While our time in Hong Kong was limited to a single day (cut down from the four we had planned before the PAD protests), we thoroughly enjoyed it and left feeling that it was a city we could happily live in. We didn’t have any preconceptions of the city, but found it to be a very clean, modern, and welcoming place. Its compact nature makes it quite walkable, but a convenient system of trains, ferries, and even outdoor escalators makes it a breeze to get around. With some help from my friend Joanna and some other tips from our guidebook, we were able to devise a one-day itinerary that allowed us to get a great taste of the city.
The taste we had been most looking forward to was that of dim sum, which we enjoyed at the famous Maxim’s Palace City Hall restaurant. We had researched its hours, so we arrived at 11:00am on the dot (its opening time) in order to beat the Saturday morning rush that we had heard is a given. It was a good thing we did, because while we had our pick of tables, the entire place was packed within ten minutes with a line forming down the hallway. The food was fantastic. For the uninitiated, dim sum is a Cantonese specialty that features many small dishes that you share with your table. Rather than ordering food off a menu ahead of time, you simply wait for the carts of food to come by and indicate your interest in given dishes. The wait staff keeps tally of how many dishes you’ve had, and you pay accordingly at the end of the meal. This means that you can keep trying lots of small dishes until you’re completely stuffed, which is exactly what we did. Our meal included shrimp dumplings, sticky rice, chicken, yellow pork/shrimp dumplings, and lots of tea. Delicious!
After dim-sum, we took a tram to the top of “the peak” (Hong Kong Island’s highest point), where we got a great view of the city, and even ran into Bruce Lee:
Afterward, we headed back down, then checked out Hong Kong Park, filled with people escaping the crowds of the city, and with many, many couples posing for wedding photographs. The park itself was beautifully landscaped, with fountains, paths, gardens, a designated Tai-Chi area, and even an enclosed aviary. We spent quite a while wandering the elevated wooden walkways of the aviary pondering how cool it was to be in this sanctuary while surrounded by glass and steel skyscrapers.
Resident Bali Mynah voicing his opinion
We spent the next few hours checking out Kowloon, the district across the water from Hong Kong Island. Here we wandered some very busy shopping streets with offerings that ranged from Vivienne Westwood (Abby tells me this) to the infamous Chungking Mansions filled with fake watch and purse touts, and tailors of questionable suits. One of the more interesting areas was around Temple Street Market, pictured below:
Around dusk, we boarded the Star Ferry back to Hong Kong Island and got a good look at the beautiful skyline lit up at night:
After that, we got dinner and a drink in the Long Kwai Fong district, which is a popular and lively neon-lit nightlife area. At this point, we decided it was our mission to see the worlds longest outdoor people-mover, a short walk away. Unbeknownst to us before we visited Hong Kong, this city boasts an 800m long system of covered escalators and moving walkways that serves as a common mode of public transit from the downtown offices to the Mid-Levels residential neighborhood. Many people even make a daily commute to work on this system, which runs in reverse (downhill) during the morning rush. We rode just about all 800m.
As I read back over this, it’s hard to believe we covered all of this ground in one day. I guess the people movers helped. We know we’ll need to come back some day to experience it in full.