Hong Kong is similar to the Lower East Side in New York in so many ways - busy city, cool boutique shopping, great food, taxi cabs, subway and so much more. Yet Hong Kong’s rich historical aspect with its influences from China and Great Britain made the city experience completely unique.
We spent our five days mixing in some great food, cultural hotspots and out-of-city adventures.
First, the food. We are far from foodies, but we do love the hunt and finding a city’s best hidden gems. Here is our hit list of places we highly recommend for both great food and an even better atmosphere.
We really enjoyed the Hong Kong History Museum to learn about the relationship with China, Great Britain and the history of the Cantonese people. Hong Kong is part of China, but the relationship is different depending on who you ask. Hong Kong was a colony of the United Kingdom until the ‘handover’ when it was returned to China in 1997 and became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Nevertheless, it is still allowed to operate as an independent country. Hong Kong has its own legal system, currency, and even language (Cantonese). It was super interesting to learn more about the history of Hong Kong!
We took a 30 minute cable car in the fog to visit the Tian Tan Buddha or “Big Buddha.” At 110 feet tall, the bronze Buddha sculpture massive and a very religious site for Buddhists. As we were climbing the 250+ steps in the rain to reach the Buddha, buddhist devotees would take 3 steps, kneel, pray, stand up and repeat until they had reached the top and circled the Buddha. It was pretty remarkable to watch over one hundred people pray like this in the rain. Next to the Big Buddha, we hiked the Wisdom Path on Lantau Island. Our final cultural spot was the Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden. As recommended by MK’s old co-worker Zoe, this place was a serene setting of gardens and temples in the middle of an urban environment.
Hong Kong is known for its hikes because of the 261+ islands that surround the city. We hiked above the city to Victoria Peak and got lost exploring at the top of the mountain. Another favorite hike was the famous Dragon’s Back hike on the backside of Hong Kong island. Hong Kong is steep, San Fran-esque city - which made the views incredible from the top of our hikes.
Hong Kong was the perfect end to our time in Asia. After spending a couple weeks not using tap water in Southeast Asia, it was a relief to not worry about what we ate or drank (not to mention being able to finally brush our teeth with tap water). The little things! And we enjoyed getting around the city easily on the MTR subway. Hard to believe we are two months down - time has flown.