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Join us on this amazing adventure...
Join us on this amazing adventure...
Rosa (or affectionately called Rosi) and her daughter Ariadna are relatives of mine and residents in Tenerife. When we started the world trip, we spoke to try and fix a meet up in Asia, but ultimately was not possible …
It turned out they were in some of the places we visited in China just two weeks earlier. Despite not being able to meet there we thought it would be a good idea to have their say on a city that we did not have the opportunity of visiting. So, there you have it … Hong Kong.
After passing through some of the most important cities in China, we arrived at our last stop: Hong Kong. Although we didn’t want to come here initially, the millennia-old, Chinese-influenced former British colony far surpassed all our expectations.
The first thing that catches your eye is how modern the city is. If you’ve ever been told that New York is the City of Skyscrapers, then wait until you see Hong Kong. It’s fascinating.
Hong Kong is split up into a number of districts. The most touristic of these are Kowloon (the city center), Hong Kong Island and Lantau Island. Our hotel was on Hong Kong Island, which is the most modern and best-connected district in the city. One of the best ways to get to the peninsula is on the Star Ferry. As well as being lovely, the ferry is cheap and quick and offers unbeatable views of the bay.
There’s a lot to see and do in Hong Kong. We started in Kowloon with the Hong Kong Museum of History. This seemed like the best way to get to know the city, and took advantage of the fact that all museums are free on Wednesdays.
The city center is also very lively. It’s full of parks, restaurants, and bustling high streets for your shopping needs.
We’d seen lots of temples over the course of our trip across China, but the most captivating temple that fast became our favorite was the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. It doesn’t normally appear in the tourist guides but, from what we saw, the place is spectacular. Some 500 golden Arhan statues accompany you up the 400 steps to the temple’s entrance. There, you’re greeted by 1000 small statues of Buddha in the temple’s main room.
Another important temple is the Man Mo Temple, which is one of the oldest in Hong Kong. Endless hanging spirals of incense and vivid colors let you fully enjoy the many contrasts of this city.
At night, walks along Hong Kong Bay are particularly enjoyable. There’s a light show that attracts people from all over the world. A bit of fresh air with skyscrapers illuminated in brilliant colors and boats passing by is in itself the best show.
The first things we went to see on Lantau Island were Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tian Buddha which, at 24 meters tall, is the largest sitting Buddha in the world. To get there, though, you have to climb 268 steps. But once you’ve caught your breath, you can really take in the marvels of the area.
The island of Lantau is also home to other delights.
Tai O is a small, humble and traditional fishing town that is definitely worth a visit. Its inhabitants live in stilt houses and make a living selling their catches at market. Tai O was a place full of surprises.
Macao Island is the Lisbon of China. The architecture, food, and streets with signs in Portuguese make you easily forget that you’re in Asia. It was breathtaking to walk through Old Macao, especially the Ruins of St. Paul’s. Macao is also home to luxury casinos where gambling is permitted, but this wasn’t of any interest to us. Macao clearly demonstrates the fusion of colonialism and Chinese culture.
We rounded off our last day in Hong Kong by visiting Nan Lian Garden. The garden is the perfect spot to get away from everything. Harmony would be the word I’d use to describe it. Taking inspiration from the Tang Dynasty Gardens, it’s packed with art and knowledge. As you walk through the park, you’re surrounded by relaxing music, sounds of water, bridges, lotus ponds, the Golden Pagoda and the Chi Lin Nunnery – a beautifully crafted wooden masterpiece.
We were set to fly the same day that hurricane Nida hit. Because of the rush and not knowing whether we’d be able to fly home, we hardly took stock of the fact that our travels were over with. The plane is taking off … Goodbye, Hong Kong 🙂