16th February, 2018
Touch down Hong Kong!
We knew it was going to be cooler weather, but I think we were all in denial about just HOW cool!
It was an average of 9°C during our stay and needless to say, we were a little under prepared.
Each of us already had a few pieces of cool weather clothing, but not much. Andrew and I needed jackets, and fast! (as well as scarves, beanies, gloves and thermal underwear!!)
We landed at Hong Kong International Airport and made our way to the transport desk to work out how to get to our destination. With help from the ladies at the desk – we purchased Octopus cards. Octopus cards are smart cards that can be used on most forms of public transport around Hong Kong including the ferry, bus and minibus, the Peak tram, regular trams and the MTR trains. They can be topped up at any time quickly and easily and may also be used at 7-Eleven, Starbucks, supermarkets and fast food restaurants.
All sorted, off we went and caught the airport express train from the Hong Kong airport to Kowloon.
We arrived late afternoon and spent the evening perusing shops and buying our winter woollies, before heading to Din Tai Fung for a dumpling dinner.
The city comes alive at night with lights, neon signs and billboards. It’s so gorgeous and such a huge contrast to hot and sunny island life in Boracay where we spent the week prior.
Each day we set out on foot to explore the city and all it had to offer.
A couple of nights after we had arrived, the total lunar eclipse – also known as the super blue blood moon was taking place…(did you happen to catch it?) Kowloon Park had an event being run by the Scouts, so we rugged up, grabbed some hot chocolates and headed to the park. They had telescopes set up and camera crews scattered around. It was very cool!
So many locals came up and start chatting with us – all so friendly and kind.
We sat for ages and watched as the moon changed over the city. It was very special.
Each day was cold, but thankfully we only had rain once during our stay. The public library was a great place to escape the rain for a few hours. The Tsim Sha Tsui library is only small, but was perfect for the kids to get their book fix for a few hours.
The Flower Market was also a beautiful place to visit. It was buzzing and in full swing due to the time of year. Chinese New Year creeping up fast and all the locals were out and about getting their floral arrangements sorted for their celebrations. The colours and smells were delightfully wafting through the air as we meandered on through.
Sneaker Street is also worth a walk through. It is literally JUST THAT. An entire street dedicated to sneaker shops. Funnily enough – Spencer had decided that he would like new sneakers for his 10th birthday which is a couple of weeks away – so we headed there and ticked that box also. They had some great sales happening and there were people everywhere.
Pretty much everything was in walking distance around the immediate Kowloon area. We definitely covered quite a bit of ground, trying to thaw out!
Ladies Market runs for over a kilometre and has over 100 stalls.
The stall holders were super keen and loved a haggle. We did a little shopping – I got my Hong Kong snow globe, so I was happy! (I’ve been collecting a snow globe from each country we visit. They will have pride of place on a special shelf when we get back to Australia…)
Ladies Market sold bags, shoes, hats and clothes, toys and more.
Around the corner from Ladies Market is a strip of shops dedicated solely to pet stores. Kittens, bunny rabbits, hamsters (SO CUTE), and fish! So many little fish displayed ever so neatly in water filled plastic bags. It was all well and good until we saw little turtles displayed the same way, which broke our hearts.
One of my very favourite outings was catching the Ngong Ping 360 cable cars over to Lantau Island. We caught the MTR train (using our Octopus cards) to Tung Chung Station. From there it is a short two minute walk to the cable car terminal. The ride is about half an hour each way. You can opt for a one way pass, or return. A return pass was just over $100AUD and is money well spent in my opinion.
Once we arrived at Ngong Ping Village, we went to the teahouse for some hot tea to warm us all up. It was late afternoon, and it was so cold up there on the hill.
We didn’t have time to get to the big bronze Buddha, but we did see him sitting tall across the village. Our return trip was just as the sun was setting for the day, very pretty.
On our very last day we visited Kowloon Park once again for a walk and to hopefully see the flamingos. We got lucky. They were all out of hiding and enjoying a dip in the water.
We loved our time in Hong Kong and discovered so much. We enjoyed beautiful food and met so many wonderful people. A very busy city, full of life. There are people everywhere all the time! (I won’t tell you about the time we lost Lily in the middle of the city….I’ve never been so scared in all my life!!!!! Sorry Nanny and Pop. All’s well that ends well…)
If you’re visiting with children, don’t let go of their hands for a moment when wandering through crowds.
There was so much more we could have discovered and enjoyed, but our time had come to an end and Sri Lanka was calling us.
We have already planned to visit Hong Kong again soon, once the weather is a little warmer and the sky is blue.
Thanks for the memories Hong Kong.
Blog coming soon all about our hike to Lion Rock!