Cab to airport in Shanghai – including in seat TV with constant advertising …
Flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong was easy. My low cost airline even had a German option on the entertainment system!
And public transport is also great in Hong Kong. Took the airport express to Kowloon Station. From there I had a free shuttle bus to my hotel. Glad I chose the harbor view room: have been staring out of my hotel window a lot. When I arrived in the late afternoon I decided to do a “night in” and opted for an amazing seafood dinner at the hotel. To then stare at the view a bit more …
My cold is pretty “clingy” thus I took it slow on my first days … and started my days with trips to the local Chinese pharmacy. I have been back to get the same med again and now I keep getting nice tips from the clerk on when to take them and how to get better as well as waves when I walk by.
After the pharmacy I started to explore Hong Kong Island, which involved many means for transport: hotel shuttle bus to ferry terminal, Star Ferry over to Central, the mid level escalator (longest escalator in the world) to Hollywood road, then the tram to Causeway Bay and eventually the ferry back to Kowloon. Visited a famous temple and some shops, but mostly took in the city as it passed by on the various means of transportation.
Hong Kong is clearly all about shopping. There are lines in front of the many super expensive stores. My only purchase (apart from food in 5 days: two post cards … I must be a very rare exception!)
After a short break at the hotel, I ventured out to see the Temple Street night market and walked back along Nathan Road to make it to the waterfront in time for the nightly light show. A million pictures later, I walked along the Avenue of Stars back to my hotel. Exhausted but also inspired by a lot of new impressions.
Friday – hoping the sun would burn of the haze – I took the ferry to CheungChau Island. Mona and Markus recommended the island. And even though the sun never broke through, I had a great day exploring the island and getting a great work out at the same time. Amazing how often you can go up and down on an island that is only 2.5 square kilometers big.
The ferry had been crowded and I was a bit worried when I first saw the waterfront. Lots of people and one seafood restaurant to the next already serving a lot of customers. But my travel guide was right – most locals do not venture beyond the main drag and come for food only. For the better part of the day, I was alone hiking through hills and walking along beaches. At some point I even worried that if the stray dogs that seemed to own the beach would attack me, no one would ever find me …
Back at the hotel I hit the pool for the first time – deciding to beat this cold by working it off. Once in the pool, the sun broke through for the first time since I arrived and I swam looking at the skyline drenched in an amazing sunset.
Evening ended with Mona and Markus – that came from Shanghai for the weekend – and some of their MBA friends at the famous Sevva Bar in Central. Amazing view – was just too cold on the terrace. But we got seats inside. Fun night – only getting back to Kowloon took over an hour, since cabs do not want to make the trip. Luckily I had local support who at some point just bribed a taxi driver ;)
Next day it was really sunny – but windy. Took it slowly after the long night out. Wrote this by the pool. Needed to get my swimming in before I headed to town again. Mona and Markus took me up to the Peak – and guess what, ever there Hong Kong attractions come with a shopping mall …
Later we met with Mona’s family for a seafood dinner at “happy seafood”. Really fortunate to have local company and guiding on this trip! I would have never ventured to this area of Hong Kong – and according to the locals, as a foreigner, I would have been cheated with the food. But as I was with locals … we picked out the seafood which was then taken to the restaurant a few doors down and prepared to our orders. It was AMAZING.
Met with some more friends at a local bar – and while still on the wrong side of town, I had no problem getting a cab back to my hotel.
My last day in Hong Kong my hosts took me to dim sum brunch at the restaurant they had their wedding reception at. The food drives by on carts and you can see what you choose. If you pick something your card gets the responding “stamp”. Another delicious meal!
We then took the train to Hong Kongs big Buddha – and yes, both the cable car station as well as the way to the Buddha itself are … shopping malls.
Despite the haze, the cable car ride was great. Lines were long, but we mastered the many stairs up the “largest outside sitting bronze Buddha” in the world. Everything seems to have to be big in Hong Kong … even the incense sticks:
At the cable car I had to say farewell to Mona and Markus who were incredible hosts. They went to the airport to head back to Shanghai. While I spent a night in at my hotel packing for a very early departure for Koh Samui in Thailand the next morning.