I chanced upon this pretty good deal on groupon one day for a 3D 2N trip to Hong Kong inclusive of flight, stay at a great hotel, half day sight seeing and transfer from the airport and booked two of these for my husband and me, since it was a good deal and it had visa on arrival 😊 so our bags packed for the weekend for a much needed break from the hectic schedule at work, we left for hongkong on Saturday morning from Singapore, on 23rd aug. After the usual smooth immigration at Singapore airport and shopping for books to read on the journey, we boarded Cathay pacific. Amazing flight, noisy kids, lunch on board and movies on the in flight entertainment, 3.5 hours later, we land at hongkong airport. To my pleasant surprise, the immigration and visa at hongkong is probably the cheapest ( coz it’s free!) and the least hassle free experience, they don’t even stamp your passport! That was pretty impressive😊 so we waited at the airport for our guide to pick us up and headed off to our hotel on the bus
I have to say, the view was quite similar to Singapore , yet quiet different with those hills on the backdrop of really high buildings. We checked in to our hotel by 3:30 pm and headed out to the streets in search of food, since we were hungry again! Now here’s the first mistake of the trip- if you don’t speak or can’t read Chinese, don’t venture out yourself, at least in he Kowloon area😊 we tried searchin for places to eat , but couldn’t figure out any of the signs, so we resigned to eat at a common bakery in a mall. I got really disheartened and we went back to our hotel to look for stuff to do in the evening. Luckily we found out that there was a harbour walk area just minutes away from our hotel and there was a space museum there too, where we decided to catch the next planetarium show since I love to watch those😊 but I guess luck wasn’t on our side, and after a good 20 min walk navigating through a sea of people and glittering shops, we were told that the tickets were sold off😞 nevertheless, the place there was really good and the harbour walk was the best part of the day! There we’re live performances going on at various places by street artists, we crossed by sea of stars, which is like an area with statues of famous Chinese actors, their footprints etc. the harbour was beautiful and we walked around there taking pictures amongst thronges of other people taking pictures until sunset..
Tired and thirsty, we headed off to temple street for dinner and drinks, and landed in this bridal house restaurant, with no idea how the food there would be.. We got seated in this booth which was totally private and it was pretty funny being there, just the two of us.. Hehe.. We ordered for beer and some starters and I ordered rice in white n tomato sauce, but we were really dissappointed with the food there. Even I couldn’t down any of my food, so that was a disaster of a dinner- we literally just had the beer there😊
So since our adventurous ‘do it ourselves’ sightseeing was kind of disastrous the evening before, we decided to take the effort to wake up early and go for the half day sight seeing arranged by the groupon deal, which was totally worth it! We left our hotel at 7 am with another Singaporean couple and our guide- David, and headed straight to have dimsums breakfast at this famous hongkong joint. It was just superb, the custard bao n tarts, the fish n prawn dimsums, the rice cakes, green tea, everything was awesome! Breakfast done, we headed off to the first place on our list- bauhinia square. This place is named after the national flower of hongkong- bauhinia. It is said that the golden replica of the flower was given as a gift to the people of hongkong by the Chinese govt, to commemorate their freedom from the people’s republic of china. We took our usual pictures there, walked about a bit and headed off to the next destination.
Nest stop- Victoria peak, mid level. So at first glance, hongkong seems to have only buildings and some far off hills surrounding it, and this is one such hill, which is not so far off and is probably the most beautiful place to stay at in hongkong, which is why I think only the rich and famous poeple can afford villas and flats there. We saw jackie chan’s house there too! It was so dreamy! Sigh.. My husband and I imagined living in a house like that, waking up every morning to a view like that and being that rich. Luckily the day dreaming lasted for as long as our picture taking time there.. Hehe
On our way downhill towards our next stop, we were entertained by our guide and fellow travellers by stories of the feng shui master and his affair with the rich old woman, her downfall followed by his downfall..listening to their stories and mythology, we realised how similar Indian and Chinese cultures are really😊
We reached our next stop which was the Repluse bay ( no there is nothing repulsive about this place, on the contrary it was another beautiful place). This is one of the few beaches hongkong has, and is next to this Chinese temple which was used by pirates and sailors during old days and days when the British still ruled the country. It is said that the place is called Repluse bay, since when the local fishermen would pray to the god of sea, he would create conditions in that area that would ‘repulse’ any pirate ships 😊 although it was really hot and sunny, I loved the view and calm of this place and was sad to leave this place for our next destination..
Some time later, we were at our next stop, at Aberdeen, which is a small fishing village in hongkong. David, our guide mentioned to us that hongkong was originally a fishing island and the natives used to live in such fishing villages, on their boats and this is one of those few places in the new and shiny city which still gives tourists a glimpse of how it was in the bygone era😊 the funny thing was though, that although we were supposed to view the old fishing village, our boat ride started at the jetty which was laden with really expensive looking, swanky , probably private state of the art yatches! Lol! The boat ride was short and sweet, but I thought the fishing village was almost non existent, to be frank😊
By now, it was 12 already and since we’d has such an early breakfast, I started to get hungry again, but we still had some shops to go to, as part of the tour plan. So off we headed to our first shop- the jade jewellery mall. Now I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures here, but the most interesting part of this place was that we were ushered into this hall with only mirrors and doors and a few people in suits. They put some stickers on us and ushered us into another tiny room with chairs, posters of their gems, while
One of the suited ladies explained to is their jewellery making process and quality standards using a workflow of pictures! It was so impressive and easy to understand and remember! I was impressed! After our class was over, we were again lead through this mirrored walk way, like we were being led into some gangster place! Haha.. The doors finally opened and inside was a sea of prospective buyers glued to the multple variety of jewels and jewellery that were on display 😊 sadly, most of this was over our budget, so we just did some window shopping there and left to the next mall. Again, David took us to the gadget mall, where the entry was similar and the stuff was similar to what we already have or had no need for really.. So more window shopping and finally David took us to the lunch place! Thank you, said my tummy quitely😉
The lunch again was amazing for the amount of money we paid, there was rice, scrambled eggs, soy fish, tofu in garlic sauce, barbecue chicken, boiled cabbage and more green tea😊 we also had sweet red beans for dessert, which my husband didn’t like as much.. Heheh
With that our guided tour was over, but we still had more than half the day, so we decided to try the space meuseum show again, but sadly luck was not on our side again and the tickets were all sold out again. Now I also wanted to go and see the big Buddha there, so we decided instead of keeping this for the next day, we’ll just see him today. We took a cab to Lantau Island, reached the place in around 45 minutes and bought the ngong ping 360 package pass, which is more expensive than the regular pass, but it saves you the hassle of standing in a very long queue for the tickets in that sweltering heat, so is totally worth it if you can spend the extra money😊 we got into the cable car real quick and I have to say, that able car ride was so far the longest and the best cable car ride I’ve been in, so far! The view was breath taking as we kept going higher into the hills and the breeze was a relief in that afternoon heat😊
In about half n hour we reached Ngong ping, which is like a small makeshift hi see village created for tourism, sour rounding the bid Buddha statue and the monastery. We were thirsty and hungry again, so stopped by to have some ice creams first and then started our climb up to the big Buddha statue. I have to tell you that it was beautiful! I just find Budhism, their monasteries and all the Buddha statues and places around it really beautiful and peaceful- be it in Orissa, Ladakh, bodh gaya at Bihar in India, or big Buddha at hongkong, I love all of them 😊
We spent a good amount of time here, at the monastery, at the Buddha statue, watched a 4D show, had some coffee and bought a few souvenirs before heading back to the cable car for the ride back😊
Now here’s the thing, when you’re 31 and work in an IT company, you feel as old as a 50 year old, so by the time we reached back to our hotel, we had no strength left in our bodies and all our plans of going out drinking to catch the night life at hongkong went down the drain.. Heheh.. So we just showered, bought some ciders from the 7/11 shop downstairs, ordered in pizza and relaxed at the hotel that night itself😊
We woke up late Monday, and went to the hotel restaurant to have a leisurely breakfast, showered and checked out of the hotel. Since we didn’t want to do much after our really long day yesterday, so we just kept our luggage at the hotel concierge and went to a very swanky mall called ‘elements’ to watch a movie and have lunch. We saw this movie called Lucy in one of the best movie theatres I’ve been to! It was a good experience, followed by lunch at a Japanese restaurant, where we had more green tea and different types of udon dishes😊 we did some window shopping at the mall and then headed back to the hotel to be taxied back to the airport. The checkout was as smooth as the entry, and we were back at home in Singapore by midnight😊
1. Travel to hongkong in autumn or winter, since we were told the weather gets cooler, else it was really hot even now
2. It isn’t a cheap city, so be prepared to spend😊 even without any shopping or drinking outside, I ended up spending around 800 Singapore dollars inclusive of everything- flight, hotel, sightseeing, food etc just for a weekend, which according to my standards is expensive
3. If you aren’t staying at the island, or can’t speak/read Chinese or don’t have friends to show you around, take a guided tour😊
4. I read later that one can hike and bike over some trails there too, which we couldn’t explore, so if you’re into those things then best to try that out and explore those options