21st Sept to 23rd Sept 2014
Off the ferry and joined the immigration queue, no stamp in passport again, just another piece of paper. Didn't know how far the hotel was so jumped in a taxi from the ferry terminal. Turned out our hotel the Island Pacific was less that a kilometre away but with our backpacks it was good we got a taxi. Our room for the next 4 nights was on the 21st floor, with a corner window from floor to ceiling, so we had amazing views across the water and across the city. It was quite some height when you looked straight down! Shannon had read on trip advisor that everyone had recommend upgrading their room for a sea view, we had inquired but it was quite a bit more, so we were really lucky to have got an amazing view anyway!
The Hong Kong Dollar is something like $100 is around £8. Take off the zero and then take off a few more, that's how I worked it out anyway.
We asked where was good to eat and the receptionist recommend just one block away, we found a good restaurant and I immediately picked the sweet and sour chicken, although it wasn't named 'Hong Kong style' as we are in Hong Kong!!! It was really good. This is always my chosen dish when we get a takeaway at home, so I was in my element having sweet and sour chicken Hong Kong style in Hong Kong!! Shannon had beef steak curry and the curry sauce was really tasty. Still only using chopsticks when they are provided, and we have improved so much since we first attempted to use them.
I had decided I wanted a massage in every country we visit, so we headed to a massage place and Shannon said he would have one too. Although it was only to be his second ever massage. We had one in Thailand last time and they hurt us so much we both wanted to ask them to stop and Shannon was put off after that experience. And now he's even more put off- we both had a 15 minute back and neck massage followed by a 45 minute foot massage. It was up a flight of stairs in a small room, the lady phoned -we presume her friend to come and help out, she looked like she was on her way out for the night, cleavage out and short dress, Shannon would be in for a treat. I had the granny. They both liked giving pain- they started with the neck massage and I thought my lady was trying to kill me, then they used their boney knuckles to pound our feet before smacking our legs with their fists. I was tensing my body so much that I thought another neck massage would actually help. We kept looking at each and signalling with our eyes, making sure each other was okay, we weren't okay. And they only had done one foot- we had to go through the same pain again! We were glad to be out of their, and it did actually feel quite good and relaxed afterwards, or maybe we were just relieved! However by the time we had got in our hotel room and Shannon had skyped home, my thigh and bum started to seize up and I was in pain, I think I must've been tensing so much when I should have been relaxing. By the morning the pain was gone. And it was nice to see Shan's mum and dad and little Evie and Flyn.
After skyping home we went to the hotel bar and watched the Arsenal game while chilling out with a beer. The barman asked Shannon in good English about football and said it's a big thing in Hong Kong. It was really nice to have people fully understand the English language, and we found that everyone we met in Hong Kong was very good at English. We also found the people friendlier and also Hong Kong to be a safe place. I even went to 7 11 on my own one day (although Shan did watch me go from our room, and took some photos of me all the way from the 21st floor).
The next day with the pain in my leg from the massage gone we headed to Nan Lian Gardens and the connected Chi Lin Nunnery. We took a 10 minute walk to Shueng Wan MTR station, changed at Admiralty then Mong Kok and got off at Diamond Hill. The trains on the metro come every few minutes and it's very cheap to travel, so a few changes but no hassle at all. Nan Lian Gardens were stunning it was peaceful and tranquil with lotus ponds, gardens and rockery with exotic plants and trees and ponds with huge colourful fish. Yet if you looked up you were reminded where you were- the city bustled around just outside, with tower blocks emerging from the trees. The main attraction of the gardens was the pagoda- but surprise surprise it was under bamboo scaffolding!
We took the metro to Tsim Sha Tsui and we were in the shopping area. Shannon had been wanting and needing a shaver (seeing as I must've left his behind in Guernsey). We had looked in Macau and they were overpriced with no chance of haggling. We seen some that was expensive too but kept going in the little shops to try our luck- when one shop offered it half price without asking, we still haggled another little bit off and it was sold.
We then wandered to the Kowloon harbour front, where we soaked up the amazing view in front of us. We were looking at the skyline and spotted where our hotel was back across the Victoria Harbour. A cruise ship was departing and I got excited because my friend Emma is coming to Hong on a cruise next year, and thought it would be a lovely port to sail in to.
After admiring the views we took the famous Star Ferry back to Central. Then we walked the 1km back towards to the hotel, on the way we were greeted with the strong smell of fish- all the shops were selling dried fish, dried octopus and even dried lizard. Other shops had gutted fish hanging up, I assume to dry out. We decided to go back to the same restaurant as last night as it was handy and the food really good. Shannon chose prawn noodles and I had.... Sweet and sour chicken Hong Kong style!
I've skyped home a few times now (dad says I've skyped more here than I did in Guernsey) but it was Sunday and I wanted to see my Gran too. She told me she had got a fright when she heard on the news about the British guy and girl that had been found murdered in Thailand last week, she had to ask my Papa where we were to be sure it wasn't us. It is such a sad and scary story about those people, and I hate to think that our families worry about us, but it is a big world out here, that's why me and Shannon just enjoy everything we possibly can.
The next day we woke up very excited as we were off to 'Ocean Park', Hong Kong's theme park. We had read about it and wanted to go, then I was reading a blog by a couple from Jersey and got chatting to them and they recommended it. So we walked to Shuen Wan metro station and went to Admiral station. When we got out the station there was official touts selling discounted tickets, so we bought them and then jumped on the bus 629 to the park. The tickets were $300 each, saving us $40.
Half an hour journey on the bus and we arrived at Ocean Park. The park is actually rather large and is divided in sections so it's easy to cover it all, it's also separated by a mountain. First we went into the aquarium and see fish and got to touch a sea cucumber which was surprisingly very soft. Then we went to see the monkeys and the pandas. I was very excited about the pandas, as although we have seen them before at other zoo's this time we were in China where the panda is from! We got us close to one and it was so cute and huge. We also seen the cute little furry red panda.
We took the Ocean Express train which was designed like a submarine through to the other mountain. The park also has a cable car but we heard it is always out of order, and it was today too but the train was cool anyway. We then went on lots of rides and rollercoasters and log flames and river rapids. We got soaked on the rapids, so once we were finished and had walked through the rainforest and seen spiders,frogs and other creepies, we ended up on a bridge above the rapids, so we got the chance to shoot water pistols at the people on the rapids it was so much fun, Shannon was in his element soaking people, whilst I sweetly smiled and waved down at them. We also seen sharks, seals, sea lions and watched a dolphin show. We managed to fit everything in but wished we had left earlier as we left when the park was closing and it was a nightmare as there was a massive gimongous queue over 2000+ people trying to get on the train back to the entrance! we queued for an hour and were pushed around, got skipped in the queue and jumped the queue ourselves it was bedlam. Only bad thing about the day, as we had so much fun otherwise!
There was surprisingly not much of a queue for the bus and got on the first one that arrived. It was getting on in the evening now and we didn't know if we should try make the light show or wait until tomorrow. The light show was on our side of the water, so we pondered it before walking for a good few kilometres and ended up at the ferry terminal so we jumped on the Star Ferry and headed over to Kowloon, the light show started and we got a good view from the boat, the buildings had lights on them and a few had lasers. We got to the vantage point and seen a minute of the show before it ended. It was only on for 10 minutes from 2000. There was meant to be music to accompany it so maybe if we'd heard that but to us it wasn't anything special, and it had been so hyped up. Maybe we are spoiled but we watched an amazing light show whilst we were living in Brisbane so maybe nothing will compare.
Took the ferry back across and went in search of dinner, but we couldn't see anything and now it was late, so believe it or not we we ended back in the same restaurant again!! And please don't judge me but I had..... Sweet and sour chicken Hong Kong style!!!!
Next morning we dropped our laundry off at a laundrette and yes it did look like a Chinese Laundry. Mum used to always say that about my bedroom! We were to pick it up later. All our clothes cost around £6 which was really good!
It was our last full day in HK and it was boiling hot and sunny so we decided to have a lazy day and went to the hotels open aired swimming pool. We kept cool in the pool before catching some much needed sun to tan our white bodies.
At night we took the Peak Tram to Victoria Peak, we thought it was a normal tram like the ones going through the city but this was a special one costing us, including the 360 degree vantage point around £14 for up both of us. The tram went up the side of the mountain at a 27 degree angle which felt a lot more steep at some points- on the way back down a boy was standing up and gripping on for dear life. At the vantage point we viewed the city skyline from high above, we could see from HK across Victoria Harbour and across Kowloon, it was dark and the lights of the buildings all glistening. It was jam packed though and we had to wait behind people until they got their hot and moved on which was a pain, but then we realised that over to the left you could see the same view just further along and hardly anyone was there so had lots of space to admire the breathtaking view.
Caught a taxi once back on flat ground as the laundrette was closing soon, when we arrived we realised we never had our receipt so we ran to the hotel up 21 floors and back down again. Got our big bag of clean laundry and once again dodged the 'mystery wetness'. We can only hope and assume that when we constantly got a spray or droplets of water on us from above that it was from air conditioning units. But it was funny when it hit us and we'd say to each other watch out for the mystery wetness.
Last morning in HK and we got up and packed, we felt like we had been here a long time (4 days, 4 nights) so it was a lot to pack and sort out.
We have really enjoyed Hong Kong and felt comfortable here, and along with Macau we would definitely recommend everyone to visit. It's also much easier to come here as you get a visa on arrival and it's no hassle like mainland China was.
#hongkong #traveldiaries #victoriapeak #NanLianGardens #oceanpark #panda #kowloon #asia #asia2014