Trip Start Nov 09, 2010
98Trip End Dec 12, 2011
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Hong Kong is split into various parts, mainly the mainland (Kowloon and New Territories), Hong Kong Island, Lantau Island and over 260 Outer Islands. Some parts are very modern, others quite old and a bit run down. It's home to over 7 million people and seems extremely busy. We were there in low season and it was like London at Christmas time! The place seems to come alive at night. I can only describe Hong Kong as one massive shopping complex, everywhere you go there are shopping malls and even the back streets are full of small individual shops. Everyone told us to wait until we got to Hong Kong to shop since everything is cheap. This was unfortunately incorrect, unless you are after fake goods. The shops were no cheaper than the UK and the hotels, food and drink were on a par with the UK. Some of the individual clothes shops were cheaper but they wouldn’t let you try the clothes on and didn’t offer refunds or in some cases even an exchange!
We wondered down to Victoria Harbour which from the Kowloon side, you look across to Hong Kong Island. The view is of huge skyscrapers with mountains behind and is quite an impressive sight. Along the promenade is the Avenue of Stars, a smaller version of Hollywood’s Walk of Fame with stars such as Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. On the evening there is the "Symphony of Lights" show, which we decided to sit and watch. It’s a show where all the buildings in the harbour light up and flash lights to music. It has been awarded the world’s “Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show” as it’s on every night. We got a good front row position and the music started which you could hardly hear and then the lights began. It was a 20 minute show and at the end of it I was still waiting for it to start - I am sorry to say, it was rubbish.
One morning we thought we must try the traditional Hong Kong breakfast of Dim Sum. We went into the restaurant got the menu and that was as far as we got, with Frogs, Fish Spawn and other such delicacies our stomachs turned at that time of day and we left for a pastry and a nice cup of tea! The rest of our group bar two did the same.
On an evening we often ventured to Temple Street night market which was just a couple of blocks from our hotel. It was full of the obvious tourist stuff and cheap fakes. However, there were also food stalls selling loads of different things and we ate there a few times. The food was quite nice and reasonably priced I have to say, the Chinese like their food fresh and you could see the live prawns and langoustines etc. trying to escape!
Tian Tan Buddha is the world’s largest seated bronze Buddha and weights over 242 tons. You can see it in the distance when you are on the cable car. Once you get close to it you can appreciate just how big the Buddha is. It is quite an impressive sight.
Unfortunately Ngong Ping Village has just been built for tourists and is full of tourist shops and restaurants.
Kowloon is famous for its markets (i.e. Goldfish, Bird, Flower and Ladies). The flower market was pretty, just a couple of streets of flower shops, one after the other, but some shops sold purely Orchids which looked beautiful. The Bird Market I really didn’t like, but went out of curiosity. It was full of tiny wooden cages with many different species of birds along with live crickets in mesh bags for sale. The most upsetting was when I saw three baby parrots which could only have been days old in a cage with their mum no-where in sight, that was horrible. The Goldfish market was again lots of shops, one after the other, selling tropical fish (mainly Goldfish) but they had them hanging in plastic bags on the doors to the shops. They were also selling other animals, such as Terrapins, Tortoises, Rabbits and Puppies. I fell in love with one puppy which looked a bit like a St Bernard, he was just a huge ball of fluff and I wanted to take him travelling with us, but Ian wouldn’t let me (meany)! The ladies market was rubbish, just market stalls like back home.
We enjoyed ourselves for the time we were in Hong Kong but were looking forward to moving on.