The Bright Lights Of Hong Kong

Trip Start Jan 16, 2010
Trip End Aug 16, 2010

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Well we finally made it were were in Hong Kong , the warm air was a welcome relief from the harsh winter , We decided in true backpacker style to put our faith in the cheap are cheerful public transport and to catch the bus to our hostel in kowloon , with our knees buckling under the pressure of our backpacks we took our seats for the hour long journey to Kowloon harbour , as you drew closer and closer to Kowloon the neon lights got brighter and brighter until it felt like daylight . A pure circus of noise lights and smells hit your senses as you stepped off the bus and into the crowded streets.

A short walk from the bus stop and we arrived at the YMCA .....and it really was fun to stay at the YMCA . this was one nice hostel , it out to shone most 3 star British hotels , perfect location over looking Hong Kong Island and a great base for exploring.

Before we go into details about our little adventures from day to day Hong Kong itself felt instantly familiar , which is not surprising considering us Brits developed the country into the country it is today. There metro is a vastly improved version of our tube , they drive on the left , all there signs are in English and Chinese , there is also a large population of English Bankers. all these factors meant we instantly felt at ease and safe there , in fact i would say its harder to navigate around London.

Along our travels we will See some of natures amazing sites , but you cannot help but stand in awe of what man has created as you gaze across to Hong Kong island and seeing the towering metropolis disappear into the Hong Kong haze.


Day one we took the ferry over to Hong Kong Island were we met "Mr Man" who was a sweet old man who jumped at the chance to help us find Soho the instant we took our tourist map out of my shorts , He was a jolly old man with a false leg who almost fell over three times in the space of three minutes but we would of been lost without him . Now i purposely made reference to my shorts as after 5 minutes of leaving the hostel i discovered i was the only man in Hong Kong wearing shorts and sandals , most of the locals have jumpers and coats looking at me as if i had gone soft. Day one will always be remembered as the day jenny attempted chopsticks , i say attempted because she never got close to achieving. We went a lovely back street cafe and ordered some dumplings. It was quite similar to watching a three year old trying to tie shoe laces for the first time her brain and fingers weren't quite working in unison, the look of concentration was immense but after watching her push and spin dumplings around a bowl for twenty minutes i gave her some sound advice and told her to "JUST STAB THE B********S!" . We spent the rest of the day pottering around getting to know the area and mastering the metro!


Day two was a great day we took the metro to see the Giant Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island , we took a cable car journey to the top of Hong Kong's second largest peak , it is indeed one big Buddah. The views of the surrounding mountains and of the Buddah were amazing , the weather was perfect and we had our first holiday ice cream to top the day off


Day three was pure indulgence for jenny , we decided to go visit all the markets on Kowloon ,this included a Jade Market , a flower market and a bird market (all must see's apparently). We started at the jade market. It was three large indoor markets full of all jade jewelery and ornamental gifts , the stall holders eyes lit up as they saw Jen's beaming face entered the building . We managed to haggle a few bargains for Jen with a nice bracelet and earing's  and then in a moment of "jenny logic" she goes and buys a solid brass head of a buddah , now bear in mind that hours earlier we had discussed discarding some clothes because our back packs are to heavy , we now have to lump round a buddah head that weighs as much as your average pair of size 15 doc martin boots...............and then some!. oh well on to the bird market surely I'm safe there , surely were not going to come away with some type of giant buzzard.......?! are we ?

As we were on our way to the bird market I asked Jen what type of bird she would like to buy ,she paused slightly and turned round to me and said ....Erm........ a buckaroo! ,I think she meant a cockatoo but i kept me amused for hours. The Bird market was utterly cruel. thousands of tropical birds kept in tiny cages with up to 50 birds in one cage. Not really a pleasant experience but an experience non the less.

that night we experienced what is now known as the "Jumbo Saga" . The jumbo floating restaurant is one of the "must do" things in hong Kong . Its basically a big bright boat restaurant . Its quite a jaunt so we set of on our little ferry that we had caught everyday to find that the bus described to us by the hotel was not there on the other side.We were told by a passer by we had caught the wrong ferry. Wrong ferry ??? there was more than one ferry ????

Now it wont surprise you that every day we caught OUR ferry , walked a mile then caught the tube to get to a place called central station. when indeed if we had turned right at the pier and followed the sign saying FERRY TO CENTRAL STATION , we would of been there alot quicker.

Anyway we got to central station our special way and caught a bus to a harbour where we caught another ferry to the boat (this food better be bloody worth it!!!) Now the kind man in the hostel reception had made us a reservation for 8.30 , we eventually strolled in at about 9.30 where we were told to go to the second floor. Now  I had imagined a big brash Chinese restaurant , with a large selection of moderately priced food.......wrong! , I should of known when we scaled the marble stairs that maybe this was not place for backpackers! We sat down to look at the menu. I'm not sure what shocked me more the food or the prices ???. Sure the courses started of sounding normal and then morphed into something you would eat for a bet. Crispy Chicken on a bed sea cucumber with pate of duck tongue. etc etc and to top it all off you would have to pay 50 for the privilege. We managed to negotiate sweet and sour pork and beef and black bean sauce but still paid through the nose.

And then it suddenly dawned ...what was on the other three floors ??? as we left floor two we noticed it was a contemporary restaurant , as we got down to the foyer we asked to see the menu's for the other floors , and yep you guessed it and cheerful westernized buffet food .Now why would the man at the YMCA book backpackers into the most expensive floor ?? buffoon!! , we went into Soho for drinks on the ways back to reflect and laugh about the night.


For our final day we took a tram to "the peak" this is the highest lookout point over Hong Kong although it was a bit misty it was worth effort. at the top there was a 3.5km walk around the peak which gave you views of the whole island , this was one of my favourite parts of our time in Hong Kong you got to see the  other side of Hong Kong , the green tropical hills full of wildlife.

It would be this very wildlife which would provide me with highlight of my day. About 5 minutes from the end of the Track a tiny Gecko sprung from the under growth , in tourist mode i grab the SLR and cornered the little bugger to get a picture! well Gecko's must not like a Camera in there face as the plucky little amphibian went straight for me , a bit of fancy foot work and i had escaped my would-be attacker! as we were walking away a small child on a scooter was slightly ahead of his parents and had caught sight of this gecko , the last thing i remember was looking back as we turned the corner to see this child lower its face toward the Gecko , the next thing we hear is blood curdling screams and i can only imagine what happened next . i do feel slight bit of guilt that i antagonized the creature up to the point of attacking children but i got my shot!!. I think there is a moral to this story somewhere but i can't quite put my finger on it ........................... oh yeah Dont F*** with Geckos!

For our last night we stayed on Kowloon to watch the impressive lights show , this a nightly spectacle that lasts about fifteen minutes that really did top our Hong Kong experience off amazingly.

Joking aside Hong Kong was a great start to our journey , a safe introduction to our road ahead. if you ever have chance then you should go .

I left Hong Kong to fly to phuket via Singapore with "geriatric Jenny" . i call her geriatric jenny on planes as she takes the form of an old woman ,she sits there hunched over with a blanket on her lap constantly asking where her food is and that she is too cold.

i do love her to bits though my little lamb , the best thing about this trip is the time together. Next Blog Thailand!!
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sandhy on

aha! now we know who that Mr Man person is. Jen, you really best do a few blog posts yourself darling - that Martin is a bit cheeky...hmm ;o)

looks amazing - love the Buddha statues. Send the head home to us if you want. We will store it for you. Good buy Jen!
happy travels!
Sx and Dad

distant_places on

oops - didn't log in! anonymous comment..what?? sorry!

Lisa Bezza on

MR MAN.... I loved him as soon as I saw him, just my taste, I bet he has children name MR BOY also!!!!! Loving these blogs... bring on Thailand baby xx miss you lots of love LISA BERRY ha ha (: xx

Aunty Ann on

Hi Jen and Martin, finally found your Blog and have been looking at all your wonderful pictures and reading all about your adventures so far!!! Sounds and looks absolutely fanatstic. Weather here below freezing - best out of it ! Try not to buy anything else that Martin will have to lug about Jen - Buddah sounds a bit fat. Keep on having a great time and remember watch out for the SPIDERS ! Lots of love Ann and Andrew XXX

jenandmart on

Thankyou Ann and Andrew , yes we are still having a lovely time and dont worry, im keeping a very close eye on the insect world! We have seen quite a few in Thailand already, they are just a taster of the beasts we might see in Oz!
All our love jen and Martin xxx

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