Plan on taking a trip to Hong Kong?
My first time there was a long weekend during my time while I was teaching in Korea. The flight from Seoul to Hong Kong is very short, only a couple hours, and there are many flight options for preferred time of day.
When you arrive, the airport is on Lantau Island. Also on this island, you can take a lovely cable car ride that will bring you to a big Buddha. The grounds that lead up and around the Buddha are quite beautiful. There are many temples, some touristy areas, and informative (mini-museum like) areas. You’ll find a lot of tourists, and quite a few people there lighting incense and praying. You can easily spend a half-day on this island. My friends and I went right from the plane to avoid back-tracking, so if you’re traveling light, this may be an option for you.
Leaving the island and getting into central Hong Kong is simple. There’s a subway that will take you right there (or to Disneyland in Hong Kong if that’s something you’d want to check out). We decided to stay at a Best Western (Harbor View) – surprisingly affordable for being so central. It’s comparable to Airbnb and even some hostels, (trust me, we looked). Once we arrived and settled in, we met up with our coworkers who departed a day earlier than us, a friend who was living there at the time, and my cousin.
We went to a diner and had some delicious Chinese food, did some catching up, and afterwards we went out in the party district, Lan Kwai Fong. The name of which I only found out after trying to meet up with our Korean co-workers, her telling us she was “Lan Kwai Fong” which left us wondering if this was a place or a building, or at some person’s house. Either way, we ventured to a few different bars, had some drinks on the street (7-11 bar is where it’s at), and an overall good time.
The following day we dragged our hungover asses onto a ferry to Macau. This ferry is not a good idea when you’re hungover – though on the way back it was quite enjoyable. We only spent one day there, though it was a good one. Once at the ferry terminal, we hopped on one of the many casino shuttle buses (completely free!), and this bus took us to the Venetian. On the bus I didn’t see much, well-maintained gardens and lots of large buildings, and quite a bit of construction. The Venetian (and the surrounding Casinos) are massive and extravagant – mind you, a little gaudy. We wandered about in there for a while, did a little gambling, and then moved on. We hopped on another shuttle bus (also free) that took us to Macau tower. Went up, took in the view and then jumped off.
Yes, you read that correctly. We jumped off.
My friend Daniel and I decided to partake in jumping off the second highest bungee jump in the world (they claim to be the highest, but Google tells me there’s one in Colorado that’s higher). Having never bungee-jumped before, we were a little nervous. The guy at the edge had to count me down twice before I jumped. None-the-less, it was a fantastic experience. The only downside, though, is waiting and filling out forms took forever. We didn’t get to do much else with our day in Macau. Once we got out of the tower, we took another bus to meet up with our friends, mostly wandered around and ate some dinner before grabbing our ferry back.
Quick Tip for Macau: The Hong Kong Dollar is taken in Macau (at a 1-1 rate) however the Macau Dollar is very difficult to exchange, so use all of your Macau money in Macau over using your HKD!
On our next day in Hong Kong, I met up with my cousin at the IFC tower for lunch. This building was huge, and the walkways outside connecting to other buildings were a little confusing – but thankfully there are signs (in English) pretty much everywhere. We had some great dumplings and pork mixed with vegetables. That evening a group of us checked out a night market. This place was filled with the most random things: clothes, antiques, jewelry, tarot card readers, sex toys, video games, literally anything you can think of; you can probably find it there. Part way through checking out the market, we stopped for some dim sum. Dim sum is essentially the Chinese version of tapas or small portions of food served in baskets or on small plates. We ate some vegetables, something wrapped in a giant leaf, dumplings, and even a pigeon!
The following day we went to a southern part of Hong Kong called Stanley. This is a beautiful area complete with beaches, another market, parks, and restaurants. They even had love-locks like they do in Korea! I wonder who had them first.
Overall I loved Hong Kong. A day trip to Macau was just perfect, much longer, not so much. I did go back again, and you can see my thoughts on that here. There’s so much more to see and do in Hong Kong, and it seems like a very liveable city.