Having survived the weekend in Kowloon and Lantau, Monday we decided to see Hong Kong proper and set off at the not so early midday (jet lag is proving hard to shake off…) for Hong Kong Island and the Point.
Today we planned to experience some of the traditional modes of transport HK had to offer but still loving the ease of the MTR we started with that, and were soon at the Central MTR station and navigating the chaos of Hong Kong on a Monday lunchtime… but too chaotic for a couple of jet lagged Brits so headed to the relative serenity of the large botanical gardens sitting on a terrace overlooking the city. The park is another tropical oasis with a mini zoo and bird park surrounded by high rises and apartment buildings, but with enough fountains and running water to keep the sounds of the city at bay.
Popping out the other side of the park we joined the queue for the tram to the peak – a 19th century addition to Hong Kong which trundles up the steep slope to the highest point. The angle is so steep – the floor between the wooden benches is shaped into hollows so that anyone standing can keep upright despite the angle. At the top – the viewing platforms supposedly let you see over both Kowloon and the south of Hong Kong Island but with the smog we couldn’t see much and made do with a coffee and a wander. The Wayno does love a wander!
Heading back down on the tram, facing backwards this time, we decided our next transport aim was to try the “ding-dings” – double-decker trams that run from east to west on Hong Kong island that cost only 25p to ride. They look like they should fall over as they are 3 x taller than the are wide, and jostling onto the first one, we realised that perhaps 5pm on a week day wasn’t an ideal time to test this well-loved commuter route, so jumped off at Victoria park for another wander.
Our final mode of transport was the historic Star Ferry which runs between Hong Kong Central and Kowloon every 10 minutes and takes 8 minutes to get across (or the other way round!). They are a little bit of Hong Kong history having been running for over 100 years and have cute names like Evening Star and Twinkling star. We saved the best for last as you get a great view of the neon lights of HK island and it dropped us off at the Star Ferry port just in time for the HK evening light show where 40 of the islands buildings join together for a choreographed light display.
Dinner was a couple of beers and half a duck on one of the street stalls while one of the ladies tried to teach me some chinese.. The duck was great, my chinese continues to be terrible…