Boarding got delayed, takeoff got delayed, got hardly any sleep.

16.8.

Scheduled landing at 06:20, turned out to be more like 07:00. Luggage took a while, so did the way to the station in Frankfurt. ICE at 08:37, arrived in Munich at 12:10. Quick visit to Subway and took a Taxi. Home at 13:00, 23h after leaving the hotel - up for ~31h by now, yay.

There are part 1, part 2 and part 4.