The transfer from the Airport at Chek Lap Kok gave me my first glimpse of Hong Kong, and its Skyline it was breathtaking! It was so busy and vibrant. Every spare inch that can be reclaimed from the sea has been built on and up! I have never seen so many sea containers, there were millions, proving that it is one of the busiest ports in the world.
We were staying at the The Kowloon Shangri-La, and as the doors were opened by white gloved uniformed porters, I knew it was going to be a grand stay! The splendour of the lobby and lounge area was echoed throughout the hotel. In my room at the touch of a button my curtains opened to reveal the magnificent view of Hong Kong.
After freshening up we caught the Peak Tram to Victoria Peak to photograph the famous panoramic view of the Harbour (the one on all the brochure covers!). After that we went to the Aberdeen fishing village on a sampan boat, past the Jumbo floating restaurant and crowded house boats with their colourful residents and equally colourful fish hanging up to dry! We even found the energy to go shopping at Stanley Market. If you hang on to your nerve when bargaining you can come away with some beautiful Chinese handicrafts, silks and souvenirs.
We went to Santa’s Town that evening and it felt very festive despite the heat.
I wrote my wish for a peaceful world this Christmas on a label and tied it on a tree in the wishing corner next to someone’s wish for a pet snake!
The next day we took the ferry to New Lantau Island. Disney has just opened here, but it was still quite peaceful and quiet. We enjoyed a warm dip in the South China Sea at Cheung Sha Beach on our way to Tai O Fishing Village. The many market stalls were selling fresh produce and fish and were full of the authentic smells and sounds of China. We travelled on to the Ngong Ping Plateau and the Giant Buddha Statue.
This is an awesome sight and the journey was by cable car at great heights. The vegetarian lunch at the Po Lin Monastery was a very sociable affair and preceded a walk up to Wisdom Park where the timber columns carved with Chinese symbols impart great knowledge.
By now we were getting into the Chinese culture so early next morning we practiced some Tai Chi on the harbour front. This is ritualistic slow motion shadow boxing and although it looks very gentle it is an excellent way of keeping fit. We also had some instruction in the art of Feng Shui and a visit to a tea house for a demonstration of traditional tea making and tea drinking etiquette. Then, a very grand lunch at a local Chinese restaurant.
That evening we walked along the ‘Hollywood style’ Avenue of Stars, I only recognised two people Charlie Chan and Bruce Lee! At eight o’clock we watched the Symphony of Lights. Every night the harbour comes alive, like a spectacular firework display of coloured lights and laser beams performing a synchronised show to music.
Not tired at all we just had to visit Temple Street Night Market – no one was ready for bed there either!
Soon my weekend was coming to an end, but with one day left I took the Star Ferry to the shops on Hong Kong Island. This is where to find bazaars, factory outlets, and shopping malls and everything from antiques to cheap clothes with famous brand names!
All shopped out we made our way back to the airport on the new rail link – fast, efficient and very convenient.
It was a flying visit but a fun filled, culture crammed, shopaholic, gastronomic delight – the perfect trip to “Discover Hong Kong”!