We made a couple of stops in Hong Kong on our travels this winter. The first stop we stayed in the Kowloon District and met up with one of my cousins. With just a 36 hours to run around we shopped the crazy markets, wandered around the nearby neighborhoods and visited over drinks and dinner. I broke down and even purchased a selfie stick (obviously we have been around Asia for too long). We had a great time with Gunnar and glad that our travels overlapped.
Our second visit we stayed adjacent to the Central District and enjoyed the immense size of the city, the sounds, food and even the beaches.
There is nothing that can prepare you for the size and density of Hong Kong. You can look at the pictures, hear the numbers and still it doesn’t sink in until you look down on the city from Victoria Peak. A total land area of just 427 square miles and a population of over 7.3 million people. The height of the buildings and the packed small area is hard to take in.
We had several friends who took the time to list out some ‘must see’ stops (we are SO thankful for their tips). The weather was not cooperating for any long hikes or ferry rides. Instead we jumped on a double decker bus and took a death defying ride through the city to Stanley and wandered around the beaches and market. I highly recommend taking the bus to enjoy the city from above. Prices are great and it was fun to mix in with the locals, not to mention the crazy winding roads and immense amount of traffic. The front row of the top deck on the bus was a carnival ride!
On one of our rainy days we walked all over the Central District and took the epic escalator system up from the Central District to the Mid-Levels. A series of escalators makes up the single longest escalator in the world at 2,600 feet. It climbs 443 feet and takes 20 minutes to ride. This escalator is ridden by 85,000 people a day and is the worlds most interesting commute. The escalator runs down in the morning and back up the rest of the day – a true ‘reversible lane’.
We enjoyed the ride up and took a meandering walk down. Of course with every level up, the residence and surrounding shops go up in price. We found some great food while wandering around – noodles of course.
On Sundays all the local maids (estimated at 200,000 domestic workers in Hong Kong) have the day off and they gather around the Central District. Everywhere you can see the women gathered in their makeshift pads made out of cardboard boxes. The boxes are stitched or taped together and make little rooms with the ladies sitting, chatting and sleeping. With nowhere to gather on their days off, they are squatting along walkways, in building entries, courtyards and sidewalks. At first I was a bit horrified by the prospect. But everyone was happy and the buzz could be heard from all the chatting and laughing going on. They are hanging out with family and friends, and that is a great thing.
On our single sunny day we took the bus up Victoria Peak. It is actually a neighborhood and tourist site that sits just below the peak. From there you look down on Hong Kong and have amazing city views. The scenic view really shows the height and depth of the city. We took a beautiful trail all the way around the point. While the tourist area was packed just off the buses and trams, within 5 minutes we were almost alone on the trail. Lots of locals running or walking their children. A great escape to process all the sights.
We barely scratched the surface in Hong Kong on food or ‘must do’ items and will definitely be back. I hope on the next visit we have better weather for tours up the tall buildings and sunset ferry rides and harbor tours for the night lights. Anything else we should be seeing?