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Hong Kong je t'aime

By: Tanja Wessels Posted: December-16-2009 in
The Aqualuna Junk
Tanja Wessels

Whether it’s a stopover or a destination, Hong Kong is not to be missed. Zig zag the city by train, tram, ferry or cable car but be sure to experience even a few of its must-do’s.

Hong Kong is a city unlike any other and one that won me over from the word ‘go’. The sheer number of contrasts that vie for space on its various surfaces is the stuff of magic – which makes my favourite activity here getting lost and then found again.
For those new to the city there are some boxes that simply have to be ticked and for those more familiar with it, the number of quirky chic places and experiences just keep growing.

Here are a few suggestions for a day in Hong Kong, conjured up from my own experiences and curiosity:

The best way to start the day is with a stroll around The Peak. The earlier you start the better, cooler weather in the morning makes it more pleasant and there is something very enchanting about watching a city wake up and get ready for the day. The 3.5-kilometre circuit affords stunning views over the South China Sea and Victoria Harbour.

If you’re not the type who wakes up bright-eyed and bushy tailed first thing in the morning- fret not, this walk is leisurely and worth every step for the breathtaking vistas. Take bus number 15 from Exchange Square Bus Terminus (MTR Hong Kong Station Exit D) or a taxi up to the peak then look out for Lugard Road that also has a Hong Kong Trail sign on it.
Another alternative to getting there is to take the Peak Tram from the Lower Peak Tram Terminus on Garden Road (Bus 15C from the lay-by outside Central Pier 7 or walk from MTR Central Station Exit J2). The tram has been running since 1888 and the number of tourists lining up to experience it proves that its popularity is still running strong.

Food-wise “Dim-Sum” literally translated, "from the heart" is the name of the game in this part of the world and consists of a wide range of light dishes served alongside Chinese tea. It is generally served in the morning until noon with the items served in a small steamer basket or a small plate. My favourite is Dim Sum (63 Sing Woo Rd., Happy Valley, Causeway Bay, Phone: (852) 2834-8893) but another popular option is City Hall Maxim’s Palace (City Hall 2/F Lower Block 5-7 Edinburgh Place, Central Phone: (852) 2521 1303).

Walked and fed, it is now time for some culture – and culture vultures will not be left feeling dissatisfied after their Hong Kong trip.

Hollywood Road is home to more galleries than 7-Elevens and one that is always worth stopping in at is The Cat Street Gallery (222 Hollywood Road Sheung Wan, Phone: (852) 2291 0006). I’ll never forget the David Lynch & Christian Louboutin exhibition I went to there, the atmosphere was as cool as the collaboration between the filmmaker and shoemaker.

Another gallery I highly recommend is the Ooi Botos Gallery. Hong Kong’s most avant-garde gallery focuses on emerging and established contemporary photography, video, digital, multi-media and installation art. It goes where few other art spaces dare to go.

Hong Kong shopping is really something out of this world. The naturally dormant consumerist in me gets an electric shock every time I find myself on the pavements of this city. Everyone is catered for here- the Gucci/Chanel/Louis Vuitton crowd can give their credit cards a work out to remember and for those more excited by the words ‘bargain’ and ‘hunting’ this place is the big kahuna.
Wan Chai is where to head for designer discount shopping, although truth be told, these types of shops are scattered all over the place and pop up in unexpected places. That is why getting lost in Hong Kong is so much fun. Get on a tram and hop off whenever anything of interest grabs your eye. Johnston Road, Hennessey Road, Queen’s Road East, Wanchai Road…wear comfortable shoes, place any nagging travel companions in a coffee shop and get ready for some serious hunting. Even shops that look unassuming can be little treasure chests for labels such as Marc Jacob’s and Vivienne Westwood, to mention but a few.

Star Ferry will float you across Victoria Harbour over to Kowloon where the shopping madness can continue. Star Ferry is an experience not to be missed- the feeling one gets when on it is magical. It always reminds me why I love travelling so much.
Once in Kowloon get the MTR to Prince Edward Station and enjoy the Goldfish Market on Tung Choi Street before going to the Ladies Market on Fa Yuen Street. The market itself sells all manner of cheap and cheerful bits and bobs. But the shops that run alongside it are not to be missed for their designer clothing.

If you still have energy, head to the Temple Street Night Market. It is an experience. Open 7 days a week; you can shop from 4pm till late. The nearest MTR station, Jordan and Temple Street, runs parallel to Nathan Road. Clothing, accessories, pirated goods of all kinds- most anything you can imagine. Just remember to bargain hard.
How to end a day like this? Head back to Hong Kong Island for a pre-dinner drink with an amazing view.

Sevva (25/F, Prince’s Bldg, 10 Chater Road, Central, Phone: (855) 2537 1388) is the place for it. Get there before 8pm to enjoy the nightly light show. Named the "World's Largest Permanent Light and Sound Show" by Guinness World Records, it involves 44 key buildings on both sides of Victoria Harbour.

A few cocktails and impressive lights on buildings later should mean that you are ready for dinner. Bistro Manchu (33 Elgin Street, Phone: (855) 2536-9218) is always a good choice; their super spicy Manchurian dishes and boiled dumplings are not to be missed. And if you don’t want to say goodnight to Hong Kong just yet I strongly suggest you walk a couple of doors down and go to the Takeout Comedy club (34 Elgin Street, Phone: (852) 6220 4436) the best laughter remedy in Asia. With stand-up comics from around the world, you will leave with a smile on your face. For more late night revelry head down to Wyndam Street and work your way through the bars and crowds lining the street…

And although I am sure you will never be caught dead with an I ♥ Hong Kong t-shirt, deep down inside you will always be wearing one.

Dim Sum (63 Sing Woo Rd., Happy Valley, Causeway Bay, Phone: (852) 2834-8893)
City Hall Maxim’s Palace (City Hall 2/F Lower Block 5-7 Edinburgh Place, Central Phone: (852) 2521 1303)
The Cat Street Gallery (222 Hollywood Road Sheung Wan, Phone: (852) 2291 0006)
Ooi Botos Gallery 5 Gresson Street, Wanchai (at 88 Queen's Road East) Phone: (852) 25279733
Sevva (25/F, Prince’s Bldg, 10 Chater Road, Central, Phone: (855) 2537 1388)
Bistro Manchu (33 Elgin Street, Phone: (855) 2536-9218)
Takeout Comedy club (34 Elgin Street, Phone: (852) 6220 4436)

user avatar Anonymous

i am here!

Hello Tanja, i coincidently saw your intresting tipps and hints on hongkong while i am just here for one week (khmer new year refugee...). thanks for sharing!
Where are you at the moment?
Eva, Phnom Penh

user avatar Anonymous

i surrender

i want to go to hong kong !


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