Where to start? There is so much to say about this vibrant and pulsing city it’s hard to find the right words. But we’ll try.
We arrived in the late afternoon in Hong Kong where we finally met up to kick off our round the world trip. After a quick and last western snack at McDonalds (ohwwww goood, never again – worst idea in a long time) we headed off to the island of Hong Kong to find our Hostel. It took us a while to find it, not knowing that it was located in the 13th floor of one of the many skyscrapers. After passing it repeatedly, circling the block several times and our shoulders almost being dislocated by the weight of our backpacks, we eventually found the little sign above our heads. The font of the sign was so small – not even a hawk would have seen it. Okay we were a little tired… maybe very tired. Hence we kept a low profile for the evening. The hostel though was flawless. (Thanks for the recommendation Roman!)
In Hong Kong, the architecture is an engaging mix of styles, from the soaring towers of Central to the ramshackle town-housing and centuries-old Chinese temples, the markets and streetlife are compelling, while the shopping – if no longer the bargain it once was – is eclectic, ranging from open-air stalls to hi-tech malls. If there’s a downside to the place, it’s that commercialism and consumption tend to dominate life, making it hard to engage with the underlying Chinese culture – though there’s a range of well-presented museums and the usual run of cultural events you’d expect to find in any big city.
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Speaking of which, as the weather of the first few days wasn’t very tempting for sightseeing, we ended up having (and this is no joke) high tea in a very traditional Chinese tea house, learning about Hong Kong’s past in the Museum of History, and before jumping into the nightlife, rounded the first day up by going to the movies (trust us, the weather was really, really bad).
As the weather improved we were finally able to discover the beauty in and around Hong Kong. The only day on which the weather forecast was good, we decided to go to the island Lantau west of Hong Kong. We took the cable car up to the peak where the gigantic and serene Tian Tan Buddha statue more popularly known as the Big Buddha. At the top of a flight of 268 steps up the hillside in front of the monastery the bronze figure is seated in a ring of outsized lotus petals, 34m high and weights 250 tonnes – roughly the same as a jumbo jet. To get a better view at the buddha and the surrounding hills, we hiked a little up the Lantau Trail.
The city of Hong Kong has a lot of similarities to other mega cities during daytime, whereas by night it is a completely different story. The thriving night markets, the amazing skylines, the marvellous Victoria Harbour, and the glowing neon signs in the streets made our stay in Hong Kong unique.
Now we just arrived in downtown Hanoi. We are overwhelmed by this city and we’re sure we’ll have an unforgettable time in this beautiful country.