Exploring Hong Kong – A Concrete Jungle

Awaking at some rediculous hour in the morning in Hong Kong seemed great – the jetlag was non-existent and we were ready to explore Aberdeen, where we were staying before checking out the rest of Hong Kong Island. Unfortunately none of the shops were open in the morning so our quick explore of the surrounding area failed us. We opted for the safe option for breakfast – bacon and eggs for me and porridge for Em. Although keen to try the local cuisine, breakfast is not the time to experiment.

Finding a bus to Central and picking up a tourist map gave us plenty of sights to see. We began by tracking down the worlds longest outdoor escalator, which I envisaged as a huge singular escalator. Instead it was a massive series of short escalators, taking half an hour before we reached the top, and were stranded on the top of a hill having to walk all the way back down. The journey down in the terrible heat was hard work, but on the way we stumbled upon some great suprises. First it took us through the gardens – a concrete jungle with small designated tree growing areas. Luckily the gardens improved drastically, as we continued along the path into a strange racket of noise. Apparently the gardens also contain a free zoo, and we found ourselves amongst a huge range of monkeys, reptiles and birds.

The Hong Kong Gardens

After a beer while wandering the zoo (I couldn’t pass the opportunity) we continued to find the cable car to Victoria Peak – Hong Kongs tallest peak. The top is the home of Hong Kong Madame Tussauds, so after taking in the view and testing out another mystery meal we hung out with a huge range of unknown asian celebrities as well as Jackie Chan, Albert Einstein, The Beatles, and a bunch of other characters. Unfortunately it was very apparent we were in Hong Kong, the place was packed with hustle and bustle. Most of the figures were excellent, however some (the Queen especially) were questionably resembling the claimed characters at all!

I'll never compete with Yao Ming

After sliding back down on the cable car, it was the end of another exhausting day, and another mysterious concoction for dinner.

Our final day in Hong Kong was spent on Lantau Island, which had a much more laid back and less urban feel to it. We ferried over, and couldn’t believe the onslaught of bikes parked at the ferry terminal. All directions were full of bike racks, and every rack was spewing bikes with a range of creative locking systems. Any spare piece of fence in the town had a bike locked to it, and anything without a bike had a ‘no bikes’ sign.

The island was beautiful. Boasting the worlds biggest seated Buddha (which google told us was untrue) and a great selection of bush and beaches, the island was definitely the nicest part of Hong Kong. We attempted to track down a local meal but the options were all international, so it was Turkish for lunch before setting out exploring. An elaborate network of busses left us with a racing schedule to see the giant Buddha, before bussing back to the airport to catch our flight. The giant Buddha was amazing! The ornate detail, combined with the massive scale of the statue was really hard to believe. Unfortunately in usual Em and I style, we hadn’t investigated what was going on at all. We were gutted not to have time to ride the gondola, as we needed to catch the next bus back to town to get the following bus to the airport. Running between busses with minutes to spare, we finally relaxed on the airport bus.

Giant Buddha

As the bus approached the airport we unfortunately glimpsed the gondola making a bee line straight down from the Buddha to the airport – the trip we had just circumnavigated the island to do. Turns out the gondola would have been quicker, probably cheaper, and certainly a hell of a lot more of an experience.

Flying out of Hong Kong at midnight we had the plan of sleeping the flight before our 5am arrival. Unfortunately the roller coaster ride we experienced combined with body clocks that were totally out of whack led to pretty much no sleep, and us both in a terrible state on arrival. But we made it – the Europe plan has finally come to fruition!

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