Here are the top 10 things to do in Hong Kong in no particular order because hey, how do you put a number to experiences, right?
1) Become a kid at Disneyland – Disneyland is not a place, it’s a phenomenon. It’s a magical, enthralling experience filled with futuristic rides & out of this world events. It’s so immersive an experience that it even had fake snowfall for a fairy-tale ending. My favorites were Mystic Manor– a trackless ride with amazing illusions, Grizzly mountain mine cars – a roller-coaster with ‘twists’ & Evening Parade which truly celebrates the spirit of Disney. I don’t agree with people who say Disneyland is for kids. Even if it is, aren’t we all still kids at heart? 🙂
2) Take a stroll at Nan Lian Garden – It’s unbelievable that Hong Kong can have a peaceful, well-groomed garden amidst its myriad skyscrapers. A five minutes walk from Diamond hill MTR will transport you to another world. Don’t forget to visit Chi Lin Nunnery inside the garden. The complex has beautiful poetic inscription on rocks which caught my friend’s attention. She made sure to read each one of them while we appreciated the picture perfect scenery surrounding the nunnery. And once you are tired, head straight to try some delicious dimsums at the restaurant there.
3) Eat dimsums at Chi Lin Nunnery – Dimsums at Chi Lin Nunnery were special not only because it was the first vegetarian restaurant we went to, but also because it was here that we decoded Dimsums. Talk about ignorance! The place, though a little expensive, had excellent ambience and mouth-watering dimsums. A must visit for all vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike!
Food for thought – Dimsums are bite-sized dishes ranging from dumplings, spring rolls and congee, usually served with tea. Our very own humble samosa is a type of dumpling which in turn is a type of dimsum. So all dumplings are dimsums, but all dimsums are not dumplings. Got it?
4) Travel by MTR – MTR or Mass Transit Railway is the lifeline of Hong Kong. It’s extremely efficient & easy to use and makes city navigation a child’s play. All you need is an octopus card and a metro map and you are ready to conquer the city. There is no need of taxi/rickshaws/Tuk-tuk for last mile connectivity in Hong Kong because MTR touches every nook and corner of the city. Make sure to know the right exit – there is a detailed map at every MTR otherwise use Google. Follow the signs and voila, you have reached your destination.
5) Visit Big Buddha in crystal cable car – Taking crystal cable car i.e. glass bottomed cable car is one of those experiences where journey is more beautiful than the destination. It’s a 30 min ride crossing mountains and sea on the Lantau Island. You need to climb another 268 steps after reaching the base to visit Tian Tan Buddha statue. Remember to carry a good jacket (unlike yours truly) as it can get quite windy and chilly at the top. To save some time & money, you can take bus no. 23 to get back to Tung Chung MTR.
6) Go shopping at Ladies market – Ladies market is a popular street market in Mong Kok which got its name from the shops run by women. Though I found it a little over-priced compared to street markets in Thailand, it’s a nice place to collect souvenirs like bags, clothes, lamps, magnets etc. The collection was better & trendier than the Temple Street, another famous street market in Hong Kong. We picked up cute umbrellas, socks with Disney prints, hand cut cards, phone holders etc. It’s a bargain market so make sure to start at at least 60% less than the original price quoted.
7) Stay in Mong Kok’s hostels – Staying in Mong Kok’s hostels is not for luxurious or faint-hearted travellers, but it definitely provides a unique and closer look at how an average Hong-Konger lives. Mong kok which is in Kowloon, has one of the highest population density in the world. The impact can be seen in the ubiquitous hostel rooms/residential flats which are small beyond imagination & still well-equipped. They even had TV, kettle, stool and shoe-rack in the minion sized room. All the legends about Chinese efficiency were true after all!
8) Lose yourself in fragrances on the Flower Street – Flower street market is unlike any street market I’ve been to & that’s why it deserves a mention. Visiting Flower Street was an impromptu plan as two of us got up early one day & had nothing better to do. We visited at 8:30 in the morning and loved the pleasant locale. Flowers from around the world find their way to the market –Rainbow Roses, Lilies, Orchids, Bonsai etc. On our way back to Prince Edward MTR, we found a small local bakery and enjoyed some croissant and buns. Don’t we all love the aroma of freshly baked products? 🙂
9) Visit Macau – Just 45 min apart and starkly different from Hong Kong is Macau known as Las Vegas of the East. Fortunately there is much more to Macau than its impressively huge Casinos. Macau was a Portugal colony until 1999 which is evident through its architecture. Pastel coloured buildings, numerous old cathedrals and cobbled roads make you forget that you are in Asia. A visit to Macau is incomplete without trying its famous Portuguese egg tart. It’s the best thing I had in my entire trip and I understood the essence of “no one can eat just one” while devouring it. More on Macau in another post because it deserves that.
10) Relax at Tsim Tsa Tsui Promenade – Tsim Tsa Tsui Promenade is to Hong Kong what Marine drive is to Mumbai. Huge buildings dot the shoreline along the Kowloon & Hong Kong Island, offering spectacular landscape at night. There is also Avenue of stars which was closed for renovation & Garden of stars which had handprints of famous Chinese actors. We went on Christmas Eve and it was amazingly lit with groups of people singing carols on street. While roaming around the area, we also found a Hindu Bhajan procession going on. The power of Indians never fails to amaze me. 😛
At last sharing one and the only picture in the entire trip in which the whole gang is present. We were clearly busy capturing Hong Kong through our eyes. Thanks girls for making this trip possible.
Which one of these was your favourite? Have you been to Hong Kong before? Would you like to add anything to this list? 🙂