Amazing diverse city
13.03.2007 - 17.03.2007 20 °C
We were both very excited about going to Hong Kong as this was going to be a completely different from the experience we have had so far.
In Brisbane we had booked 'The Now Kowloon Hostel' which was located in the heart of madness on Nathan Road in a building called Miramar Mansion. Not really sure what we were booking or where it was, it seemed ok and had ok reviews so that would be enough for us!
We landed at the airport in the foggy weather so we didn't get the best view of the collosal towers of the city or the interesting landing experience on the reclaimed land airport. I as usual picked up the leflets, collected the luggage and we quickly caught a bus to the hostel. Within minutes of getting off the bus we were hassled by people offering their hostel or guest house, selling fake watches and bags, and trying to get Rob to get a taylor made suit. As much as this was appealing we headed for the massive unattractive rundown building called Miramar Mansions. We were unsure really where to go and how to get to the hostel as it appeared there was about 6 different ones all on different floors of the building all run by different people. hmmmm. Our first hour in the hostel was intriguing. We found out from the lady cleaner that a guy was staying in the same room the night before and she was moving his stuff out the room and we must take our passports and money with us as he may come back. We were told to tell him that she had his stuff!! Great! So someone else had a set of keys to our room. We soon aired our concern to the rather unkept guy at the desk (with killer breath and the worst teeth may I add) and when doing so 3 rather large israel guys turned up wondering where there stuff was! Thankgod we met them near reception and not in the room. His key was handed back and all was sorted. Well my fear factor was now quiet high and I couldn't quite figure out what this place was. I'm sure the pictures will better describe where we were staying.
We headed out for an evening wander and to grab some food from a cheap cafe. The next day we had to move to another room on a different floor as someone else was booked into our one for the remaining 3 nights. Not a problem, the room in fact was much better. It is amazing how so much stuff can fit into such a small place. In the bathroom you could shower, go to the toilet and clean your teeth all at the same time. Ingenious!
We spent the next 3 day sight seeing. Rob enjoyed his numerous Macdonalds breakfasts, much to my disgust considering we were in Hong Kong, but for him the thought of bacon and egg noodles for breakfast was not quite right.
The first day we headed north out of town on the super fast, clean, efficient railway to The Temple of Ten Thousand Buddas. To get to the temple we walked through a typical little village where stalls we selling all sorts of products and crafts and we then started the rather long climb up to the temple. There were hundreds of steps to the top. Rob decided to count the steps just to make sure the guide book was correct. The stairway was lined with gold buddas either side, each with a different pose, some holding beads and some holding bowls. Towards the top of the hill the smell of insence became more apparent. At the top there was a number of temple buildings and structures. The main one housed the ten thousand buddas. The buddads lined each wall of the temple some with messages stuck to the cabnet. A large budda was in the centre of the temple with all sorts of givings from the locals - bananas, money, apples, and sweets. We walked around the grounds, coughing on the thick smog of incense and watching people having lunch by the buddas. It was a great experience of our first temple.
On our route back to the hostel we looked for somewhere to have lunch and walked down through Mong Kok and Nathan Road. Nathan Road is lined with numerous shops ranging from Gucci and Prada to the rather weird medicine shops selling dried bat and deer horns. The thousands of people and the extremely busy road meant you qued to cross the road while people tried to sell us the fake watches and bags all with the what bad become normal background noise of 'you want massage, follow me'!?
The second day we were up early and eager to get to Hong Kong island. We took a walk around the main centre and stared at many high rise buildings including the house of a thousand arse holes which is may favourite.
This was the first true sky scrapper in Hong Kong and the round windows and sleek simple design the buidling got its name. We took the lift upto the 43rd floor of the Bank of China. Rob stayed pretty close to the lift while I gazed down through the window on the busling city. This tower was supposidly built much taller and grander than the neighbouring HSBC bank!
From there we wandered around the Hong Kong Park. It was rather sereal sitting in a peacefull park watching the brides have the photos taken, turtles bathing on the rocks of the pond and the sound of the waterfall in the background. All this peacefullness was surrounded by the sky scrappers and thousands of city workers which seemed a million miles away. We then headed to the large avairy to see over 600 different species of birds. After a comment from me saying 'Hope they dont have bird flu' we saw a sign and was told by a park official that the park was closed due to an outbreak of bird flu!!!!! I soon ran out of the area shouting for Robbie to stop taking pictures and to hurry up.
One of the must do's of Hong Kong is to take a ride on the double decker trams. Apparently these were shipped over from UK when they were not required anymore. Personally I think we should have kept them, they are so much fun however built for only short people (not Rob)!
We took the tram to the near by Shui Tsui area where we left the city workers behind. We walked through the hundreds of food and medicine stalls dodging the bikes and lorries while at times feeling sick at the sight of such odd food products for sale.
After heading into a small mall selling traditional souveniers and heading up to a full on ballroom to interrupt the dancing we quickly headed back to the city centre to go up to Victoria Peak. We took the famous peak tram up to top to see the city from the highest point.
The day was quite cloudy however it still took your breath away looking at the number of sky scrappers. The tram up becomes very steep at points so the floor is angled to help the climb up. At the top we Rob just about made the number of escalator climbs to the top of the small mall where you can go outside to see the view. While Rob hugged the building sides I took the pictures from the edge. After about 10 minutes up the top and Rob looking like he was about to pass out (veritgo!) we quickly bought a pint in the bar and watched rugby to give Rob time to recooperate!
After our rather full day of sight seeing we decided to spend the night on the town. Most bars have happy hour so we downed a quick pint and a mojito cocktail (worst we have ever had, it was made with mint flavour and tasted of mouth wash!) before heading back to get changed into fresh clothes to hit the town in the Soho district. While in Soho we took the rather long 25 escalators up through the district. It was a rather mad having such a huge run of escalators through the town.
The next day I woke up with the worst hangover in the world to the noise of the nerby Nathan Road and the drilling by the building site opposite our room. Yuk. Not sure whether the aspirin and biscuit would stay down we went back to sleep until mid day. Unfortunately most of this day was rulled out through my feeling so for myself headache but we did manage to take a return trip on the famous Star ferry over to Hong Kong island and have a burger in an Irish bar!! (it was only 3 quid including soup and drink so do forgive us).
As this was our last night in Hong Kong we decided to visit the Temple Street Night market and do some haggling. The market was not quite as impressive as the nearby ladies market and the sellers were not the budging on the price type so we headed to the ladies market.
After Rob bought some fake CK pants and a fake watch, my head could not take any more from the 'you want bag missy' or 'how much you give me missy' so it was back to the hostel and a decent sleep to prepare for our flight to Bangkok and on to Cambodia.