Hong Kong 2024

Community Highlights Asia Hong Kong 2024

01 March - 06 March 2024

Our visit to Hong Kong was combined with a longer trip to Taiwan and followed a few days in Taipei, Taiwans capital.
Following a smooth transition from Taiwan into Hong Kong, we took a taxi from the airport to our hotel in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai district. The drive from the airport (built on reclaimed land just off the island of Lantau) gave us a chance to see the busy shipping lanes and vast cargo terminals of Kowloon.

Our first day was overcast with a spot of rain in the air. We dedicated this day to exploring our local area. Our hotel bedroom window gave us a good view of what was to the south of us. Steep forest clad mountains with a few apartment blocks clinging precariously to the slopes.



But it was to the north that we explored today. A subway took us under a busy road, past the Hong Kong Jockey Club & Racecourse and into the narrow bustling streets of Wan Chai. Crowds of people went about their daily business, so many that staying on the pavement was difficult at times. All around us their was a mix of western commercialism, with neon lights and flashy department stores, alongside tradition Chinese shops selling an array of other products.


The traffic was busy, which made steping off the pavement hazardous, but not noisy. It seemed that most of the private cars were electric, all the taxi’s ran LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) and trams appeared to glide by.


After exploring a number of side streets, we made our way towards the waterfront. Passing under flyovers, where Chinese healing ceremony's were taking place, and along elevated walkways.

Traditional healing ceremony underneath the overpass

Traditional healing ceremony underneath the overpass

We eventually arrived at Victoria Harbour. In front of us across a narrow stretch of water was Kowloon and the mainland China. From the waterfront Kowloon’s skyscraper stretched back as far as the eye could see. With a not dissimilar landscape looming behind us on Hong Kong island. Children’s amusements covered much of the promenade and the massive Convention and Exhibition Centre dominated the view west. The Star Ferry chugged its way back and forth to Kowloon, avoiding numerous other vessels that use this stretch of water.

Hong Kong Exhibition Center

Hong Kong Exhibition Center

large_IMG_5371.jpegVictoria Waterfront

Victoria Waterfront


A few hundred meters to the east is where the Noonday Gun is stationed and right on the dot of midday it was fired, echoing all around the surrounding area. It was reassuring to hear as the event has never missed a day since 1860. This was also the signal for us to make our way back to the hotel, circumventing new streets as we made our way. Still suffering from jet lag we rested in the afternoon and returned later to see much of the same area, but at night.

The next day was a bit brighter and warmer, just right for a visit to Kowloon. The usual back streets and elevated walkways got us to the waterfront. Which was much busier than the previous day. Families were enjoying their Sunday day off from work and teenagers looked for every possible position to take “selfies”.
The Star Ferry left from the waterfront, for the short journey across Victoria Harbour to Tsim Sea Tsui on Kowloon. A route that has been in operation since 1888, takes only about 10 minutes and is very affordable. The view from the water was worth the trip on its own.


Once in Kowloon we were in mainland China and ready to explore. The Clock Tower was the first thing that caught our eye, built in the UK and shipped here to help traders keep note of time. Behind the Clock Tower and in front of the Culture Building was a large statue of the “Flying Frenchman”. We didn’t get much information about what it stood for but saw it was made from discarded bits of metal. The statue drew us into the Culture Building, but other than an interesting gift shop, had little to make us stay longer.
Back outside we joined the throngs of other people strolling along the waterfront, unlike everyone else we didn’t stop constantly for a selfie or group photo. The waterfront provided a great view of Hong Kong island back across the water as well as displaying plaques of famous people. The only one we recognised was Bruce Lee and there was a whole statue for him.

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee


Following a quick refreshment stop we entered the Museum of Art. Spread over several floors, each displaying a different style of art or culture, it also gave an elevated view of Victoria Harbour. We explored each floor and got enthralled by what was displayed. Everything from modern and historic art, to Chineses calligraphy and period furniture and culture. We even stumbled upon a small orchestral performance as we were leaving.


Now getting a bit tired we returned to the ferry and travelled back to Hong Kong island. Feeling that we wouldn’t want to eat out that night, we instead bought our evening meal from the M&S Food-store. The detour to M&S also gave us the opportunity to check out “Old” Wan Chai. An area full of small mini marts and street stalls.


The centre of Hong Kong island is dominated by forest clad mountains, leaving most of the development around the coast.
It was now time to leave the hustle and bustle of downtown Hong Kong and get up into the clean and fresh air of those mountains. Two friends, both local residents, had offered to show us the area. So we accepted their offer and met them at the Exchange Square bus station, ready to start the days activity.
Having left the concrete jungle of the coastal strip the bus wound its way up into the mountains. The scenery got ever greener as we gained elevation, together with a reduction in visibility. Unfortunately, today was a bit overcast with cloud cover clinging to the upper mountain slopes. As we progressed our guides pointed out places of interest and provided the stories that accompanied them.
At 552m the Peak is the highest point on the island and disembarkation point. From here we were on foot and with a plan to follow the circular path around the mountain top. But first it was a short detour to a WW2 battery, down some steep steps. Although there isn’t much left of the defences it was a good place to appreciate the numerous Butterfly species that fluttered around the site.
Back on the circular path the weather was improving. This provided the views we were hoping for. The beach towns on the south side of the island were first to be spotted along with the South China Sea beyond. Then as we progressed the skyscrapers became more numerous until we were looking down on the more familiar area of Central Hong Kong, Victoria Harbour and Kowloon. The path provided more than just a view. The foliage was varied and interesting with exotic woods and lichen cover branches. The bird sound was ever present although the individuals creating making those sounds were more illusive. Hiding amongst the trees were homes in varying states of repair all with there own stories most of which were unknown. Except for one that was supposed to be the most haunted house in Hong Kong.

large_IMG_5493.jpeglarge_IMG_5496.jpeglarge_IMG_5470.jpegThe ghost house on top of Victoria Peak

The ghost house on top of Victoria Peak


The completion of the walk brought us back to the bus station. We had planned to walk back down into town but the path was slippery under foot so we took the bus instead. A Chinese lunch was the next order of the day. But that sadly had to be abandoned when one of our friends was robbed in a walkway elevator. Lucky she was not harmed during the robbery but was emotionally scared and left with the administrative nightmare of cancelling card and replacing documents.
We said goodbye to our friends, as they had more important things to attend to than a lunch date, and decided to do some more sightseeing. Our route started at the Central Ferry Terminal, took us through the Central and Wan Chai Districts, eventually arriving back at our hotel in Happy Valley. On our way we passed many famous landmarks, such as Statue Square, Chater Garden, The Court of Final Appeal building, Bank of China and HSBC Towers and many more less famous but equally interesting. In particular Wan Chai’s side streets and covered market.


A wonderful feature of Hong Kong is its 792m long string of escalators. Linking all the roads between Queens Road and Conduit Street. Its the best way for pedestrians to get around the steep districts of Central, the Mid-Levels and SoHo. It runs downhill in the morning to assist rush hour commuters and then uphill from 10:00am. Riding the escalator and exploring the streets that run off it had been recommended, so this is what we did on our last day.
The hotel shuttle bus took us close to the bottom of the escalator and short walk got us to the foot of it. We then proceeded to ride all of the 20 sections up to Conduit Street, assessing where we would explore on the way down. Each section had its own charm, meaning many stops where made as we descended the steps back to Queens Road. Quant shops, street art, bustling markets and people watching grabbed our attention as we made our way down. With a refreshment stop at a pub half way down. Everywhere people were stopping to take photo’s, not of the surroundings, but of themselves. We assumed this was a requirement for their daily social media postings. One place in particular caught our attention in this respect, the Bakehouse. The Bakehouse sells good quality breads and pastries with many purchasers needing to photograph themselves with the blue Bakehouse bag outside the establishment before moving on.

large_IMG_5565.jpegHong Kong Taxi are all red

Hong Kong Taxi are all red


A late Chinese lunch followed our time on and around the escalator. Then a visit to the Blue House and Lung To Temple finished the days activities. The Blue House is a traditional house that had survived the modernisation of the area, and is painted blue. It now houses a gallery and a shop.

The blue house one of oldest building in Hong Kong

The blue house one of oldest building in Hong Kong

The blue house

The blue house

Further up the street and hidden behind Banyan trees is the Lung To Buddhist Temple. A beautiful building full of colour and with the smell of incense wafting out of the entrance doorway. It seemed that non worshipers were allowed in, so in we went. Candle flames flickered, smoke drifted from burning incense sticks and buddhist statues of all sizes filled the room. Worshipers continued their devotions, undisturbed by our presence, so we didn’t feel that we were intruding. A lovely oasis tucked away amongst towering skyscrapers.


Our time in Hong Kong is now complete, we return to Taiwan today. We seem to have seen a lot in our short stay but equally know there is so much more to see. Just looking out of our hotel bedroom window reminds me of two recommended activities we didn’t manage to fit in; a night at Happy Valley Racecourse and an historic walk through Hong Kong’s cemetery on the hill. If we are in this part of the world again a definite stop over is on the cards.

Personal Observations & Interesting Facts

Burger Dining in Hong Kong
Although we only had one burger during our stay in Hong Kong, it did come with a novel extra. Eating a burger is never a simple task. If you tackle it with a knife and folk it inevitably falls apart so you are tempted to pick it up in your hands. Handling a burger also has its drawbacks, no sooner you bite into it the sauces spill out over your hands. In Hong Kong, or at least in the establishment we visited, you are provided with a small sachet to accompany your burger. Inside that sachet is a plastic glove, with four fingers and a thumb. Once on your hand the oozing sauces go on the glove not your hand. So avoiding sticky hand syndrome for the rest of the evening.

Chinese Number 4
The word for number 4 in Chinese sounds very similar to the word for death. Because of this floor numbers don’t contain the number 4. This explains why our hotel in Hong Kong had no Floor 4, 14 or 24 and our hotel in Taipei missed out Floor 4.
We also expect that that superstitious Chinese would never travel home on the day we have chosen. We fly back to the UK on the forth of April: 4/4/24 .

Space for a Dragon
Hong Kong’s skyscrapers seem to be packed tightly together. But when you look more closely there are some large gaps between them. The reason for this is to allow the Mountain Dragon access to the sea. If this hadn’t been built into the landscape design the Dragon may have put a curse on any building blocking his path or even one on the whole city.

This featured blog entry was written by MAd4travel from the blog MAd4Travel.
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By MAd4travel

Posted Wed, Mar 20, 2024 | Hong Kong | Comments