Monday, April 17, 2017

Hong Kong | Day One

A building with bamboo scaffolding

Victoria Harbour

Star Ferry Pier and Maritime Museum

Hong Kong Observation Wheel

Overpasses connecting buildings

Double-decker buses

On our first day in Hong Kong, we decided to make the most of the sunny weather, and walk down to Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, and then take the Star Ferry across to Hong Kong Island.
We were staying in a small room in an AirBnb Guesthouse on Kowloon Peninsula in a nice neighborhood close to markets and lots of restaurants. Our room was tiny! Just two beds, one very small double bed, and a single bed. A closet for a bathroom, with a sink, shower and toilet in one- you had to sit sideways on the toilet because the wall was too close to the toilet! This is standard in Hong Kong. There are 7 million people living in Hong Kong, densely packed into the city in towering tall buildings that stick up thin as matchsticks in the skyline.

Hong Kong Park

Turtles in Hong Kong Park

Orchids in the greenhouse in Hong Kong Park

Teddy bears chilling out on their porch in the greenhouse

The Tai Chi garden walkway

The views of the skyline from the park

Hong Kong Park's bird aviary

For a city with such a huge population, I had no idea that there were so many beautiful parks in the city center of Hong Kong. After taking the short Star Ferry crossing to Hong Kong Island, we decided to walk up to Hong Kong Park before visiting Victoria Peak, the highest point in Hong Kong. As soon as we walked into the park, I felt the sense of peace and happiness at being surrounded by nature, even when the skyscrapers surrounding us were still visible from the park. Despite the craziness of the city outside the park walls, with it's towering buildings, endless shopping malls, and neon lights, the lush greenness of the park offers a way to escape the big city. How lucky are the locals in Hong Kong to have a chance to experience the best of both worlds- busy and vibrant city life, combined with the calming and revitalizing process of spending time within nature. Hong Kong Park is a wonderful park with many different gardens, including a greenhouse filled with tropical plants. The bird aviary is also spectacular, and offers you a chance to observe many different species of birds among a lush green backdrop. I was so impressed by both parts of the aviary and greenhouse, and entrance to both was free!

The view from the Peak Tower

The Peak tram coming up the hill

 Right next to the Hong Kong Park is the tram stop for 'The Peak Tram', which takes you up to Victoria Peak. The Peak Tram reminded me very much of a similar tram that takes you up to Mount Floyen in Bergen, although the Peak Tram was a much steeper ride. The queue for the tickets for the tram was crazy! It took us over an hour just to get tickets, and then we waited even longer to actually get on the tram. In my opinion, the wait for the tram ride wasn't really worth it, although it was a unique experience to ride in a tram so steeply! The view from the top was quite beautiful, despite the weather being a bit hazy and foggy. We took the bus back down to the bottom of the peak, and wished we had just taken the bus up there rather than wait in the queue for the tram!

Victoria Harbour

The Star Ferry

Busy 'Nathan Road'

Nathan and Charlotte on 'Nathan Road'

 After visiting The Peak, we walked around Hong Kong Island for a while, and then took the Star Ferry back to Kowloon. We had dinner near our guesthouse, which was pork and rice, served in a big tented street food area. It was the best pork and rice we have tasted in Asia so far!

We found it funny that our guesthouse was near a main road called 'Nathan Road'. We stopped and took some pictures there, before slowly working our way back home, observing the busy Hong Kong nightlife, before taking an early night in preparation for our continuing adventures in the morning.
That's all for day one in Hong Kong... I'll post about the rest of our stay there separately :)

Thanks for reading,
Hannah xx

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