Hong Kong | Hong Kong

14 June 2015 – 21 June 2015

I guess you could say we were feeling particularly backpackery on the night of 13 June 2015 – so backpackery that we decided to sleep on the floor of the Kuala Lumpur airport. We’d weighed up the situation: an airport motel vs a bus ticket and accommodation in KL city vs sleeping on the floor at KLIA2. Sleeping at the airport came up as the cheapest option every time. I’d done it with my friend Bridget on a stop over between Cambodia and Borneo years ago when KLIA2 was still LCCT, and Mike and Vic did it only four weeks prior when we met them to begin our Sri Lankan adventure – it was gonna be sweet.

It was not sweet.

In the 30 days between Mike and Vic’s stay and ours, their ‘oh yeah, we just lay on these chairs and slept’ was more for us ‘oh yeah so we just slept on the only bit of carpet that wasn’t replaced in the airport renovation, just beside arrivals so it was nice and bright and noisy all night.’

At the time it was a bit average. Not the worst ever, but I had to lie on a few too many crumbs for my liking and there were FAR too many smelly feet all up in my goodies. Serves us right for being tight. But hey look, we survived. Life is an adventure, people!

Sri Lanka to Hong Kong. What a contrast. We had ten full days in Hong Kong. A lot of people said to us that this would be too long, but surprisingly we were busy with something new to do each day and we still didn’t make it to all the places we wanted to see.

Chung King Mansion

When we first started looking for a place to stay in Hong Kong we realised there were two choices. Hong Kong Island or Kowloon – which is on the mainland a short ferry/metro/taxi ride away from the island. We decided to split our time between the two.

The internet is full of information, as you know, and it was telling me that staying in the Chung King Mansion was almost a rite of passage for a backpacker. Chung King Mansion is five apartment blocks, each 17 stories high full of small hotels, hostels and private apartments. The five blocks are all connected at ground level and share elevators.

Here’s Michael walking in.
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We booked a hostel in here because it was cheap, not because we were trying to tick a box. In fact, if you’re going, I’d recommend staying anywhere but here. Downstairs is full of currency exchangers, postcards, sex toys, laundromats, men offering you tailor made suits, copy bags, copy watches, copy anything, and the whole place smells like a big, fat, orange tikka masala. I mean, I love curry. But not that curry. We read stories online of Chung King being full prostitution and drug dealers – the man who ran our hostel told us not to use the stairs for this reason – always take the elevator – it has security cameras. Other stories mentioned Interpol raids clearing out entire blocks in the middle of the night. While we didn’t experience any of this first hand, we did unfortunately listen to a man physically and verbally abuse his wife in the room next to us. Their child was in the room too. It was awful. I wish I could say we did something heroic to stop it, but we we froze. Another guest tried to help. Management was called. The police came. The family left the next morning.

Chung King Mansion everybody!

One more thing. The rooms really are as small as everyone says. As in no standing room if our luggage wasn’t under the bed. I was expecting small, but I was still kind of shocked.

Enough about Chung King – here are some other, nicer, things that we did and saw in Hong Kong.

Goldfish Market

Pretty self explanatory. A street full of fish and everything you’d ever want for your home aquarium. I’m not a fan of fish in bowls, less a fan of fish in bags – but this street was still quite interesting.

Flower Market

Again, self explanatory.


Bird Market

Third time lucky – A market. With birds.



Avenue of Stars

The Avenue of Stars is on the edge of Kowloon that looks back towards Hong Kong Island. We took a stroll along here during the afternoon. With handprints and statues, the strip celebrates the peeps who made Hong Kong the ‘Hollywood of the East.’

We returned that same evening to watch ‘A Symphony of Lights’ – a light show set to music on the building and skyline of Hong Kong Island.

Hong Kong Museum of History

We spent the best part of a day at this museum. Just so you know, it’s closed on Tuesdays (we tried to go) and FREE on Wednesdays. We struck it lucky and saved ourselves 2 HKD each. YUS!

It’s a blimmin’ good museum. Huge. Lots of history. Interactive. Massive displays. Tectonic plates. Wildlife. Culture. Food. A tram. A bank. I really couldn’t speak more highly of it. If you live in Hong Kong and you haven’t been, well, shame to your name. Go.

Here’s my favourtite photo from our museum visit. It’s a dog. Bless. Ruby’s a dog.

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Happy Valley Racecourse

It’s so weird. There’s a racecourse in the middle of this hugely dense city. It’s so out of place but so normal at the same time.

Big Buildings

There are lots of buildings in Hong Kong – and they’re big. I’d never seen anything like it. Impressed.

Victoria Peak

We took the Star Ferry from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island, then the Peak Tram up Victoria Peak. It’s a steep tram and an impressive view from the top. Check it out.


Other things we did and saw

  • How about a meal out with Chris & his friends on a Thursday night followed by a few drinks? A-okay with me. Lamb shanks, crispy pork, fish and salads – perhaps the best meal I’d had in months.
  • Chris and Emily were also extremely generous and lent us their apartment for the weekend while they were away. We poached eggs every morning we were there. That sounds lame but it was 100% so exciting – we hadn’t cooked for ourselves in around five weeks – and poaching eggs isn’t even really cooking. It’s the little things.
  • We did other Hong Kong-y things like ride the tram around town, walk past fancy shops, and ride the mid level escalators – just to say we’d done that.
  • We spent an afternoon and evening with Michael’s second cousin, Paddy,, who he last saw perhaps 15 years ago. Big thanks to Sam and Prue for the after party at theirs. Small world / Christchurch – Hong Kong.
  • We saw this awful picture of a chicken outside a restaurant – we didn’t eat there.
  • We visited Kowloon Park. Even the water is green.

    image

  • And we saw this. Ruby Mansion.
  • Ten days of big city life in Hong Kong – done.

    Costs

    Rate 1 NZD = 5.2 HKD | All prices in NZD unless stated

  • Bus airport – Kowloon – $6.35 p/p
  • Cebu Hostel | Chung King Mansion, Kowloon, Hong Kong – $35.95 p/n
  • Takeaway sushi for both of us – $2.88
  • Noodle soup – $5.58
  • 3 x chicken wings – $3.85
  • Movie ticket, Jurassic World | Golden Gateway – $12.50 p/p
  • Happy Valley Races entrance fee | Hong Kong – $1.92 p/p
  • Small wedge of Normandy Brie | Mark & Spencers – $2.30
  • Dinner | Mama San – $255.00
  • Peak Tram up Victoria Peak – $7.60 p/p
  • Train Hong Kong Island – Airport – $19.23
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