A week in the fragrant Harbour (2)

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View from the Victoria Peak Tram

The big Buddha, Lantau island and Disneyland were the most memorable tourist activities that I indulged in. However the mid levels escalators and The Peak are also worth a mention though not high on the must do list. The Victoria Peak I think is certainly worth a visit but it’s not a whole day affair really. One ticket only gets you on to the highest viewing deck once and is best saved for the night view. So if you go up too early which I did, you’ll be forced to waste time in the expensive shops and restaurants of The Victoria Peak Mall or if your budget allows you can take a lap of Madam Tussaud’s.

Alternatively you can take a brisk stroll to the nearby parks but I was too lazy to do that, I chose instead to spend more time sitting on the balcony of a Vietnamese restaurant taking in the view. Unfortunately due to the pollution it’s rare to get a clear night sky, but it’s still a breathtaking view.

IMG_3038The mid levels escalators are sort of an attraction in themselves because it’s a brilliant idea to save people the trouble of walking uphill by building escalators (lazy people unite!). It seems a bit ridiculous at first to be using escalators outside but by the time you get to the top of the hill you’re glad you didn’t have to walk the whole way up.

The escalators go down in the morning when people are heading in to the city center for work, then change direction mid morning and go up for the rest of the day. There are stairs besides them for those going in the opposite direction. Besides the escalators themselves, the surrounding shops are worth a look too. They are tons of restaurants and cafes specializing in foreign cuisines like Indian, French and Italian. The escalators have an exit at every street should one wish to get off and explore. I chose to stay focused on conquering the hill to prevent unnecessary spending.

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Fa Yuen St

I also spent some time in a few gardens, took a city bus tour, visited a few parks and Hong Kong being the shopping mecca that it is, I of course went shopping. I was quite excited to see Fa Yuen street which is also known as Sneaker street. It is heaven for the sneaker enthusiast but I was quite disappointed with the prices, they were all pretty much retail price with discounts that aren’t worth a mention. I actually got better prices at the Factory Outlet mall stores which is where I ended up getting a pair of Adidas sneakers. At sneaker street I only purchased a pair of Converse sneakers which were 50% off. However if my goal was to fill up an empty suitcase with reasonably priced designer clothing (which mainland Chinese tourists often do), Hong Kong was the right place.

In short….

Hong Kong was awesome! I loved everything about the place, it’s the perfect fusion of Asia and the West in architecture, food and lifestyle. You can go from a busy crowded Chinese market street in Mong Kok to a giant mall complex in a few blocks. And though Hong Kong is mostly known for it’s fast city life, it does have a quiet gentle side; three-quarters of Hong Kong is protected countryside. I loved the weather (it was a warm winter compared to Mainland China), the air (much better than Baoding air!), ease of getting around, the malls, the tourist hot spots were fun, that it’s really clean and safe, that there is a wide range of cuisines and I especially loved that pretty much every corner of the city had WiFi. The people that I spoke to were also friendly and most spoke English though I did have to flex my Chinese at Lantau island. If there’s one thing I didn’t like about Hong Kong, it was just that it’s a tad beyond my budget….if you really wanna have a good time fatten up that wallet first. I would certainly love to go again.IMG_2605

Side note: 香港 or Xianggang which is Hong Kong in Chinese literally means “fragrant harbor”.

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