After a romantic film-like reunion with Tom Imeson at Hong Kong airport, we began our adventures together… JOKES it was a sweaty and confusing ten minutes of coordinating our whereabouts after venturing to different arrival halls…
Stop 1 – Hong Kong
Hong Kong is truly awesome! The trip started off particularly well when we were reminded that the hotel we’d booked resembled a palace – a palace that serves peanut butter on French Toast for breakfast! And we were located near the cool area of Soho, jam packed with cool bars not too dissimilar to our very own London Soho.
On our first full day we ventured to Lantau island to visit the Tian Tan Buddha. Unfortunately we made the mistake of thinking our arrival at 10:30am would beat the queues to the cable car that takes tourists to the Buddha. It was horrendous – the queues snaked across roads, along walkways and up stairs. It was going to be a two hour wait! Undeterred we sought out Wi-Fi in Starbucks and furiously Googled other ways to get to the Buddha. We found a great article with details of a walk to the top. Two hours later we were laughing after ascending a beautiful trail through the Lantau country park, past stunning waterfalls and monasteries hidden away in the hills.
If you have the energy and don’t want to fork out for a fast track cable car ticket, or join a horrendous queue, take the local bus 34 to Shek Mun Kap village and take the trail from there. It was the best decision of the day! The Buddha was an incredible sight but it was swamped with tourists. The peaceful hike to reach it definitely made it worth it. And we got the cable car back down – which by the way is an incredible piece of engineering – and the queue was just 20 minutes!
The following day we decided to fall in line to get the tram up to Victoria Peak. Although a long wait it was pretty cool riding on the steepest tram railway I’ve ever seen. The views from the Peak were amazing too. Our mornings in Hong Kong definitely seemed clearer and less misty than our late afternoons, so it was worth getting up early to experience the brilliantly clear skyline. And in true Tom and Jenny style we decided that queuing for the tram down was a waste of time. We found the trail down the Peak which wonderfully led us into the city’s botanical gardens and Hong Kong Park – both beautifully landscaped and worth a visit!
That evening we ventured across to the community of Sai Kung where we received the warmest of welcomes from Tom’s Aunt and her family and friends. I was awe struck on discovering the view from our bedroom – a vast stretch of shimmering water peppered with small islands. I could feel this place getting under my skin! We then welcomed in the new year in the heart of the Sai Kung community. It was great to speak to many Brits who have made a home on the other side of the world. And I could see how easy it might be in the right circumstances.
To blast away the fuzzy head from the night before, Tom and I took a kayak out with his cousin to explore the beautiful bay. Making our way between the islands in the afternoon mist was a treat. It would have been so peaceful but we spent a lot of time singing songs with Tom’s six year old cousin!
I was sad to be leaving after just four days. A week would have been a more suitable amount of time. There is so much to see and do across Hong Kong’s various islands and communities. We only scratched the surface. Tom’s Aunt, Uncle and cousin were the most amazing hosts. I sincerely hope to venture out here again. Perhaps when Asia calls to me for another trip I will make Hong Kong a stop-off point on route or on the way home. It’s too good to miss out on. After an emotional departure from the parts of Thailand I’ve grown to love, it’s been very uplifting to discover another part of Asia that whispers in my ear, “see you again soon”.