Last March, our family spent Spring Break in China. We were wondering what to do in Hong Kong so my husband did his research and organised our tour.
Crowded Hong Kong! There is excitement in being a part of the passing flash of colour in the ever-changing sea of people crowding the streets. It’s a delicious melding of office workers, locals out for the day and tourists with necks craning to take it all in. Exotic smells of spices and sizzling meat waft out of cafe doorways. A repairman climbs up lashed bamboo scaffolding. An older man lounges around in his pyjamas (I swear!). It was the perfect experience.
Armed with the list of what to do in Hong Kong that my brilliant husband compiled, off we go!
What to do in Hong Kong: Go to Victoria Peak
We ride the Star Ferry out to Victoria Peak. It has been cloudy all week, so a big burst of radiant sunshine on happy faces gives us a much-needed shot of vitamin D as the ferry steadily churns water across Victoria Harbor. Views of the coastline are amazing, especially from the top deck. Victoria Peak is best seen on a clear day. Many prefer a romantic view of twinkling city lights, but we don’t want to worry that clouds will drift in at dusk and obscure the glittering night scene below. People in the long line that snake around the tram depot tell us they have been waiting 45 minutes and are not even near the front of the line. There are just two Victoria Peak trams on one looping track. We decide to grab a cab up. Cabs are reasonable, and afterwards, it will be much easier to catch a tram for that steep ride down. On the way to the observation deck, we browse through several small floors of colourful shops with various price ranges of good and “meh” types of souvenirs. At the top, a stunning 360° view greets us, as far as the eye can see! Gentle breezes under the sunny sky nudge us. Hong Kong is beautifully laid out – a miniature city by the sea, nestled between lush green mountainsides dotted with the residences of those blessed to be able to take a daily drink of fabulous views.
What to do in Hong Kong: Visit a museum
The Hong Kong Museum of History takes us on a journey that chronicles the wonders and tragedies of China. There were tales of glorious dynasties, ancient relics, beautiful works of art and thousands of things to see and learn. However, the most eye-opening exhibit to this American born Chinese was the turbulent periods of China’s Opium Wars with the British Empire and the resulting “Unequal Treaties” with other nations. Reading about it is one thing. But, viewing old pictures and paintings and poring over detailed accounts during that time really touched me. That epoch is considered to be the start of China’s “Century of Humiliation”…
What to do in Hong Kong: Walking through the market
We check out some of the nicer shopping malls, but they’re the same everywhere. More intriguing are names like “Night Market”, “Ladies Market” and “Sneaker Street”. There are many markets. We walk through several of them. After a while, they all run together with rows and rows of stalls going up and across several streets. People jostle by stalls packed top to bottom with all sorts of merchandise. Our kids go from booth to booth, comparing prices, trying to bluff the seasoned vendors. There is an exciting vibe at night as strings of lights guide bustling visitors and locals through the maze. People sit at tables and chairs by the lights on the outskirts as dishes of savoury delicacies are brought out. A wonderful aroma lingers in the air as we walk by.
What to do in Hong Kong: Eating
Dim Sum at Super Star Seafood Restaurant in Times Square, Causeway Bay was lovely. A friend insisted we join him for dim sum. The dishes he ordered were excellent! So many tasty dishes that we had never had before!
Exploring eateries is so much fun! A friend took us to a well-known multi-story roast goose restaurant. Another local promised us that there is a better one in the New Territories outside HK. We have to wander a bit further to find the restaurant around the side of the first building. There is no fancy dining room. But, judging by the families and busy wait staff, it is a local favourite. This restaurant had tissue packets with their logo on them, and the roast duck IS better!
What to do in Hong Kong: Visit temples
Chi Lin Nunnery is a peaceful oasis of quiet reflection in Diamond Hill, on the Kowloon side. It isn’t on the top of the list, but it is wonderful to slow down and take in a calm pace. It, unfortunately, was rebuilt in 1990. Still, one can wander through the serene gardens with a backdrop of soaring skyscrapers. There is a little shop for refreshments and delicious chocolate-covered truffles!
On a misty wet night, we pop open the handy 7-Eleven umbrellas we picked up the first day and make our way to the Avenue of Stars promenade. From there, we can view the nightly show of the Symphony of Lights. As we wander along the Victoria Harbour waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui, many more hardy souls begin to appear. Music plays, and light bounces off buildings up and down both sides of the harbour. Unfortunately, there were probably no fireworks due to the light rain. It is a nightly show, but it’s not something to see again. After the show, we enjoy a walk down the Avenue of Stars.
I only mention the Central-Mid-Levels escalators because my dear sweet husband cheerfully put me through that l-o-n-g, l-o-n-g, torturous ordeal. Guinness World Records lists it as the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator system. It’s a series of escalators with some moving sidewalks thrown in.
After a week, my husband and I continued to Taiwan for a one-week tour. Until next time…!