Just back from...Hong Kong!

A bustling road in Hong Kong, (photo by Becky Lovell)
A bustling road in Hong Kong

When my mum was my age, she spent some time in Hong Kong. As I was growing up, I was fascinated by the intricate hand-held fans, beautiful maps and 1970s sepia-toned, round-edged photographs that she brought back with her to decorate our family home with. The city seemed so incredibly exotic and far away; a compelling place of intriguing food, industrious people and tropical humidity. I had to see it.

A few weeks ago, I experienced Hong Kong for the first time, spending a week there on my way to Australia. I wasn't quite prepared for all the new sights, sounds, even smells, that I was bombarded with! There was certainly lots of intriguing food (some more palatable than others), there were certainly thousands of industrious and friendly people, and boy, was there tropical humidity. The city is exhilarating to walk through and there are new and unusual things to see on every corner. When I showed my photographs to mum afterwards she claimed, 'It looks just the same, only taller.' And that's one of the most interesting things about Hong Kong; one day you can be standing at the Peak, looking down at the glittering skyscrapers, the next day you can be lost amongst the pungent and colourful fruit stands along a road in Kowloon. The traditional dim sum restaurants, bamboo scaffolding, and smiling, wizened faces that you see everywhere really do ensure that the heart and soul of Hong Kong is preserved amid the continual expansion of this Asian megacity.

Here are some of my favourite photographs from my trip.

 

The Peak 

Lots of sights within cities are lauded as 'must-sees', to varying degrees of validity, but Hong Kong's Peak has got to be one of the most justifiable. The views are simply incredible. The tram that takes you to the top is an experience in itself - I hadn't realised just how steep it was going to be! Try and get a seat or you'll be hanging on for dear life like I was.

 

Peak Tram

 

Here's the most famous view. You can see just how built up Hong Kong Island is in comparison to Kowloon, over the harbour. I don't think I'll ever get tired of this view.

 

View from the Peak

 

This is the view from the other side of the viewing platform. I didn't know that there would be such a contrast between the bustling city on one side and this gorgeously green vista on the other. You can just about see some of Hong Kong's outlying islands in the distance.

 

Alternative view from the Peak

 

And the futuristic city view by night. The similarities with Ridley Scott's 1980s film 'Bladerunner' were hard to ignore!

 

Peak view by night

 

Exploring Hong Kong's streets

I was determined to taste authentic dim sum and I wasn't disappointed. This tiny restaurant served me a fantastic range of dim sum and the best green tea I've ever had, despite me not being able to read the menu and the waiter not speaking any English. It's amazing how well two people can communicate with smiles and gestures! 

The mid-levels escalators are a brilliantly bonkers way to get around hilly Hong Kong. You just jump on and off and refresh yourself at one of the bars along the way.

 

Dim sum restaurant Mid levels escalator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hong Kong's streets really are an assault on the senses; everywhere you turn there are colourful banners and neon lights, people chatting and moving produce around on trolleys, and unusual smells to follow.

 

Hong Kong shops

 

Hong Kong's roads

 

Inner city temples

Despite a great deal of 21st-century architecture, Hong Kong has loads of temples - some hidden away in surprising pockets of the city. I stumbled on this one, lured by the smell of burning incense, when trying to find an MRT station and was struck by how peaceful the site was, right in the middle of a busy part of town. The shrines were beautiful and decorated with flower garlands and offerings of fruit. 

 

Temple lanterns

 Temple statues        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Victoria Harbour

I found strolling along Victoria Harbour, between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, to be a great way to take a break from the intensity of the city. So many different types of boats sail the water here, including the famous Star Ferry and the striking red-sailed Aqua Luna boats.

 

Harbour view

 

Boat on the harbour

 

Western Monastery

This was a bonus treat, visited in a desperate attempt to escape the heat of the city! But I'm so glad that I got to see it because it was truly spectacular. You have to go all the way to the end of an MRT line and then take a minibus to reach it, but the journey is worth it. I felt like I was hundreds of miles away in mainland China wandering around this fabulous temple complex. Absolutely worth the excursion!

 

Western Monastery

 

Western Monastery bridge

 

Becky@Insight

 

 

Inspired to go? Read more about Hong Kong or buy one of our Hong Kong travel guides.

 

 

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