On our way home from Sydney we planned a 3 day stop over in Hong Kong. Not only would it (slightly) break up the long flight but we have many friends who have visited and loved the city, so we wanted to experience it for ourselves.
We arrived late at night and got absolutely soaked trying to find our hotel in the pouring rain. Unfortunately the next morning we woke up to similar weather – more grey and drizzle. Trying not to let that put a dampener (pun intended) on our plans, we headed out to explore.
Using the famous Star Ferry we crossed Victoria Harbour from our base in Tsim Sha Tsui to Central on Hong Kong Island. The Star Ferry has been running since 1880 and the beautiful ships are now as much a tourist destination as a mode of transport. At HK$2.50 a ticket (around £0.26) it’s also one of the cheapest things you can do in Hong Kong!
Once in Central we met up with Yammie, our guide for the Hong Kong Foodie Tour. We explored the rainy streets of the Sheung Wan district for 3 hours, stopping at a variety of restaurants, markets and shops to sample what was on offer and learn some insider knowledge about the city’s food culture. I had to sit out a few of the tastings since meat featured pretty heavily in most dishes (as expected with Cantonese cuisine) but was I spoiled for choice with veggie options when we eventually arrived at a Dim Sum café!
Absolutely stuffed, we headed back across to Tsim Sha Tsui to a rooftop bar with “amazing views” of the harbour light show…
Sadly the clouds had other ideas, so we just had to make do with a few lychee martinis instead.
The next morning looked a little clearer in the city, so we decided to continue with our original plan and head over to Lantau. This little island to the west of Hong Kong holds the airport, Disneyland and Po Lin Monastery, home to the famous “Big Buddha”.
As we climbed above the hills in the cable car the sky got greyer and greyer, until we couldn’t see a thing outside the windows. Once we reached the top we found the amazing view we’d been looking forward to…
….hah! To compare, here’s what we were hoping for:
Tickets to climb up to the Tian Tan Buddha also includes a vegetarian meal at the monastery, so given the disappointing weather we made a beeline straight for lunch. Which was actually pretty good. Afterwards we took a walk up the stairs (it seemed a shame not to since we’d travelled all this way) but the views still didn’t improve the closer we got.
At least it was still an experience we won’t forget!
After our failed Lantau trip, we cancelled everything else we had planned to do in Hong Kong (sadly no amazing views from Victoria Peak like I’d hoped!) and focused on the one thing we knew the weather couldn’t ruin – eating.
We spent the remaining day-and-a-half trying a variety of bars and restaurants that we’d heard of such as the AMAZING 22 Ships, one of chef Jason Atherton’s three Hong Kong restaurants…
…Ammo, a modern Italian restaurant housed in an old ammunition factory…
…and Grassroots Pantry which serves great value healthy vegetarian & raw food.
I definitely left Hong Kong a little disappointed that I couldn’t see all I’d hoped, but fingers crossed I get to visit again for some more of the delicious food on offer. And next time I’ll make sure to plan the trip for summer!