We began the last leg of Melladora's epic Asia trip in Hong Kong (Tokyo->Okinawa->Hong Kong), a short 2.5 hr flight away. Hong Kong (香港 Heūng Góng in Cantonese, meaning Fragrant Harbour) is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China. It's vibrant; it's fast-paced; a mix of "east meets west" with a beautiful skyline as it's backdrop. The city has multiple personalities with it's history under British colonization for 150 years (given back to China in 1997) and also being part of China, proudly proclaiming itself to be Asia's World City. After a quick taxi ride from the airport, we checked into the Holiday Inn on Hong Kong island. Famished, we enjoyed happy hour and a nice Thai dinner at our hotel.
After dinner, we headed to an awesome hidden speakeasy located in downtown Hong Kong, FoxGlove. I first read about it from a friend's facebook article here. It sounded awesome and I couldn't wait to check it out ourselves. Basically, it's a British spy themed bar hidden in a high end umbrella shop. #lastnameBond Different rooms throughout the bar are styled like the inside of train cars (dining cars, etc). The bar did not disappoint! Cocktails were a bit pricey but they were high end, classy, and yummy. Nate did attempt to access the secret VIP room as well but unfortunately it's reserved for celebrities and such, and I guess we didn't pass for them even though our last name is Bond..... #disappointed Still a fun experience though - recommend checking this spot out to anyone who does a few days in Hong Kong
After a few cocktails at Foxglove, we headed across the street to a hotel and had a few drinks in their lobby bar.
On the way back to our hotel, we spotted a Greens Dart Bar - one of Nate's favorite pastimes. So we played a few rounds before calling it a night :)
The next morning, we started our day by heading over to the Ladies Market. This market originally got it's name from the large amount of clothing and accessories on sale for women, but it has all types of trinkets to buy. It's a 1 km stretch of Tung Choi Street with over 100 stalls for locals and tourists to practice their haggling skills - which Nate, Mel and I gladly participated in :) Mel was able to get herself some sunglasses and a nice rolling backpack, and I got a purse, iPhone lenses, and sunglasses.
Next stop, the Jade market. In Chinese, the character for jade is a combination of the words for beauty and purity. Jade has also been associated with long life and good health in Chinese culture, making it a prized material for good-luck charms. Naturally, we had to pick up some! I found a nice jade bracelet and earrings, while Nate found some good jade stones (he loves his gems), and Mel got a few jade rings. #bargain #goodluckcharms
Satisfied, we headed off to continue our exploration of this exciting city.
Anyone who knows me, knows my love for all things Anthony Bourdain. So naturally, I had to watch some of his shows on Hong Kong to properly research this beautiful city. In following his Layover Hong Kong episode, we definitely found a few great spots to check out and follow in his footsteps. #Anthonybourdainlover #thankyouforallyoudo
First stop: Tim Ho Wan - known as the world's cheapest Michelin star restaurant. They serve dim sum and lots and lots of delicious dumplings. #mmmmm
Satisfied and full of yummy dumplings, we took another page out of Mr. Bourdain's book and headed over to Hui Lau Shan, a popular chain restaurant that specializes in mango desserts and smoothies. Perfect afternoon treat for the humidity.
After our eventful day exploring the city, we got ready for our night time adventures. We booked a cruise on Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour so we could have the best view for the Symphony of Lights, which is a daily light/laser and sound show that Hong Kong puts on the skyscrapers around the harbor. 47 different buildings participate in this show and it's the world's largest permanent light and sound show according to Guinness World Records. We hopped on our boat from the Central Pier on Hong Kong island and got ready to enjoy the unlimited drinks while on the water :) #challengeaccepted
After our fun night cruise around the bay, we wanted to fit in one more Anthony Bourdain stop to satisfy some late night cravings - Joy Hing - a tiny family-owned restaurant that serves traditional Cantonese cuisine. We followed in Tony's footsteps and had a trio of roasted meats: suckling pig, pork and goose, seeing if they lived up to Tony's claim of the "undisputed champion of roasted stuff."
For our last day in Hong Kong, we booked a tour to Lantau Island. Our tour started with taking the ferry from Hong Kong island over to Lantau.
Once on Lantau, we hopped on a bus and headed to Cheung Sha Beach, one of Hong Kong's longest beaches stretching 2km.
From there, we headed to Tai O fishing village. This village is home to the Tanka people, who are fishermen who've built their houses on stilts above the tidal flats on Lantau Island for generations. These unique houses are located very closely together, forming a tightly knit community standing above the water. It was fascinating to walk around and take in the views around the village.
For our last stop of the day, we headed to the famous Tian Tan Buddha at Po Lin Monastery, the largest seated, outdoor bronze Buddha on earth standing at 111 ft (34 m) tall. This Buddha symbolizes the harmonious relationship between man and nature, people and faith and is one of the few Buddhas facing north since many face south. The Buddha's right hand is raised, representing the removal of affliction, while the left rests open on his lap in a gesture of generosity, delivering a blessing to all. Surrounding the Tian Tan Buddha are the "Offering of the Six Devas" that are posed offering flowers, incense, lamp, ointment, fruit, and music to the Buddha which symbolize the Six Perfections of generosity, morality, patience, zeal, meditation, and wisdom, all of which are necessary for enlightenment. #gettineducated The day we were there, it was extra foggy, but it made the atmosphere more mysterious and surreal with the mist slowly gliding past the Buddha.
We climbed the 268 steps to the bottom of the statue, while the mist circled around us. Opposite the statue, the Po Lin Monastery sits and is one of Hong Kong’s most important Buddhist sanctums, dubbed ‘the Buddhist World in the South’. One of the many interesting things we got to experience was this circle on the ground directly opposite the Big Buddha. If you stand directly in the center and say something, it echoes inside of you; you can actually hear a faint echo (but no one else around you can). We tested it out, and it actually worked and one of the few spots in the world where this actually happens. Many people use this spot to face the Buddha and offer a prayer.
After enjoying a yummy vegetarian lunch at the Po Lin Monastery, we walked along the Wisdom Path to the Ngong Ping 260 sky rail cable. The beginning of our ride, we were completely surrounded by the fog - giving us the eerie feeling of floating through the clouds. About half way through the 25 minute ride, the clouds cleared and we were rewarded with panoramic views of the South China Sea, and Hong Kong in all it's glory.
To finish off our Hong Kong adventure and trip with one of our besties, we took Mel to go try peking duck at the Peking Garden Restaurant. She enjoyed it - although I have to say the peking duck we had in Beijing was better... still pretty good though!
Check out the cool video below on how the Chinese make their delicious homemade noodles for their yummy soups - this is what we sat next to at the hole in the wall restaurant in Shanghai where we had one of our favorite meals of our China trip!
Unfortunately, the next morning our exciting trip with Melladora came to an end, and she had to head back to San Diego while Nate and I headed back to Okinawa :( It was such a great trip filled with priceless memories that I will forever cherish :) Couldn't have done it without my great friend and amazing hubby by my side!
Until next time folks!
Follow in our footsteps below:
Holiday Inn Express Hong Kong Soho
83 Jervois St, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong
+852 3417 8888
All in all, nice hotel. Room was clean and comfy, good restaurant located onsite, and it was easy to walk to public transportation (only about 3 blocks)
Printing House, 2/F, 6 Duddell St, Central, Hong Kong
+852 2116 8949
Hours: 5PM -1AM, 5PM - 3AM Friday and Saturday, closed Sundays
Website, Facebook - msg for reservations
Tim Ho Wan (world's cheapest Michelin star restaurant)
18 Hoi Ting Road
Hong Kong, China
Hours: 10am - 9:30pm
Hui Lau Shan
Victoria Harbour Night Cruise - booked on viator here
Joy Hing (delicious grilled meat)
267 Hennessy Road
Hong Kong, Hong Kong Island 2519 6639
+852 2519 6639
Hours: 9:30am - 10pm, closed Sundays
Lantau Island tour - booked on viator here
Peking Garden Restaurant
Alexandra Shopping Arcade, 5-17 Ice House St,
Central, Hong Kong
+852 2526 6456
Hours: 11:30am - 3pm, 6pm - 11:30pm
Megan Bond - AUTHOR
Just a girl raised in California and loved exploring Southeast Asia with my husband! We're back in the States but still exploring the world as much as we can!