B and I just got back* from a fabulous, amazing, incredible vacation in Asia. Neither he nor I had been to Asia before and had started planning a trip to Vietnam (plus surrounding areas) earlier last year. Well – we finally booked it and started our trip out east in Hong Kong over the holidays.
We had four full days in Hong Kong and the city did NOT disappoint. From the moment we got off the plane I could feel the excitement (We’re in ASIA! I whispered probably too loud to B) and when the Airport Express train went above ground and the blue sky, blue water and SO MANY tremendously large and wild looking buildings came into sight I was pumped.
Some highlights from the trip:
The food (for the most part):
Because our hotel package came with a pretty good free breakfast (western, european AND hong kong style – congee), we didn’t end up going out for breakfast or dim sum during our time in Hong Kong. We did, however, have some other great meals including awesome dumplings (my favorite!), fresh duck, tons of soups and noodles and some pretty interesting meals as well (including a few places where we pointed to pictures on the wall because the menu was not in English). B did end up getting food poisoning on our last night – but we had eaten the same food all day long so I’m not sure what did him in.
Spending a day in Kowloon
Kowloon is another island that’s part of Hong Kong. I really loved Kowloon! The island was bumping, crowded, energizing, etc. To get there, we took the Star Ferry across the harbor and spent pretty much the whole day there. While there we checked out the bird market (so many birds just flying around and in cages!), flower market, the local parks, the jade markets (and did some bargaining), the Promenade, the Avenue of the Stars and more.
Viewing the city from the top of Victoria Peak
B and I took the tram up to Victoria Peak on our first full day in Hong Kong and it was a great way to start off our trip. We walked to the tram station from our hotel (about a 40 min walk) and got a great view of the entire city (and it was so clear out!) during the walk and from our viewpoint atop the mountain. At the top, there are also self guided tours you can take that point out what you’re seeing in the distance – again, great way to start the trip and get our bearings.
Day Trips – Stanley and Aberdeen and the Big Buddha!
We spent most of our time in the central main district and in the western part of Hong Kong (where we were staying) so on our last full day there we decided to take the public transportation system to other parts of the island, including Stanley and Aberdeen. Aberdeen used to be a fishing district and it was cool to see the people still fishing (and then filleting) their meal. Stanley is a gorgeous beach town with upscale shops, touristy areas, a market and a few beaches for locals and tourists to enjoy. Both cities offered a different view than we had witnessed during our stay in the other parts of the island and on Kowloon.
Another day we trekked to yet another island, Lantau Island, to the top of a hill to find the Po Lin Monastery, famous for its Big Buddha. The monastery and some temples sit on top of a large mountain with great views of the surrounding areas, a temple with many gold Buddhas and more and of course- the Big Buddha.
The light show at night on the harbor
Each night, there is a light show over the waterfront between Kowloon and Hong Kong. It’s not like anything I had ever seen before – it’s lights (not fireworks, as I at first thought), lasers, and the buildings are also all lit up. Because it was the holidays the buildings were all lit up with “Merry Christmas” and “Happy New Year” – something I had not expected to see while in Hong Kong!
What a great way to kick off our Asia trip. Despite B’s sickness, we had a great time. I really enjoyed the metropolitan feel for Hong Kong, the gorgeous and really cool architecture, how efficient everything was, how easy it was to take the busses and train everywhere, and how walkable the city was.
Some questions for you:
- Have you ever been to Asia?
- What’s your favorite type of Chinese food? Least favorite? I tend to like spicy dishes or dumplings. Least favorite? Anything with rice or sweet and sour chicken.
Coming up next – some recaps on the rest of our trip – Vietnam, Cambodia and Macau!
*full disclosure – while you’re reading this, if travel plans work out right, I may be in an airplane flying above you – I was able to write this post while abroad!