Wednesday, July 8, 2015

What to see and visit in Hong Kong (my favourites)

Hello peeps,

Four years ago today we took a (crazy?) leap of faith, and moved to Hong Kong.  I do not regret it.  I love this city, it has stolen my heart.

I am asked quite often what to see and do when in Hong Kong. Here are my favourites (all opinions expressed are my own).

Star Ferry
We love riding the Star Ferry.  I can't explain it, we just love it. The Star Ferry is quintessentially Hong Kong. The harbour is a great place to view Hong Kong's impressive skyline, both the HK Island side and Kowloon side.  How can you not love this skyline?

HK night time skyline.

The Tian Tan Buddha (big Buddha)

Big buddha. 

On Lantau island, there is the Tian Tan Buddha. Most people call it the big Buddha. It is rather large, being 34 metres tall.  From Tung Chung you can catch a cable car (or take a bus if you are scared of heights). I recommend you book tickets online to avoid the very long queue.  
The cable car ride is amazing, offering views of HK airport, Tung Chung, the South China Sea and North Lantau Country Park.  There are 268 steps leading up to the big Buddha so wear comfortable shoes.  
Other things I love to see when here are the Po Lin Monastery and take the walk to the Wisdom Path.

The Wisdom Path

LockCha Tea House
I love visiting the LockCha Tea House.  There is such a beautiful serene atmosphere, they have a huge tea selection to choose from (over 100 different teas) and the dim sum menu is very yummy (vegetarian food only).
If you are planning to go there around lunch or dinner time, I recommend you phone (+852 2805-1360) and make a booking, website here.  It is closed the second Tuesday of each month.
MTR: Admiralty, Exit C1. Follow the signs for Hong Kong Park.

Hong Kong Park
Hong Kong Park is worth a look, especially if you have children. There are a few children's playgrounds, a waterfall, a large pond with fish and terrapins (turtles, fun to watch), an aviary and a greenhouse.
I love how this park is almost surrounded by tall buildings but it still feels like a park.
MTR: Admiralty, Exit C1. Follow the signs for Hong Kong Park.

Victoria Peak
I've never heard anyone call it Victoria Peak.  Everyone refers to it as "The Peak".  I love going for the crazy steep tram ride and the amazing views over HK (if you are lucky to get a clear day).  There is often long queues for the tram, get there early or be prepared to wait.  There is usually pushing and shoving when you finally can board a tram, be careful if you are with children or the elderly.  It is every person for themselves, the tram is filled right up,  I found standing during the ride quite awkward (so join the crowd and rush and push for a seat).

The Peak 

In true HK style, there are two shopping centres/malls at the top, in case you have shopping to do. There are lots of places to eat.  You will need to buy a ticket to get to the highest viewing level.  It is well worth it.  I love the view.  I could stay for hours, there is so much to see when you stop and really look.
Try and pick a clear day when you visit, check the weather and pollution levels (but to be honest, most days are high pollution)
MTR: Central, Exit J2.

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
The Ten thousand Buddhas Monastery is not a real monastery.  There are well over 10,000 statues of Buddha on the site and 5 temples, the main temple is stunning. There are no resident monks.  I must warn you about the fake monks that wait for tourists near the entrance to the site.  They were very pushy and demanding on the day we visited, they blocked our way and made it difficult to pass.  It was not until we were in the actual site that we saw these signs warning us about the fake monks.

Beware of the fake monks.

The walk up is reasonably steep, there are steps and a ramp.  Stop and find your favourite gold Buddha, I loved so many of them, I couldn't choose just one.

On the first level you will find the main hall (that displays over 10,000 Buddha statues), a pagoda, many more Buddha's, some pavilions and a basic restaurant (the vegetarian spring rolls were yummy)

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

You can walk up to another higher level and find more temples, decorative gardens and of course, many more Buddha statues.
MTR: Sha Tin, Exit B. Follow signs to the Sha Tin Government Offices, the entrance is behind this building, at the end of Sheung Wo Che Road.

Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden
The Chi Lin Nunnery is a Buddhist temple complex that includes a nunnery, temple halls and gardens.  There are many buildings to explore, I found all very beautiful and so serene.

Chi Lin Nunnery

The Nan Lian Garden is next to the Chi Lin Nunnery.  It is designed in the Classical style of the Tang Dynasty (618 AD - 907 AD).  It is a beautiful oasis in the middle of urban Hong Kong.  I love that it feels so peaceful yet you can see the tall buildings that surround it.
MTR: Diamond Hill, exit C2 and follow the signs (or the crowds of tourists on a busy day)

Other places you may like:
Man Mo Temple, Sheung Wan.
Tin Hau Temple, Yau Ma Tei.
Sky 100 Observation Deck, Hong Kong's tallest building.
Hong Kong Observation Wheel (ferris wheel)

What are your favourite places to visit in Hong Kong?  Do tell me.

Have a great day.

Cat xox