Exploring Hong Kong – part 1

Friday afternoon we had a late lunch at a nice Chinese in the Whampoa Gourmet plaza and I found a place to have my hair cut.  Hurrah!

Later on we headed out to visit the Temple Street night market.   When we arrived in the area we encountered beggars for the first time and a young girl around 15 years old sat on the pavement with no fingers or thumbs on either hand. She was clearly traumatised as she rocked backwards and forwards and we realised with horror that she had probably been deliberately maimed as her injuries were just too similar to have been caused by accidental means. Sickening….

We walked through the ‘golden mile’ of jewellery shops admiring the craftsmanship but not sure that the designs will travel LOL. Above the stores were loads and loads of flats and it seemed like it might be washing day….

We finally arrived at the night market. This was full of bling and lots of copies of designer items such as bags. There really wasn’t anything that took our eye and, if we did buy electronic gifts, we would want to make sure that it survived longer than being taken out of its packaging LOL. So we declined and walked end-to-end….

We had hoped to eat street food but the hygiene standards and the smell of the cooking oil in these places put us off big time.

We worked our way through the crowds and ended up back at the MTR so took the line towards central on Hong Kong island where we stopped to watch the LED light show on the buildings.

We then walked to Soho where we found a very popular local restaurant and had some great noodle dishes although found eating this soup-like meal with chopsticks a little challenging LOL. After our meal we took the Star Ferry back across the river and the bus back to our hotel where we had a couple of cold ones before turning in for the night.

Saturday morning we headed out on the bus and got the Star Ferry back across to Hong Kong Island. We walked across the road towards the Hong Kong station and caught another tube to the island of Lantau. We got off at the end of the line at Tung Chung and walked to the cable car terminal. Sadly it was a little cloudy (or polluted?) but there were still fantastic views across Tung Chung Bay to the airport and then through Lantau’s North Country Park. We continued on this ride until we reached the Ngong Ping terminal.

At the terminal there is a new village which has been built specifically for tourists. We walked through until we came to the corridor of 12 Divine Generals each of whom symbolises the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac and represents two distinct hours of the day. Here are a few of them.

We then took our breath before tackling the 260 steps up to the Big Buddha statue who is sitting on a lotus leaf. We found it hard to walk up at this altitude and couldn’t believe it when we came across a woman who took the steps one at a time on her knees praying all the time. Amazing dedication.

We enjoyed our visit with Buddha and the views out, particularly the deities that surround him. Then it was time to work our way down the steps again….

Having reached the bottom we admired other gates and statues – as well as talking to a couple of wild cows that hang out here – before taking ourselves off to the Po Lin monastery.

This was a series of temples and each one was more beautiful than the other….with numerous gold statues and the most ornate carvings and woodwork. Oh yes and we had to sneak a couple of photos despite the signs LOL. Just stunning…

Having had our fill of temples and saying a final farewell to Big Buddha we headed back into the village and had some Turkish food. Then we found a bus to take us to the fishing village of Tai O. We took a boat trip through the stilt houses that adorn this area and then out into the South China Sea looking for white dolphins. We knew that these were pretty rare so were not surprised we failed to spot any.

After the boat trip we walked through the village into the fish market and our senses were assaulted by the smell of the street food and the dried remains of certain fishes – a few were recognisable like squid – but we were horrified to see ‘gills’ as we know of the Chinese liking for manta ray gills as they are supposed to strengthen respiratory tracts. This place also had crispy squid which Richard had taken a liking to in our hotel bar but I think seeing it in its raw state might have put him off eating it in future LOL.

We returned to Ngong Ping and took the cable car down the mountain trying to keep warm from the chilly wind. At the bottom we headed back to the MTR station and took three tubes to return to our hotel. We had a few hours relaxing in our room enjoying the oasis of calm away from the manic craziness that is Hong Kong. Later on we headed to the outside bar to watch the evening laser show over the harbour.

By now we were hungry so we headed back down to the Courtyard restaurant for dinner. Again there was live music and again the app didn’t work. But I managed to get the cashier to give us a bucket of beers so that we didn’t need to return and queue to order more. The Indian food was fantastic again but the band cleared off at 10 pm. Not wanting to sit in an empty restaurant we carried the beer to our room to finish it off.

Bye for now