Thursday, December 26, 2013

Hong Kong!

We went back and forth on whether we wanted to visit this country simply because K had already travelled there with his family a few years ago. But me being me(read: stubborn) he didn't have too much of a choice. He finally said yes! So in case you are wondering why we didn't do Thailand and why we did HK instead(coz Cambodia is closer to Thailand), there's your answer right there. 
We were spending about 5 nights at HK. We reached quite late at night(about 11:30 pm local time). HK is very well connected via trains, buses and trams. Hence commuting is a breeze. The first thing we did was to get an Octopus card at the airport which can pretty much be used in any public transport, stores etc. It has a deposit of about $50 HK. 
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express at Soho. I must it was a very practical choice. Not too fancy, not too big, great location and quite reasonably priced as well. It is probably a good time to talk about how everything is so pricey in HK!! Yes, food, stay, shopping - every single thing is expensive. So it is better to be smart about the hotel choice - look for one which has a metro station within walking distance. 

What I enjoyed seeing? 
1. The Victoria Peak - This is a must see and a must do experience. And to make the most of the experience, please try and choose a day that isn't too foggy. The whole point of taking the tram up there is to take in some of the fabulous views it offers. We went on a windy day and boy, I absolutely loved standing out there with the wind blowing on my face. Take a look at the stunning view - 
A fabulous view of HK 

My personal favorite! 

2. Avenue of Stars, Tsim Sha Tsui - This is HK's version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Honestly, I didn't care for the Chinese walk of fame because apart from Bruce Lee & Jackie Chan I cannot claim to know any other Chinese actors. However what I really loved was the "Sound & Lights Show" which is fabulous! Do not miss it. It starts at about 8 pm, but we ensured we reached there early to grab good seats to take some snaps. 
The beautiful HK Skyline 

Say cheese :)

The Bruce Lee statue at the end of the walk 

3. The Nan Lian Garden & Chi Lin Nunnery  - When you google "things to do in HK" this one doesn't really pop up. But I am glad we discovered this beauty. This is bang in the middle of a busy junction(it has a metro station) and it is noisy and crowded outside. But once you step in, you are transported to a different world altogether. The Nan Lian gardens and the Chi Lin Nunnery are peaceful, quiet, serene and so so picturesque. 
Love the colors especially the rich orange bridge 

Pretty pink flowers 

Looks surreal right? :)

4. The Big Buddha at Lantau - HK has different islands surrounding it and the Big Buddha statue is in the Lantau island. Most tourists take the cable car ride to Lantau island to visit the Big Buddha. I suppose that is mostly for the amazing views. However, we decided to just take a bus that goes very frequently and is equally comfortable not to mention tons cheaper than the cable ride. After all we have done enough of cable car rides in India, thank you very much! ;-)  So we took a bus to see the Big Buddha statue. It was a bright sunny day and we absolutely enjoyed the ride. What I particularly didn't enjoy was climbing the 240 odd steps(yep I counted!), so I pretended to pose for K whenever I wanted to breathe! lol. It is best to do this in the morning when the sun is out - you can get pretty pictures of the Buddha. Once you climb up to get a closer view of the big man, you can look all around and see very pretty sights of the Lantau island which was lush green. 
Catching my breath! 

The Big Buddha Statue, Lantau 

5. Macau - A trip to HK isn't complete without visiting Macau. Macau is Asia's answer to Las Vegas. A place that is constantly buzzing with activity(read: gambling), full of tourists and full of fun! We wanted to do a day trip to Macau so we set off early in the morning to catch the ferry to Macau. On reaching the Macau port, post clearing immigration(yes it is a separate country so taking your passport and clearing immigration is mandatory) we headed outside to see a row full of buses that transfer us to the hotels for free. The main reason behind is that they want tourists to come to their hotels and start gambling(basically throwing away money just like we did!). But before that, we headed to see the Senado square which has the St. Paul's ruins(an old cathedral that was burnt down) and also a store called Sasa which sells make up & where I spent close to 2 hours going ballistic. Sheesh!! ;-) 

We then headed to a Portuguese restaurant where we had the yummiest rice ever!! It was simply wow!! Post lunch, we walked around town a bit before we headed to the Macau Tower side. Believe it or not, we saw people bungee jumping from the top of this tower at 3 pm in the afternoon. Crazy stuff!!!
Macau Tower 

Our sun burnt faces say it all! 


Finally we did a spot of gambling(slot machines) inside this hotel called "City of Dreams" and lost a bit of money like fools. But hey, we can say we gambled at Macau(!). Before we knew it, it was time to take the bus back to the ferry stop as we were heading back to HK for the night. We were super tired and a bit cranky after the long day. But so worth waking up early for!! 

Apart from these, the other things K and I enjoyed doing at HK was to walk around the flower Market and the Bird Market. 

Aren't they just gorgeous? Loved the colors captured... My hubby's really really good! hehehe. #selfdabba 

As you can see, there is just so much to do in HK. We spent a good 5 days there and it was just about enough. Apart from this, there is all that shopping to be done especially at the Ladies Market and the Night Market. Superbbb! 

The party part of HK is actually at Lan Kwai Fong(LKF) which is close to Soho. This is where we went for drinks and dinner on our last night at HK. Hard Rock Cafe was fab!! A perfect end to an absolutely wonderful holiday! 

Would I visit HK again? - Of course I would!! It is such a vibrant, fun, fast paced, clean and wonderful country that I wouldn't think twice about going there again!!