Travel Diaries – Hong Kong & Macau

Hong Kong Harbour
Hong Kong as seen from across the harbour in Kowloon.

Hong Kong was the first stop on my three week tour of China. I timed the visit so that I could run the Hong Kong Half Marathon. I had about a week to take in the city and see the sights. It was barely enough time in my opinion but those are the risks when you combine a race together with a vacation.ย 

Here are a few quick facts about Hong Kong:

  • Officially, Hong Kong is known as “Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China”. Although it was returned to China in 1997, it maintains separate political and economic systems from China.
  • The city of Hong Kong is made up of Hong Kong, Kowloon, the New Territories and several surrounding islands.
  • The official languages are Cantonese, Mandarin and English. It helps if you can speak Cantonese but if you can’t, you can get away with just English.
  • Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, and also has the most skyscrapers – there are over 8,000 buildings in the city with more than 14 floors.

 

The Sights:

Victoria Peak
The view of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak is not to be missed! It’s a different experience observing the city from afar – it’s peaceful and relaxing. I could be there for hours! There are a number of ways to get to the top including a tram, car, bus or on foot.
Skycrapers in Hong Kong
The city of Hong Kong is filled with a number of skyscrapers, many are well known such as the Bank of China building.
Hong Kong Street
The streets of Hong Kong are constantly filled with people. There’s never a dull moment here.
Hong Kong city streets
The city streets are filled with both pedestrians and vehicles alike. Everyone seems to know where they’re going without missing a beat – it’s a very organized kind of chaos!
Look left
Signs for those of us that are not used to cars that are right handed drive. Use caution when crossing the street and be sure to look for traffic according to the signage. I needed to check for traffic in both directions, just to be sure!
Statue of Bruce Lee at Hong Kong's Avenue of Stars
The Avenue of Stars can be found in Tsim Sha Tsui. It pays tribute to those in the Hong Kong film industry, past and present. I thought this statue of Bruce Lee was pretty cool!
Hong Kong's Avenue of Stars - Jackie Chan
Hand prints for a number of famous Hong Kong actors can be found at the Avenue of Stars. Jackie Chan was one of my favourites growing up.
Kowloon Park - Avenue of Comic Stars
If live action movies and real life actors aren’t your thing, you can check out the Avenue of Comic Stars located in Kowloon Park. You’ll find a number of anime statues which are really fun to pose with around the park.

 

Food:
Because I got sick shortly after arriving in Hong Kong, I didn’t get to try as many places and foods as I would have liked. I picked out a few of my favourites though.

Congee and 'youtiao'
Congee is a type of rice porridge which can contain a variety of different toppings or fillings such as meats, fish, eggs or veggies. My favourite is to eat congee with fried bread sticks known as ‘youtiao’. It can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Dim sum
Dim sum is a meal served during brunch time but mostly comprised of different savory dishes. The dishes are often steamed or fried and served tapas style – shared amongst the diners at the table. From top left going clockwise we have a dish of sticky steamed rice wrapped in lotus leaf with chicken, ‘siu mai’ – a pork and shrimp dumpling and ‘har gow’ – a shrimp dumpling.
Hong Kong Egg Tart
Best known as ‘dan tat’, egg tarts are a pastry with an sweet egg custard filling. The pastry on the outside is shortcrust pastry. I’ve been told the Hong Kong version is somewhere in between the Portugese egg tarts and the English version of egg tarts.
Pineapple bun
A pineapple bun makes for a quick and easy snack in the afternoon when served with hot milk tea. It’s a sweet bun that can come plain or with different fillings like custard. In this case, it’s served Hong Kong style with butter in the centre.

 

Macau:
I also set aside time for a day trip to Macau which is located 64 kilometers from Hong Kong. It’s easily accessible by a high speed ferry from either Hong Kong or Kowloon. Tickets can be pre-purchased ahead of time online or at the ferry terminal. Keep in mind there’s more than one ferry company and two different ferry terminals once you arrive in Macau. Don’t forget to take your passport as you’ll need it for entry to Macau and re-entry to Hong Kong.

The high speed ferry from Hong Kong to Macau
The ferry ride from Kowloon to Macau takes about an hour. Be warned that the waters can be quite rough between Hong Kong and Macau and you may feel sea sick. My dad is quite used to boating and felt sick on the return trip.
Macau city street
You’ll see a lot of Portuguese and European influences in Macau. The colourful buildings and tiled streets reminded me of my recent trip to Lisbon.
Senado Square in Macau
A number of decorations from Chinese New Year still remained in Senado Square. The large area is popular for public events and is filled with shops and restaurants.
The ruins of St. Paul's in Macau
Aside from the glitz and glamour of the casinos, there are a number of historic sites around the city to explore. The ruins of St. Paul’s is one of them. It is one of Macau’s best known landmarks and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Nata at Lord Stowe's in The Venetian
Not gonna lie – trying out nata (an egg tart pastry) might be the real reason for my day trip to Macau. I was told one of the best places for nata is Lord Stowe’s. It didn’t disappoint – the center was creamy and sweet and the shell was flaky and crunchy. Best of all, the tarts were still warm. If the casinos aren’t your scene, the original location can be found in an area of Macau called Coloane Village.

That was my trip in a nutshell. Unfortunately, I caught a stomach bug and had to change around my touring plans which meant that I missed out on a couple of attractions and restaurants. Despite that, I still managed to see quite a bit of the city and whatever was missed, I’ll have to catch on a return trip.

Farewell Hong Kong, I will definitely be back! Next up, I head to Shanghai, China.

Hong Kong International Airport
A mural of Mr. Men and Little Miss characters at the Hong Kong International Airport.

 

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Travel Diaries – Hong Kong & Macau

  1. Hi Vicky, Wow!!!!. Just read your report. What an amazing adventure…

    Hope all is well and thanks for a great read…You are such a great writer!!!.

    Michael

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s