Holidays in Hong Kong
The holidays are over! They went by so fast! Most companies started working yesterday (and also worked today), but our office decided to start working tomorrow. Yep, tomorrow Sunday. Welcome to China!
Our trip to Hong Kong was fine. C.’s parents weren’t nervous on the plane and the flight was not delayed (a flight being on time is quite uncommon here, haha). We were not too lucky with the weather though, as it was cloudy and foggy all the time, and sometimes even raining. The city did not look more crowded than usual, but some tourist spots were indeed packed. For example, Victoria Peak. The queue for the Peak Tram was kilometric so we skipped it and went to the Peak by taxi (only 50 HKD!).
We had lunch in the Peak Galleria, walked along one of the trails that go around the mountain and enjoyed the views (and a bit of rain). Then, when it was time to go back to the city… there were 20 million people queueing for the tram, the buses and the taxis. We were going to be trapped lining up for hours, or… we could go down by foot. That is what we did, and we had leg cramps for the rest of the trip!
Apart from the Peak, in Hong Kong island we also strolled around Causeway Bay and walked from Central to the Man Mo temple. I had never been to that temple and was surprised to see how tiny it is, compared to the temples in China. Space is expensive in Hong Kong!
Another place that was extremely crowded was the Macau ferry terminal. I did not even think about buying the tickets in advance, as there is a ferry every 10 minutes or so! But Chinese holidays are in fact a very scary time to travel. It was 10 am and it was announced that all ferries were booked out until 3 pm. We checked online and for the next day the only return available was at 23:30. So we did not go to Macau. Note to self: plan better next time!!
As we had to cancel the trip to Macau, we ended up going to Lantau island to visit the big Buddha and the Po Lin monastery. I had been warned it would probably be crowded too, but instead of taking the subway to Tung Chung and then the bus to the monastery (the cable car was closed for maintenance, great timing), we took the ferry to Mui Wo and then the bus. This was a great idea as there was way less people in this route. Lantau is a rugged island and the bus had to work hard sometimes to climb the slopes. But people were cycling and trekking there! My legs were pretty sore from climbing down the Peak the previous day so I would had died on a bike most probably.
Then the last day we went to Lamma, another island I had never visited. This island is not very developed and it is something like a hippie paradise for expats who want to escape the hustle of the city (and its steep rents), but still be 30 minutes away by ferry from Central. We met with a friend of mine who lives there, had lunch and walked from one village to another via a very easy hiking path.
Our hotel was very close to Mong Kok, in Kowloon, which must be one of the most crowded places on Earth. But it was also very animated! Several roads were closed to traffic and at night sellers and performers offered their goods and arts to the passersby. There were also several yummy restaurants around, including one dim sum place that we visited twice. I noticed that people in Hong Kong eat and go to sleep way later than Suzhounese people. In Suzhou, after 9 pm the streets are basically empty!
Of course we also did some shopping, but less than expected so I still have some HKD cash! I will have to spend it on my next visit! I hope I have better weather then.
Regarding travelling with my in-laws for the first time, I think everything went mostly fine. They did not complain about anything and were fine with our itinerary selections. The only bump was when, on the first morning there, I noticed the dad had smoked in the hotel room even though we had told him it was forbidden! He did not do it again, the smell went away by itself and when we checked out four days later we did not have to pay any fine… phew! That was close!