Up and out of the hotel by 9am, I caught the MTR subway from the nearby Causeway Bay station. At this particular station there is a Hong Kong visitors center that was particularly helpful. Armed with my MTR 1 day hopper ticket, I set off for “Central” station.
Changing at Central was easy, and reminiscent of either Tokyo or the London tube.. walk walk walk underground with no clue what is above. Stopped at a bakery for a yummy Custard & Coconut bread roll! On to the next train and out to Lantua Island I go, destination Tung Chung.
20 -30 minutes later while sharing a train with many families headed for Hong Kong Disneyland, I make it to my first stop and begin my quest for a bus. Simple enough thanks to the visitor center I head for Bus 23. Problem #1.. no change.. easily fixed by the local 7-Eleven. Problem #2.. miss second bus due to the lineup, only seated passengers allowed. So after 30 minutes of wasted time I finally get on the bus to the Giant Buddha.
Advised to be a 15 minute journey turned into more than 30 as we ducked and weaved our way over the top of the island, stopping for construction workers and other things. Eventually we arrive at the Giant Buddha minutes after passing the previous bus that i missed broken down on the side of a steep hill (I know it was the previous bus because I was narcy at the people who were allowed on instead of me)
The Giant Buddha rocks.. sitting on top of a big hill, after a small donation (about $5 Aus) I began the climb up the staircase to the top. Easy journey but awesome site at the top. You can go inside the base and get close to the top. This Buddha sits proud and is something worth seeing. I was impressed. I was also lucky with the weather, as the clouds where just skimmy the top of the Buddha’s head. Another meter lower and it would have ruined the visit. If I had more time there is also a vegetarian restaurant served by the monks and many other things to explore / experience.. something for next time.
After seeing the Buddha I hopped on Bus #2 down to the ferry terminal. Met a great Canadian guy on the bus who’d been living and working as a lawyer in HK for many years and had to give instructions to both me and other western passengers as the other Chinese people were tourists and didn’t know better than us. After the short bus ride I arrived at the ferry terminal just in time to purchase a ticket and hop on board.
After a pleasant 45 minute ferry ride from the island into the harbour we pulled into Central, and after looking around for a bus to my next destination I realized that I was food deprived and began looking for ANYTHING suitable. What options did I have? Well, needless to say I found a McDonald’s and managed to Hoover down a Big Mac just in time before my next bus took off without me. Not entirely nourishing but it stopped a headache that was starting, i had to shovel the food down and throw the rest in the bin next to me otherwise wait another 30 minutes for the next ride.
Beautiful bus ride to Stanley markets.. well worth the trip even if you come straight back. Great beaches, boats, hotels, etc etc. Arriving at Stanley I had a good look around the markets, managed to grab another bite to eat (this time a decent Chinese Beef Curry) and bought a couple of really small things. Hopped back on the bus to Central again and headed back underground to the subway
Mong Kok / Prince Edward
This place has to be seen.. GoldFish markets and Ladies Markets.. literary blocks of aquarium type shops selling fish prepackaged in plastic bags by the dozens, plants, tanks etc etc. You name it, they had it in this street. In Ladies Markets they had the usual market stuff, and of course many MANY requests for me to look at fake watches and hand bags. Getting back on the train, I hopped down one stop and made my way to the harbour shore on the Kowloon side, just as it began to get dark.
Hong Kong Harbour.
The harbor is probably one of HK’s biggest attractions, and the skyline view from Kowloon is fantastic, the only thing closely reminiscent to me is when I first saw Manhattan Island when driving in from JFK airport. This place is just packed with large buildings.
As the sun went down I looked up and down for familiar names on the “Avenue of the Stars” and eventually gave up and found somewhere to sit and wait for the 8pm light show. the city lights reflected on the water look truly spectacular, especially with the small boats zipping past. After waiting over 30 minutes I was let down by a semi baked presentation of the city building lights being animated to music. The intent was great, the lights themselves were good, but the sound was too low for it to be engaging and I don’t feel it was quite dark enough for the right effect. A shame.. I’ll have to give it another go next time I’m here.
Headed home & Boat #2
Last step was to head back to the hotel. I hopped on the Star Ferry from Kowloon back across to Central, switched to a train back to Causeway Bay, and stumbled back to the hotel.
It was a long day, over 12 hours in today constantly moving, but well worth it.
I love Hong Kong and want to experience a whole lot more before I leave.