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Hong Kong – Summary

By on September 6, 2015 in Hong Kong

I had trouble getting started with Hong Kong, but I think I got there in the end.

Initially, I was just swamped by Hong Kong. I found it too big, too noisy and too busy. And too hot. I think the reason I found it over powering was because I had come to the city for the first time direct from Bali, and the contrast was all a bit too much, as was the heat. Bali, I found to be relaxing and laid-back, Hong Kong, on the other hand, felt like a slap in the face with a very hot damp towel. It was a real shock.

Victoria Peak - Hong Kong Summary

What saved Hong Kong for me was taking the Big Bus Tour, which although a little expensive, did provide an excellent introduction to the place. The bus ran on a big loop on the mainland, and also went down to the southern coast of the main island.  It was a great way to see and to become familiar with the geography and layout of Hong Kong. To me, the greenery and beauty of the coastline along the southern shore of Hong Kong Island were a real surprise.

On the first day, I wandered around and also signed up for the Big Bus tour. In my “wanderings” I found the city overpowering. I had difficulty finding my way around, and just getting to “grips” with the place.  A very weak GPS signal meant my phone was unable to get a good location lock, and this made navigating a challenge. Also, the “3-D nature” of Hong Kong didn’t help. That is, all the raised walkways often meant that I passed the place I was trying to get to as it was below where I was walking.

Big Bus Tour - Hong Kong Summary

On the bus, I explored Kowloon, which is the part of Hong Kong that is on the mainland. I completed one circuit on the bus route, so to get my bearings, and then got off on a second loop at the most northerly point. From there I walked back down to the harbour via the various markets (Fish Market (live fish!), Flower Market, Bird Market (live birds), Ladies Market (not selling ladies), and the Night Market (not selling knights)), and also explored some of the attractions pointed out on the bus tour. On the way back I also caught the light show across the harbour, which was spectacular. Hong Kong looks stunning at night.

Mongkok Flower Market - Hong Kong Summary

On day 2 I took the two Big Bus routes on Hong Kong Island, only getting off the bus to explore the Victoria Peak (Victoria Peak – part 1; Victoria Peak – part 2; Victoria Peak – part 3), and Stanley. By doing this I got a real feel for the island, it’s layout and geography.

Victoria Peak was stunning. The train ride up was fantastic, and I can’t think of many other trains that I’ve been on that have climbed such a steep gradient.  The views from Victoria Peak are more than worth the effort and the cost of getting up there.

Victoria Peak Train - Hong Kong Summary

Stanley Harbour and the market were interesting, but not that great. It did then give me a chance to experienced a more relaxed and laid-back Hong Kong.

Finally, as part of the big bus tour, I took a cruise around the harbour (Star Ferry Cruise part 1; Star Ferry Cruise part2). The cruise was great. I found it very relaxing just sitting on a boat for an hour or so watching the cityscape of Hong Kong drift by.

Star Ferry Cruise Hong Kong Victoria Harbour - Hong Kong Summary

One highlight of my time in Hong Kong, which was not part of the bus tour, was my visit to the Man Mo Temple. Even though the temple is very small, it is stunning. I’ve never seen so much incense being burnt in one place. Another highlight was taking a tram ride across the northern coastline of Hong Kong island.

Man Mo Temple - Hong Kong Summary

Overall, once I got over my initial shock, I enjoyed my time in Hong Kong. It is a very interesting and vibrant city. It has a huge amount of energy, with lots of interesting little places to explore. It is a place you have to embrace. If you try to tackle Hong Kong without a sufficient level of drive, commitment, and energy, you will not enjoy the place.

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Nick's continued wanderings can be followed on Twitter: @nickswanderings.
Photos from this blog are available for purchase via Shutterstock and Eyeem

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