Hong Kong is a concrete jungle with uncounted things to do and see there. We were ill for most of the trip so didn’t tick off the typical bucket list items as we were coming back at a later date! I still think we had an awesome time in our 4 days…
We stayed at the notorious Chungking Mansions. There was so much to unpack here that I wrote a whole blog post about this infamous building. All I’ll say here is that it had me sobbing within moments of arriving! Read all about it here: Chungking Mansions, yes or no? My Experience…
Needless to say after the emotional rollercoaster of the last few days I was ready to tuck into some comfort food and make the most of our time in Hong Kong.
Avenue of Stars at Night
The Avenue of Stars, modelled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, is located on the Victoria Harbour waterfront. It celebrates the famous faces of the Hong Kong film industry, consisting of various hand prints along the walkway with the odd statue dotted throughout.
However, the most alluring aspect of this promenade was the sensational view of the Central Hong Kong Skyline at night. Although we didn’t make it in time to witness the apparently unforgettable Symphony of Lights, the beautiful view was enough to have us in awe.
It’s a pretty shit picture but thats Iphones for you!
Avenue of Stars in Daylight
Given this iconic Hong Kong landmark was within 10 minutes walking time of our guesthouse, we decided to visit a second time. Daylight observations were just as wonderful, if not surpassed, the night time version.
I don’t think we could quite believe we were there!
The advantage of light also meant we were able to inspect the Avenue of stars in more detail. I’m ashamed to say, I did not recognise any of the names on display. However, who wouldn’t be familiar with the famous Bruce Lee!
The Flower Market, situated in Prince Edward, Kowloon, is a year round attraction for any and all flower lovers or those simply interested in beautiful sights and scents. Hong Kongers flock here to pick up all manner of pretty blooms, pots, vases and garden accessories.
For a market that is generally open from 7am to 7pm it is fabulously busy. The streets crowded with buyers, overflowing stalls and traffic dodging the mobs of shoppers.
During the time we were there, Chinese New Year, it is exceptionally hectic. The market was especially lively, full of families preparing for The New Year celebrations. Buying their decorations and lucky plants to bring in the Lunar New Year.
Dinner in Chungking Mansions
We made our way back to the craziness of Chungking Mansions and set about finding a restaurant we fancied eating in. After spending three weeks in China, we were ready for a change of cuisine and opted for an Indian restaurant on the lower floor.
It was delicious and very cheap for central Hong Kong!
Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
The 10,000 Buddhas Monastery can be found in Sha Tin, in the New territories of Hong Kong. It is fairly off the beaten path and quite difficult to find without help. (We used this blog post to assist us and found it fairly quickly!)
Word of warning: if you encounter any Monks asking for money, do not give them any – they are fake! There are signs to warn against this but you might see one before you see the sign!
Once you find the path up to the Monastery, be prepared for the climb!
There are no less than 431 steps to the top and you will also have to traverse a steep concrete path.
This can be a tough ask in the heat and humidity of Hong Kong so I highly recommend you bring water. There is water available for purchase at the top should you forget or run out though.
However, this path is almost an attraction in itself. You will see hundreds of life-size Buddhas lining the path, each one unique and individual as the last. Fascinating, but slightly unnerving to have so many faces staring at you from all angles!
The name monastery is actually a bit of a misnomer as no monks actually live there and it is maintained by laypersons. It also isn’t just one temple, but rather, is made up of 5 temples, 4 pavilions and 1 pagoda.
As you wander the complex you will smell the incense permeating the air and feel calm in the serene and quiet atmosphere. It is a truly gorgeous gem set far up on the hillside.
The views from this height are stunning. The architecture and statues with a background of deep green jungle is juxtaposed with the towering concrete skyscrapers that can be seen in the distance.
We were excited to encounter some wild monkeys after having read about their presence at the temple. It didn’t take long for this wish to come true when one ambled lazily down a handrail on the steps. It nonchalantly dawdled past us without giving us a second glance – so cool!
We saw them multiple times throughout the day. A couple were carefully grooming each other on a wall far out of reach; a family screeched and played high up in a tree; and one gave us some fabulous photo opportunities whilst perched next on a statue.
However, these guys are wild animals. We made the mistake of getting too close to a monkey whilst trying to take a picture. He didn’t take kindly and ran towards us and bit its arm in what I can only assume was a threat. A very clear and frightening threat!
I will always be in awe of how human and intelligent these creatures can be and it is so important to respect them and their space!
Nan Lian Garden and Chi Lin Nunnery
A short metro ride away is the pretty Nan Lian Gardens. Situated in the bustling Diamond Hill area, this Classical Chinese Garden is a tranquil 3.5 hectare oasis.
The gardens are a stunning example of traditional Tang Dynasty architecture and design. It consists of various hills, water features, trees, rocks and wooden structures, all contributing to the graceful and peaceful atmosphere.
There is a renowned vegetarian restaurant in the grounds, complete with waterfall walls! It looked amazing and was recommended to us, however we decided against due to the high price.
Mong Kok Ladies Market
Our final stop for the day was a trip to the Mong Kok Ladies Market. This market is busy! Mong Kok is one of, if not the most, densely populated area in the world with around 130,000 inhabitants per square kilometre. After visiting this area I can safely say that I am not at all surprised by this fact!
The Ladies Market is a popular place to buy inexpensive clothes, bags and accessories. However, inconsistent with its name, is not exclusively for women. You can find many items for men as well as multitudes of little souvenirs, electronic gadgets and toys.
This market is incredibly overwhelming to begin with and of course a massive tourist trap, however, that doesn’t make it a place to avoid. In fact, despite the large number of tourists that frequent it, the market still has a local vibe, as many residents shop here too.
As well as lots of merchandise on offer you will also find many places to eat here. Street food and cafes are common and very cheap.
This area is quite a shopping attraction with other markets such as the Goldfish market and Flower market within walking distance. There are also many other shopping street nearby, such as Trainer Street.
We decided not to eat in the overcrowded streets instead opting for a less hectic meal in one of the restaurants in Chungking Mansions again.
We feasted on curry again, a different restaurant, but just as delicious.
Kowloon Park is a large public park located in Tsim Sha Tsui. Although void of open green lawns for sitting or playing on, the park has many other offerings.
The park boasts a well equipped pool, a Piazza presenting free performances, (particularly during Chinese New Year) and some beautiful walking paths through meticulously curated gardens among other features.
Most memorable for us was bird lake, home to a flock of elegant flamingos. They can be found near the Aviary which was unfortunately, unforgettable for all the wrong reasons.
We found the enclosures to be very small for the birds and deduced it was so the animals would be visible to observers at all times. It was quite sad and I would question how healthy it would be for the birds.
Tucked away behind the park is the Dolphin Sunset. Here you will find a stunning view if the Hong Kong Skylines, virtually free from the crowds of the Victoria Harbour. You can snap a pretty picture of Central from across the water with minimal elbows coming your way from disgruntled fellow photographers.
The Dolphins themselves are also quite beautiful.
We went on an exceptionally drab and dreary day so our photos were left a little wanting however, if you’re willing to wait it out for a sunny day or go at nightfall I’m sure you would fair better.
Chinese New Year Night Parade
We were lucky enough to be in Hong Kong during the first day of Chinese New Year! This is such a fab time to be there: you will bump into all sorts over the course of the holiday. We regularly would walk past small performances or events.
Even if you somehow manage to miss all this you will still be able to enjoy the extravagant decorations all over the city.
On New Years Night there is a Chinese New Year Night Parade ! It is an incredibly popular event that is attended by tens of thousands of people.
You can pay for seats to view the parade but if you want to watch for free you can just line up along the road. The parade generally goes along Nathan Road, Salisbury Road, Canton Road, and Haiphong Road and ends near the Harbour.
We watched it from just outside the front of Chungking Mansions which was super convenient!
The parade was one of my highlights of our time in Hong Kong. We saw amazing light up floats, impressive street performers and examples of Chinese culture.
It was definitely worth standing for hours to get a (nearly) front row seat.
Our first stint in Hong Kong was short and fraught with illness, so you may not think much of our itinerary. We missed out some pretty big attractions such as Lantau Island and The Peak. However, we were lucky enough to come back to Hong Kong for nearly 3 weeks to stay with friends and managed to see all these things and more!
After 51 days of train travel, we were ready for the next step in our journey. Which is a bit of a rest!
What you think?
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