Our last stop before heading to Auckland was Hong Kong. It would have been great to spend a bit longer here, but this is what we did in the 2 days we had.
Although the post includes some tips, it is by no means an attempt at a guide on how to see the most of the city as, at the end of a fortnight in China, we spent portions of time wandering aimlessly…
We stayed in Aberdeen, a harbour area on the south of the island, in the newest addition to the city’s Ovolo hotel chain. We had a very comfortable room with plenty of perks, including a free mini bar, a ‘loot bag’ of sweets and complimentary drinks & snacks during happy hour every evening. I also particularly liked the bathroom, which had rain shower in a (frosted!) corner window overlooking the city and all the toiletries you could need.
On our first day we headed for city’s tour bus to get a feel of the main areas and sights (best way to see a new city?!). They have 3 routes; we managed the tours of HK island and Stanley & Aberdeen but didn’t have time for the one on Kowloon across the harbour.
We hopped off the bus in Causeway Bay to see the Noon Day Gun: a cannon which is still fired every day at 12. ‘The one-gun salute tradition is said to have started when a Royal Naval Officer who was new to Hong Kong became annoyed at the tendency of Jardine employees to fire off a gunshot when the head of the company sailed into port – gun salutes being reserved for military commanders only. As punishment, Jardine were required to fire a one-shot salute every day at noon’ (HK tourism board).
We waited for 20 mins, but here is my amateur video of the last minute of tension.
It was interesting to hear through the headphones about the island’s history: the Japanese invasion (1941-45); the opium war (1839-42), which led to years of British rule and the hand over back to China in 1997. This colourful history has led to a strange mix of influences, and contrasts – the most stark being a commercial financial centre just off mainland communist China.
The scale of the buildings is phenomenal and probably the best way to appreciate the city’s expansive skyline is from the top of the Peak. We got the peak tram at approx 4pm in the afternoon when the crowds had died down, but we still queued for about half an hour at this hot tourism spot. There is a multi-story mall at the summit with restaurants, shops and Madam Tussauds. We were hoping to see the sunset but after an overcast day, it was less spectacular than I imagine it could be.
The following day we took the Star Ferry across the harbour to Kowloon for a walk around the streets and park – this is where a lot of our aimless wandering took place!
Back on HK island, we appreciated the captivating views from the Avenue of Stars for Eastern film stars.
On the tour bus we went past the suburb of Stanley, famous for its market and the misleadingly named ‘Repulse Bay’ with a beautiful beach. If we’d had another day, I would have liked to spend it here.
- We got a great deal on the Ovolo booking through Agoda approx £75 for 2 nights for a deluxe sea (/harbour) view room.
- The Big Bus day tour cost $49 for 24 hrs, including lots of extras such as the ferry to Kowloon, the Peak tram ticket and a Sampan ride in Aberdeen. They also offer a 48 hrs ticket (which in retrospect we should have bought) and you can get a discount if you book online.