Three days in Hong Kong, and what to do (and not to do) if it’s pissing with rain for your entire stay…
After Bruce tried a couple of (delicious) posh whiskies at 9am in the morning in Hanoi Airport, which we were never going to buy, we set off for Hong Kong with Dragon Airlines. We arrived in Hong Kong (huge airport and very modern) at about 1:30pm – it felt so clean and organised after Vietnam! Once arrived we made a call from the free phones at the airport to let our Airbnb know that we were on our way, we got the luggage and got the airport express train which was very fast and got us in Hong Kong station at about 3pm. We then jumped in a red taxi, all taxis in HK are cheap and the cars look bizarrely very old for such a futuristic city! We arrived at our Airbnb in Gleanely Street which was in a great location and very clean and comfy. Kitchen a bit small and no supplies whatsoever (no sugar, or salt very little cuttlery and plates), but great shower and perfect location which is the most important thing really especially if you are here for a short time. Every single hotel or b&b we looked at was double the price in this area! It also had a very nice roof terrace with a cool view, which obviously we never used as it rained the whole time!
In the evening it started raining and we were so knackered after the traveling and the busy past few days that we decided to have a delivery, great dim sums from a popular restaurant nearby called Ding Dim 1986. tasty dim sums, and so nice to eat at home for once!
In the morning it didn’t rain, we first had our DHL chore to sort out, to secure our flat in Milan and once sorted we then made our way to Kowloon through the famous Star Ferry which only costs 40p and has some fantastic views of the skyline on both sides Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. It was quite foggy but still quite spectacular. The ferry is very quick, only 10 minutes, and has a slight difference in price for the upper and lower deck. A very nice and quick way to get from the island to the mainland.
As we disembarked we got stopped by a group of school kids and helped them fill their questionnaire on tourism in Hong Kong and on the shopping habits of tourists. We wanted to visit the avenue of stars but we learnt from a cab driver that it is actually closed for three years for renovations. By then it was lunch time and we walked around Canton road until we found a mall called Silvercord where we knew we would find a place called Din Tai Fung, one michelin star of very fairly priced delicious chinese food. We spent £20 each, but were so happy and satisfied of our meal! We had wontong soup with prawn and pork dim sums, garlic spinach, fried dim sums and normal dim sums, and to end we had an amazing dessert bun with sesame paste which was just unforgettable. Strongly recommend to go here for lunch or dinner, it’s worth every penny!
After lunch we walked through Kowloon Park, saw some parrots and birds and turtles, and then we had a bit of fun at the Manga statues exhibition. As we walked around in the back streets behind Nathan Road we saw some crazy old school technology shops, some even more crazy medicine shops that sold weird stuff such as dried seahorses and dried lungs of God knows which creature… The chinese pharmacies are so scary. Then Brucey found a hairdresser and he really needed a haircut so I walked around by myself (finally some SILENCE!) while he was getting groomed.
After a bit more walking (over 15km we walked!) we were ready for a beer, and decided to try and go up the tallest tower in HK which is in Kowloon, on the 120th floor of the ICC (International Commercial Centre) is the highest bar in the world, called Ozone. All sits in the Ritz Carlton hotel. We were slightly underdressed for the environment with our trekking shoes and rain jacket, but we pretended to fit in and somehow they let us in. Once we got up all we could see was rain and fog, and very strong winds made it impossible to take a look outside on the terrace (which we probably wouldn’t have done anyway considering we are both terrified of hights!). We saw the menu and the beers were £15, not worth without a view! We then tried to go down at the 100th floor where there is another bar, but again no views.
We left the ICC tower without even being able to see it from the bottom up, as more than half of it was covered by fog! We asked at the Ritz Carlton a good place to see the lights show, that starts at 8pm and where all the skyscrapers have a show of their lights… They sent us to a bar called Aqua, (which is of the same league of the Ritz Cartlon) and was only on the 30th floor and is the sister bar of Aqua in London. We had a beer for £10 but at least got double free nibbles to make up for it as we drank really slowly.
We ended up going back to Hong Kong Island with the Star Ferry and got back in our area at about 10pm, starving and craving for some western food we ended up at a nice British pub called the Globe which has great pies and burgers and a huge selection of beers. Again beers are never cheaper than £7. Hong Kong is SO expensive!
We woke up a bit late (9am) and went to the History Museum in Kowloon at around 11am by MTR from Central to TST. The metro is pretty easy to use, huge and always busy. It’s about £1 per ride.
We stopped for a coffee (even coffees are very expensive, so we always ended up sharing a cappuccino in 2 for about £4) and then spotted a famous restaurant that a lot of people recommended called Spring Deer. It’s one of the oldest in HK apparently, and very famous for duck (which I am not a huge fan of, but I saw Brucey’s eyes melt when he saw it and I couldn’t take it away from him). We booked lunch at 13:30 and then had one hour and a half at the museum. It was raining most of the day so the museum was a life saver and there is so much to see that it can easily take a half day (definitely allow 3 hrs minimum).
Lunch was good but not mind blowing, and for me even worst since I actually thought I could eat it but I do really hate duck and couldn’t swallow more than 2 pancakes, while Brucey ended up having to eat 1 entire duck by himself (Its a tough life). After lunch we went back to the museum to finish our visit, and I was so hungry that I had to have a pineapple bun pastry (a specialty of Hong Kong which is very delicious. At about 5pm I could take no more history, so I went back home for a shower while Bruce stayed there for another hour being the usual slowest man on earth.
At 7pm we met Elaine, a friend of Hazel’s (Brucey’s lovely younger sister) who has been living here with her husband Rory for more than 12 years. We had dinner at Island Tang in Central which was very nice, with a great retro atmosphere – a bit like going back in the old Hong Kong that we learnt about in the museum during the day! Elaine and Rory were so nice, we had a great time with them and made the most of their knowledge of this fantastic city! After dinner they showed us some of the mid levels, and the elevators where it is much easier to walk around and get to different areas, and we then stopped at a lovely secret bar in Soho called Stella Leung which is not listed anywhere, and is members only on some days. It was really cool, again very vintage and stylish (everything is very stylish in Hong Kong!) and it’s not listed anywhere and it’s impossible to spot as it is in a window with a closed curtain. You’d have no idea there is a bar behind the curtain if you were just passing by! Great cocktails and great atmosphere. And again we had a lovely evening with Rory and Elaine, thanks again for showing us the real Hong Kong and giving us such a warm welcome!
At about 10pm they left and we decided to carry on for one more in a reggae bar, which then became more than one and we ended up coming back home tipsy and jolly at about 2am – of course under the rain!
We had a hungovery – lazy morning and only left the flat at lunch time, where we went at the Dragon-i in the Centrum Building very near our place. It was recommended by Rory and Elaine, and it was very tasty and a cool ambient as well. At night is a club, and during the day more of a restaurant. We had some amazing dim sums, with an all you can eat lunch menu which meant we spent about £22 each to eat like pigs (Dave French should visit). It was so tasty! After that we had a small place for dessert so we decided to go to the most famous Hong Kong bakery called Thai Cheong we had to try their famous egg tart and winter mellon pastry. Very good.
In the afternoon we walked to get the Peak Tram and went up the peak. Ready for the scenic walk, we had once again to give up due to the cold rain and strong winds. We had a sort of view from up there, even if a bit foggy, but we were glad that we got away without having to pay the extra for the scenic terrace since we found out that there is a free scenic view on the building next to it! Little satisfactions for us poor travellers 🙂 after lingering around the peak and the malls for a bit longer, we came down again before getting sucked in by the thick fog. The tram itself is an amazing experience SO STEEP! We learnt from Elaine that only the super rich can afford to live on the peak, and in fact we spotted some houses with a few Lamborghinis and Porches parked outside!
We got back and were quite tired and grumpy from the amount of rain, and also as we had to pack again and get ready to wake up at 5:30am tomorrow to go to the airport to go to Manila. To cheer me up from the grumpiness Brucey brought me to an Italian restaurant which I was in much much need for! We had a great pizza and pasta to share. Every Italian friend will laugh as in one meal you are only allowed to have either a pizza or a pasta, but I couldn’t decide which craving was most strong and urgent than the other and I couldn’t resist but have both at the same time… Extreme remedies for extreme situations! (a mali estremi, estremi rimedi)