So this is the last post of my Asian Adventure, and aptly I end where I begun, back as a tourist in Hong Kong… If you missed any of my Asian Adventure blog posts you find them all here by clicking this link ;) I started and ended in Hong Kong because it was free thanks to my BA air miles, but it’s always worth starting there if you plan a trip to Asia as it’s a great hub airport offering lots of cheap flights to and around Asia!
We had 5 full days in Hong Kong to end our trip on, which in my opinion is more than enough time to see the city as a tourist… it felt like we managed to cram a lot in during our time in Hong Kong; catching up with old friends, indulging in 5 star hotels, shopping at the many markets as well as visiting most of the tourist traps. It is a great city to just walk around and immerse yourself in but if you ever plan to visit Hong Kong here are my experiences of some of the more famous sights you might find on a Hong Kong to do list.
(1) THE VICTORIA PEAK
Probably one of the most famous views of the city of Hong Kong is from the top of Victoria Peak and every guidebook will tell you to take the Victoria Peak Tram there, which is what McD, Abs, Sophie & I did. The tram ride itself is short and steep BUT at peak (excuse the pun) times the queue is long and tedious, we waited for what felt like an hour to get on to an overcrowded tram and when we reached the top the queue back down looked worse so we resorted to hailing a taxi to go back down, although be aware they do not like to use their meters as they expect everyone to be a tourist so haggle and agree the price before you get in if you do decided to take the taxi option down from the peak.
I don’t recommend paying up for the sky terrace either, I honestly don’t think the view is worth the money, instead if you pop next door to The Peak Galleria, they have a large FREE outdoor terrace which is not as crowded but still with equally as good views of the city; both the header photo & photos below were taken from there!
(2) TIAN TAN BUDDAH
Another tourist hot spot in Hong Kong is the Big Buddah, a large bronze statue erected in 1993, lucky for me I got to visit and climb the 268 steps with my bad knee ;) You can get to the Big Buddah by cable car, bus or ferry the quickest and most direct route is probably the cable car, which we took… word of advice the glass bottom upgrade is not really worth it for the view BUT it does allow you to queue jump a bit if the cable car queue is busy.
After the cable car you walk through a purpose-built souvenir and restaurant parade… priced for the tourist market! Once we reached the Big Buddah I hobbled up the steps to the top so we could admire the statue in closer detail and check out the beautiful sweeping views. It was a pretty impressive structure with glorious views on a good clear day… but if your time is limited in Hong Kong I wouldn’t suggest this as a must see attraction as there really isn’t any history to it and it takes up a good few hours of your day.
(3) OZONE SKY BAR
OZONE is certainly one of the highest bars in the world, and at the time of writing most definitely the highest Bar in Asia. Located at the very top (118th Floor) of the International Commerce Centre, within the Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong Hotel it offers impressive views of the city. McD’s friend Stevie introduced us to this bar during our stay, unfortunately the weather wasn’t playing and we literally had our heads in the very wet clouds when we fist visited, although the quirky modern interior still made this a fun place to enjoy a drink.
Not wanting to miss a good view I dragged McD back to the bar on our last day for an afternoon drink, and I am so glad we did otherwise I wouldn’t have been privy to such a beautiful view of the city (see photo below.) Drinks are expensive but I was happy to pay up for a delicious cocktail in a beautifully / quirky designed lounge bar with equally as impressive vistas.
(4) STAR FERRY
Hong Kong harbour separates the mainland (Kowloon) with Hong Kong Island, the MTR is the most efficient way to get around but a far more pleasant way to get to and from the mainland is catching the Star Ferry, the cost is cheap and the crossing allows you great water views of the Hong Kong Island and Kowloon skylines.
Whilst McD and I were enjoying our cocktails at the Ozone bar (mentioned directly above) see below for a little time-lapse video I filmed of the star ferries crossing the harbour to and from Hong Kong Island.
(5) TIM HO WAN RESTAURANT
There is this great little place you may have heard of called Tim Ho Wan, famous for being the ‘cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world.’ Now McD and I aren’t real foodies, but we do love food so visiting an establishment with such an accolade was pretty high on our Hong Kong bucket list. Finding it was a little tricky, there are several Tim Ho Wan’s in the city, probably the easiest being in Hong Kong Central station itself, but we made it our mission to find the original and only Michelin star awarded restaurant, Tim Ho Wan (Tai Kwok T sui.)
To be honest once you find the street you will know which restaurant it is by the hoards of people waiting outside for their number to be called to enter. This was a lost in translation moment when we arrived as the lady in charge of the door didn’t appear (or most probably want) to speak english… she simply scrawled a number on a piece of scrap paper and handed us a menu – thankfully with English on it! We didn’t have a clue what number was being called though as the numbers were shouted in Chinese but we noticed she kept a pad visible in which she was marking off each time the number was called so we kept an eye on her pad whilst waiting for our turn to be called.
Whilst waiting to be seated we marked off on the menu what we wanted to eat, from my research food journalists and bloggers who had visited before suggested a must to try were the baked pork buns, steamed egg cake and any of the vermicelli stuffed rolls, as well as these we ticked dumplings, turnip cakes and steamed vegetables… hoping this would be enough dishes to satisfy our lunchtime hunger.
Eventually we were called into the dining room, it was basic and crowded. The server took our menu order and showed us to our seats. I instantly regretted not marking a drink on the menu, we were given complimentary tea at the table but grabbing a server to ask for water seemed an impossible task so I just put up with the tea. Our food came out in dribs and drabs along with a bill which we correctly assumed we took to the counter to settle once we had finished.
This experience has totally made me re-think the hype over Michelin star restaurants. The food was delicious, but no better in my humble opinion than the dim sum McD and I ate on our last night in Borneo. The service and interior were most definitely not what I imagined a Michelin starred establishment to be but maybe I am just being ethnocentric with my opinions????
Nonetheless I would most definitely recommend you going to one of Tim Ho Wan’s restaurants just to try the pork buns, I have never tasted anything like them, they were the real winner for me; juicy pork filling in a crispy baked bun case with a delicious sweet crust! The total bill came to 119HKD, that’s just over £10… most definitely the cheapest Michelin star meal I have ever eaten as well as the cheapest meal of McD and my entire trip… BONUS!