After a stint in late November 2014 in Hong Kong, I went for another business trip in Dec. Right in the middle of Christmas festivities, it was a very nice time to go there. My flight was via Bangkok and I have to admit I was excited to fly on A380 (first time in that), as I do not get excited about ‘things’ anymore.
This trip of mine was a little longer than the last one spanning over a weekend and giving me ample time to explore Hong Kong. And explore I did.
Reaching in the middle of the festivities, there were lights, sounds of Christmas carols, and a whole lot of tourists battling to purchase almost everything. My hotel was the same, in TST giving me panoramic views of the HK skyline. Since my office was also there, I was pretty much in the area the whole time.
This gave me a lot of time to explore it during weeknights. Since, it is a tourist hotspot, I was in a good place to do ‘touristy’ things. I saw people trying out some not so regular cuisine. I did not give it a try since I wasn’t feeling that adventurous.
On the weekend, it was sunny and a perfect whether to have a stroll and have a look around. I started with Hullett House, which is a hotel and has a outdoor space where a lot of shops are situated and many people go there to click photos.
I did not have my DSLR camera with me 😦 . There was a bunch of school children singing Christmas carols and filling the air with festive mood. There were decorations all around. I saw a couple having their wedding photos taken. There were many people in a small area.
I moved on to the pier and the clock tower. This was the place where everyone goes for a panoramic view of the HK skyline. It was a sunny day and perfect for some good pictures. Since I was alone, I had to take some selfies (I do not particularly like them).
The pier was long and spacious, even after having a lot of people, you don’t feel crowded. A cool breeze was blowing and I walked along the pier. I passed the HK cultural centre, which was a simple but striking building with high walls and no glass.
I moved towards the ‘Avenue of Stars’, which is walk of fame styled pathway along the pier. All the famous asian movie stars have their palms and a star engraved.
I don’t not know many of them, but of course few. And then there was this famous statue of Bruce Lee right in the middle of the pathway, a centre of attraction for everyone.
A big crowd is always looming there to have their pics taken with Bruce. Well, I also had my pics taken 🙂 After spending some time in the area I returned to my hotel to have some rest before venturing out again to Mong Kok.
Mong Kok has a big ‘Ladies market’ (stalls styled shops run by ladies). This market had all that you need from souvenirs to electronics, from sports to utilities. A word of advice, always bargain. Mong Kok was not far from TST, few stops on the metro, however, I walked.
There were so many people on the streets, it reminded me of ‘Boxing Day’ on Oxford Street in London. Mong Kok had a lot many shopping malls too and they were all packed. As I said many tourists from China come to HK to buy things during this season. I roamed around different streets offering different things categorically.
There was a street for electronics, one for clothes, one for souvenirs and another for sports goods. Of course there were shops of electronics all around.
After experiencing this hustle and bustle of people, I needed some calm and peace. I decided to go to ‘The Peak’.
Victoria Peak, is the highest point in HK from where you can have a panoramic view of all of HK. It is a must go place, If you ever go to HK. I went around afternoon to experience it in the day and evening at the same time. I started from Kowloon to HK island on a metro and reached Central.
I walked the last few blocks to reach the place from where you can take the tram for the Victoria Peak. To my surprise, there was a long queue which would mean that I had to wait for at least 2 hours before I could get on the tram. I wasn’t prepared for a long queue and had to devise a new plan to reach on the top. I asked cab drivers to take me to the top but they all were charging 3 times the fare. I tried splitting the bills with two other tourists to share the cab, but that also didn’t work out. Finally, I thought there should be a bus for the peak. (I use to say that in London to my friends, ‘there is always a bus’). After searching for a while for a bus stop and finding about the bus, I found one. There was some time before the bus could arrive, so I went on to a nearby park and clicked some pics. And then, disaster struck. My phone was out of battery. I had no power backup or a charger. I decided to wait for a while and see if I could get the phone working again. Since my phone was the only option for me to take pics from the peak, it was really important that it started working again. I hoped that there would be some charging point on the peak for me to use. I hopped on to the bus when it arrived and I paid only HK$10. Quite a good deal, compared to HK$180 or so for the tram and HK$400 for a cab.
I reached the top after a quick 30 mins ride on the bus. The first thing I wanted to do was to see if the phone could switch on. Fortunately it did. And I could see the battery quite low on it. I needed to find a charging point. There was a shopping mall and I could find a charging point there. Hurray !!! I spent some 30 mins there to charge the phone. After getting some ‘juice’, I ventured out to the free area of the peak from where you can see the whole of HK.
There is a paid area as well, a little higher than the free one. But again there was a queue to enter and I had no intention to stand in that cold and windy evening. The ‘free’ area was good and gave a very nice view of the city. The view from the peak was amazing. It was very cold and the wind was blowing fast, but I have seen worse cold than that. I spent some time looking over HK and clicking some pics along. I regretted not having my DSLR with me at that time and had to manage with a mobile phone cam. Nevertheless, I managed to take few good shots. After eating some snack at the peak I returned to my bus stop and waited for a while to take back the bus down.
After reaching at the bottom, I walked around the central area and moved towards the pier.
I wanted to take the ferry back to Kowloon island so I went for the pier. Many people take the ferry daily to commute to and fro between Kowloon and HK. Since it was night and all the lights were shimmering, it was a magical atmosphere. Ferry was quite cheap, it took hardly 10 minutes to cross the channel and I could see all the lights lighting up the tall buildings.
Reaching to the Kowloon side on the Victoria Harbour, I went to the HK cultural centre. There was a Light & Sound show organised every evening during the Christmas time. I stayed there for that. The show was good with the cultural centre building used as a canvas to show the lights and lasers.
Following the show I returned to the hotel after having dinner. Next day would be another great day as I would go to see Tian Tan Buddha at Ngong Ping.