A Travellerspoint blog

香港 Hong Kong

Fun at 'The Fragrant Harbour' (6-9 August 2008)

rain 32 °C

True to everything we read before we left, Hong Kong is a city of contrasts in many ways...the colourful night markets, electronic shops and shabby high-rises of Kowloon compete with the sleek architecture of the buildings on Hong Kong Island (which we'd admired in Batman: The Dark Knight, only a week before!), from which the Symphony of Lights show is projected every evening. One minute we were enticed by the smell of dim sum, the next we were trying to escape the odour of dried fish wafting from shop fronts and stalls (particularly unattractive the morning after a 3.30am karaoke session!). There's the choice of eating a great meal for $57 (£4.00) in a local canteen, or dining in style at one of the many five star hotels (we chose the former!), and pizza, burgers and lasagne are as readily available as noodles and dumplings. Even when shopping, Zara and Mango sit comfortable alongside Versace and Chanel in the huge air-conditioned malls.

The one constant is the warmth and friendliness of the locals. From hotel staff to 'missy missy, rolex rolex' market stall holders (and yes, I did buy a rolex!) to taxi drivers, everyone is polite, smiling and chatty. We never once felt that language was a barrier...while we were crossing the street, or walking through the market, women would stop Ruth to chat about her english rose skin (there seems to be a huge michael jackson-esque obsession with skin whitening creams) and her tattoo!

While Hong Kong is westernised enough to make transport, reading menus, shopping and asking for directions incredibly easy, chinese culture and traditions are still present, and this is what makes it such a fascinating place. I wish we'd had more time to enjoy some of the more traditional experiences, but even after 2 days, we absolutely loved it and can't wait to go back!

Our highlights were:
Avenue of the Stars / Symphony of Lights (Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade)
Very exciting if you know your Hong Kong film legends, equally as exciting if you only know Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. As well as the Hollywood-style hand imprints, there are lots of other photo opportunities along the avenue, making this one of the funniest days out I've had in ages. This is also where you watch the light show from. Ruth started the crowd 'ooh-ing' and 'aah-ing' like a Sefton park firework show! Not to be missed...I wish we could have gone on both nights!

The Peak (Hong Kong Island's highest point)
What we expected: a scary, steep ascent on the Peak tram, magnificent views, one or two places to have some lunch.
What we got: a scary, steep ascent on the Peak tram, blinding mist, dozens of amazing restaurants, 2 shopping malls, Madame Tussauds and a virtual gaming zone!
Although we were pre-warned about the mist, we went up anyway and had a brilliant day out. When the mist cleared every now and then, the views were fantastic and we had a gorgeous lunch with cocktails at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.

'Eat All You Want' Afternoon Tea at The Four Seasons Hotel
That pretty much says it all, but I must stress that it was SO delicious! The quality of the food was unbelievable. If we hadn't had to leave for the airport, I might still be there now eating tiny, sweet portions of devils food cake and Pear Belle-Hélène.

The Eaton Hotel (Nathan Road, Kowloon)
Our favourite thing about our hotel was access to the exclusive E-Club. We arrived a little too early for check in, but found scrabble and cakes to keep us occupied while we waited! As well as serving a huge complimentary breakfast every morning, tea, coffee, petits fours and macaroons were available all afternoon, with champagne and hors d'oeuvres (grilled tuna skewers, spring rolls) served every evening from 5-7pm. Unfortunately the rain was too heavy to use the open-top swimming pool, and we didn't have time to use the gym, but the rooms here were so affordable, and the beds so comfy that I will definitely be going back!

Other highlights included giant posters of Michael Owen advertising Tissoti watches, cheap cosmetics and perfume, an abundance of bizarre yellow-gold jewellery, a woman haggling furiously over a hideous donald duck t-shirt, finally finding bubble tea hours before leaving, the IFC mall rooftop bar, the Amigos Par Siempre divas in the karaoke bar, Ned Kelly's (an Australian bar where we sang along to a geordie playing dixieland jazz with a chinese band!), arriving just after the Typhoon and sticking exactly to our budget!

Go to Hong Kong if you can...it's amazing!

Posted by kpod30 19:03 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Please hold caller...

View The Amazing Australian Adventure! on kpod30's travel map.

I promise we're not forgetting to blog! We're just taking a week to organise ourselves here, and as soon as we're settled the blogging will commence! x

Posted by kpod30 01:23 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Things I will miss

While I'm away...

My family
My friends
Pub quizzes at Marantos/Richmond Tavern/Dovedale Towers
X Factor (especially Louis exclaiming "YE ARE IN MOY TOP FIVE!"
The Mathew Street Festival
Running round Sefton Park
Scott Mills
The Blue Angel
Lark Lane
Take That - if they tour
Cycling along the prom
Book Club
I'm a Celebrity, Get me out of Here
The second phase of Liverpool 1
Listening to Shakin' Stevens when snow *is* falling all around me...rather than having Christmas in the sun
Singing in the Christmas Concert at the Phil (again)
The Jacaranda
Free cinema tickets from Heat
The new programme where Z-list celebs are airline staff
Seeing Elton John/Steve Coogan/Stevie Wonder/Tina Turner

Hmm, that's all for now, but I'm sure I've missed some very obvious/important things!

Posted by ruthwo 10:13 Comments (0)

Lists Lists Lists

How do I love them? Let me list the ways...

I am currently managing the following lists:

-important things to do before we leave
-important things to do when we arrive
-Hong Kong wishlist (Film Archive, Saint's Alp Teahouse)
-hand luggage essentials
-liquids in volumes of less than 100ml (lavender sleep spray, Molton Brown Eye Rescue)
-people to see before I leave
-final to-do list for my film night
-shoes that must stay behind
-top ten people I'd like to meet at the Neighbours quiz night (Riley, Ned, any Kennedy, Harold)
-list of things I could sell to be able to afford ebay ticket prices to see David Tennant in Hamlet
-films to watch on the plane (yes Ruth, the August list is up!)

and not forgetting of course the list of quotes about lists by people with the surname Lopez:

"It's getting to the point I can't keep up. I hate to turn people away, so when they ask, I just tell them I'm putting them on the list."
Mario Lopez

"There are certain people that are marked for death. I have my little list of those that treated me unfairly."
Jennifer Lopez


Posted by kpod30 07:42 Comments (0)



The trip is now all booked, with a couple of minor changes (Hong Kong instead of Japan), and now I've got to seriously get down to planning what I need to do before I go...although I'm not getting much further than looking at 5 star hotels and street markets in Hong Kong and trying to find out which actors will be appearing at the Neighbours Trivia Night the first Monday I get to Melbourne!

Oh, and I've also found time to try and check out the Qantas inflight entertainment and menu, but it only goes up to July at the mo - bah!

Ruth :-)

Posted by ruthwo 09:33 Comments (0)

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