Hong Kong: Day 10

The final day. 

We were pretty sombre knowing that the trip was coming to an end. Secretly though, I was still rather excited about the 12.5hr flight home. I love plane food sooo much. And the little socks you get... Anyway, we hopped on the metro once again and headed to check in our bags. It's actually a pretty cool system. You can go to central station and check your bags in there so you don't have to worry about doing at the airport. Does everywhere have this?! Such a brilliant idea. It meant that we were luggage free and ready to enjoy our final day. 

There was still another top 10 attraction we were yet to tick off. Victoria Peak. We had left it till the last day and luckily the weather was perfect. We got the taxi up and skipped the huge queue for the tram. In the taxi it took hardly any time at all. At the top, you can go on a free viewing deck (in the building opposite the tram station) and have a great view of HK. You can see the surrounding islands on one side and the full extent of HK's skyscrapers on the other. After grabbing our final bite at Pacific Coffee Company, we headed down to get the return tram ride back to Central.

We hopped off and headed for another great viewing spot of HK. Earlier in the week we'd been told that you could get great views from the free Bank of China viewing platform. Before we didn't have sufficient id to get in (passports) and so came back on the final day. I'm glad we did because the views were just as good as from the peak. Here you could see all the people scuttling around like ants and the cars looked like little toys in a Lego world. 

Our next stop was the Mandarin Oriental. We'd booked a reservation a couple of days before after hearing about the afternoon tea there. We arrived a bit early, eager, but were quickly taken to our seats on the sofa- right under one of the several chandeliers. First I had a mocha... and then another. The scones were served warm and with plenty of clotted cream (which I of course got all over my dress). As for the sandwiches, I liked them all because I'm not fussy. The cakes were different though. One had black sesame in so I left that one for Ed. The others were absolutely scrumptious. Having afternoon tea was the perfect way to commemorate the end of our time in Hong Kong. Ed was also lovely and got me a wonderful Links London charm to remind me of our trip. 

We still had a little time before we had to hop on the airport express and head home. For the very last time we went to the IFC mall and watched the Symphony of Lights show.

Hong Kong: Day 9

One downer about our hotel was that breakfast wasn't included in our room. Instead we decided to save money and make our own porridge. Like at home, I had mine in a mug with a big old dollop of Nutella. Delicious. Still, we thought we should try breakfast in Hong Kong before we left and so looked up some places to go online. We decided that Wagyu looked like a good shout and headed over to Central.

Walking to Wagyu there was the sense that the whole area is pretty European. There were loads of swish bars serving brunch and hangover helpfuls. Wagyu was the most packed of them all and so I expected it to be good. And boy was it! Apart from the leak in the ceiling, the place was perfect for brunch. I began by having a mocha to power me through the long day ahead. Ed got a smoothie which rather made me regret my decision. The breakfast menu is rather pricey but full of choices. It took me a while to decide between the eggs Benedict and the bagel but I decided to go with the New Yorker Bagel. It had smoked salmon and I never turn down salmon. Ed got the pancakes with syrup. When the meals came I so shocked. Back home you only get about two tiny pancakes at restaurants. Here, there was a whole stack and a huge pot of syrup. I was pretty happy with my bagel too. You can never go wrong with cream cheese and smoked salmon. Wagyu was delicious! I didn't get to look at the dinner or lunch menu but I'd definitely recommend going for breakfast if you are ever in HK. 

When we came out we wandered about. The plan for the day wasn't really set. We'd done quite a lot of sight seeing and it was nice to just roam around. That was until we got caught in the rain storm. It came out of no where. To be honest, it was quite nice to experience the torrential rain. We hadn't been caught in it all week and it was refreshing. Eventually it cleared up, by which time we were already soaked. 

We grabbed some more coffee and a cake (I have no idea how we fit it in after breakfast) and tried to dry off. While we'd been to the IFC mall loads that week, we'd never been on the rooftop in the day. If you want somewhere to go for a bit I'd recommend it. It's beautifully decorated and there are some great views of the harbour. 

After roaming around the botanical gardens a little we realised something. There was one HK TOP 10 that we hadn't ticked off: the Star Ferry. It's a pretty cheap and quick way to get across the harbour. There are some pretty views and I can imagine it would be interesting to go on in the dark when the buildings are all lit up.

We'd whiled away the day pretty much. But it was nice to a have a relaxing day rather than running from one sight to the next. Harbour City is a huge shopping centre and it's just outside the ferry terminal. We took some time exploring and watched the sun set on the top floor before getting dinner at House of Jasmine. Beware, this place can get busy. We got our number and had to wait for around 30 minutes before we went in. The place was packed with families sharing meals and it seemed like we were the only couple in there. Out of all the places we ate, I was probably least impressed by House of Jasmine. The food was fine but a bit pricey. The service could have been a bit friendlier too. Saying that, the decor was pretty and they served the rice in cute little bamboo pots. Another bonus, if you time it right you can grab a sunset cocktail on the terrace afterwards.  

Hong Kong: Day 8

Won Tai Sin Temple:  Although we got there fairly early, the temple was already packed with coach trips. It's so strange how this temple is surrounded by skyscrapers. At the front you are submerged in the bustle of people trying to take photos with statues, stroking the lions paws and giving offerings. The garden at the back is totally different. Somehow the pools of water and crafted bridges create such a peaceful atmosphere that you almost forget you're in the middle of the city. 

Chi Lin Nunnery: It was a bit of walk but we eventually found the nunnery. This is another that I wish I'd read more about beforehand. Like the temple, the nunnery is surrounded by sky scrapers and busy roads. You just walk up some stairs opposite a shopping centre and there is it is. The architecture is truly stunning and in the garden below there is a minature representation which shows it's true complexity. There are bonzai trees all around the central square and we watched the gardener go around each on and deliately trim their edges. I recommened looking around the whole nunnery before going into the garden down the steps. It is a sight to see itself. We didn't walk around the whole of it because the heat was starting to drain us. From these pictures though, you can hopefully see how colourful and vibrant the garden is. I imagine that even on a rainy day it would be a sight to see. 

The Walled City: This was perhaps one of my favourite cultural sights that we visited. Rather unexpectedly too. On the way we caught a view of Lions Rock. It look me a while to see why it is named so because it's mainly the head of the Lion and not the whole body. Pretty cool anyway. On reaching the walled city we went through the East entrance. We walked around examining some more bonsai  trees before going to the exhibition bit in the centre. Here the building from the old walled city still remains. Inside there are various games and videos which teach you about the walled city and it's residents. I learnt so much and their interactive methods of getting the information across were really effective. Standing under the trees, it was hard to imagine the walled city as it would have been. Listening the some of the residents reflecting on their everyday life in the city, the closeness of both the houses and the residents, made me want to read more of the history of the city. The area now seems very different from what it was a few decades ago. 

Lion Rock

We did quite a lot of walking this day and so ended the day with a big meal. We went to Tasty Congee and Noodle Wontun Shop in the ICC and I was not disappointed. The meals are pretty sizable and if you are with a big group I recommend getting the prawns in sweet and sour sauce to share. Oh and the sweet pork buns are bloody delicious. 

Hong Kong: Day 7


It was decided another chillaxing kind of day would be good. Stanley was decided as the destination and so we hopped on the same bus we got to Repulse Bay and drove further from Hong Kong Central. I wish I'd read more about Stanley before going. One thing we did find was Murray House. Our guide book told us that this building was moved from the center to it's current location, brick by brick. 

After grabbing a bite at our new favourite cafe (Pacific Coffee Company) we had a quick look around the market. It was different to the ladies market. Less crowded and the items had prices so less haggling as a consequence. We were in search of one thing though, a I heart HK t shirt. If you want touristy items this is the place to go. We got 3 of the t-shirts for a reduced price and I picked up a cute little panda toy while I was there. Once we had what we wanted we crossed over the road and headed for Stanley's sandy beaches.

This beach was pretty different to repulse bay. It was less crowded but smaller and with less shady spots. We set up camp under a tree near the back and found that the french tourists we'd seen at repulse bay were right next to us again. After swimming to the raft and back I had a snooze and read of North and South on the kindle. It was round about then that Jack Wills turned up and started doing a photoshoot right in front of us. Despite my attempts to get in the background I think I failed and will not be appearing the new Hong Kong Jack Wills advertisement. 

Stanley is the perfect place for lounging around and on the seafront by Murray House there's plenty of places you can sip cocktails. There's pizza express and European atmosphere to match the old colonial architecture. Oh and there's a supermarket in a old police station. Pretty cool, ey?