A few days ago I returned from an amazing week in Hong Kong. I can honestly say it’s like no other place I’ve ever visited. The intensity and energy from all of the people is unreal, and the options for entertainment, culture, food, and shopping are limitless! I was honestly overwhelmed by it all, especially now that I’m used to island living. I definitely wasn’t in Barbados anymore!
Always the planner, I had a full itinerary booked for the time that the Mr. and I had together. He was there for work, so we made sure to cram in as much as we could during the two days he had free. The rest of the time I left open for shopping. Because I had been to Hong Kong before, I was able to cross a lot of the touristy items off my list (see list below for things to do).
While it did take two days to get there, and there’s a 12-hour time difference, I felt remarkably good with little to no jet lag. I credit that to the fact that I stayed awake as long as I could after landing mid-afternoon. The key is to adjust to local time as quickly as possible. I figured what better way to stay awake then to go for dinner, so the Mr. and I headed to a restaurant popular with tourists. It’s a floating restaurant, and the complimentary ferry ride to the restaurant offers some beautiful harbour views. A few beers, some good Chinese food, and we were able to stay awake until 10:30pm!
Jumbo Kingdom, Aberdeen, Hong Kong
~ a view of the floating restaurant from the dock ~
The Mr. had to work the next day, so I spent the day walking around the city and dodging the rain. We met up in Kowloon that night with plans to visit the Temple Street night market, but the rain turned us off. Instead, we spent the evening having amazing cocktails, scrumptious food, and listening to live music while enjoying the incredible view from one of the hotel bars. We even caught the Symphony of Lights, a must when visiting Hong Kong.
The Lobby Lounge @ The Intercontinental Hotel, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
~ a view of the harbour, the Batman martini, and nasi goreng for dinner ~
The next day we were off to Lantau Island to visit the Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha. We stopped off at Upper Cheung Sha beach and visited a quaint fishing village in Tai O before arriving at the monastery.
~ bikes at the ferry dock, feet in the sand at Upper Cheung Sha beach ~
~ scenes from a fishing village ~
I can honestly say I gasped when we turned the corner and saw the Buddha. It’s an unbelievable site! The vegetarian lunch served at the monastery was probably the best Chinese food I’ve ever had. I could have stayed there and eaten all day! After lunch, we had time to visit the commercial side of the monastery. Rows of shops lined the walkway, and of course, I hit up the Starbucks. Our ride home was by the Ngong Ping 360 cable car and it didn’t disappoint. I’m afraid of heights so it was a bit scary, but the views were remarkable and worth the initial fright.
It was an incredibly long day, but since it was also my birthday, the Mr. and I dragged ourselves out for dinner. I must admit, we didn’t plan that well as we were so tired we had no appetite, but after a bottle of wine we perked up a bit. I indulged by ordering the bacon-wrapped scallops and the beef wellington, which was wrapped in parma ham and pate. It was so decadent!
Wooloomooloo Prime, 1 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
~ an indulgent birthday dinner ~
The next day we went to Macau. I really expected it to be similar to Monaco – something small with unassuming casinos. Clearly, I didn’t do my research as the casinos in Macau make Vegas look like amateur hour, raking in seven times the revenue each year. The Venetian, Macau is the largest casino in the world! We (regrettably) spent less than an hour at the casinos and spent the rest of the day touring the more historic sites of Macau. With it’s Portuguese heritage, mosaic streets, and ancient ruins, it’s certainly a beautiful country.
~ the ruins of St. Paul’s ~
We went up the Macau Tower where you can complete the world’s highest commercial bungee jump. You jump from the 62nd floor! I’m terrified of heights, but challenges like that totally intrigue me and if I was given a few more hours to work up my nerve, I’m pretty sure I would have done it. We saw two people jump while we were there and it was incredible! I still regret not doing it!
With the Mr. off to work for the rest of the trip, I spent the remainer of my time shopping. I became obsessed with the beauty products available, mostly from Korea and Japan, and spent hours scouring the beauty stores. I came home with quite a haul, mostly face care products, which I’ll share in a future post.
~ around town ~
Speaking of obsession, I made sure to hit Starbucks every.single.day for a gingerbread latte. It really was the best drink to accompany my favorite Hong Kong treat, an obanyaki. It’s actually a Japanese item that’s a cross between a pancake and a donut. Filled with both sweet and savory, my favorite is the custard filled. I discovered them during my last visit and have been dreaming about them for the past three years. They were every bit as delicious as I remembered!
~ obanyaki and a Starbucks, the perfect combination! ~
The one item I had not crossed off my bucket list during my first visit was to see the Bruce Lee statue on the Avenue of Stars in Kowloon. I’m a big fan so I made it a point to head over to it this trip. Unfortunately, it was closed for construction for the next three years! I guess it’s just not meant to be. At least I have something left on my list for my next visit =)
Where to Stay:
Crowne Plaza, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
~ views from the hotel ~
Situated on Hong Kong Island, this hotel is within easy walking distance to the subway and surrounded by tons of restaurants and shopping.
What to Do:
Po Lin monastery / Tian Tan Buddha (Lantau Island)
Noon Day Gun (Causeway Bay)
Man Mo temple (Central Hong Kong)
Mid-levels escalator (the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator) (Central Hong Kong)
Yuen Po Street bird garden (Kowloon)
Flower market (Kowloon)
Temple Street night market (Kowloon)
Symphony of Lights (Victoria Harbour, Kowloon)
Where to Shop:
Grocery store: City Super
Where to Eat:
~ delicious spinach and ricotta ravioli at No. 5 Italian ~
Jumbo Kingdom, Aberdeen
The Lobby Lounge, The Intercontinental Hotel, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Club @28, Crowne Plaza, Causeway Bay
Wooloomooloo Prime, 1 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay
No. 5 Italian, World Trade Centre, 280 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay
Jamie’s Italian, 1 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay
The Salted Pig, Knutsford Terrace, Kowloon
Modern China Restaurant, Times Square, Causeway Bay
Bistecca Italian Steak House, Grand Progress Building, Lan Kwai Fong
Have you ever been to Hong Kong?
What sites are on your bucket list?