From Narita airport it is a 4-hour flight to Hong Kong, passing over green mountainous countryside towards the South China Sea. Heady with excitement as we touched down into HK, the city did not disappoint, despite the hot-very-hot and muggy weather. It was ever the same: effervescent, noisy and great fun, even in mid-summer, the low season. Is there a low season in HK?
I ventured out to the Kowloon markets on the first night by Star Ferry – the best way to see the city skyline and 8pm daily light show. The Kowloon markets are packed; selling various tat, slogan signs, fake goods etc – as you would expect to find in any large market. There’s a distinctively different feeling on this side of the water in comparison to the Island and I know which I prefer but the neon lights are exciting rather than annoying.
I spend the next day retracing steps; the Dragon’s Back trek, exploring Central and paying a visit to Hollywood Road to look at the antique shops and art galleries, taking the mid-level escalators, going for a drink – yes just one – in Lang Kwai Fong.
Again my days here are limited and with work restrictions there is several that I had to leave out but I make the time to take the tram up Victoria Peak which opens at 7am, swing by the converted PMQ building (former Police Married Quarters) which is now a space for up and coming designers, artists, galleries and cafes – including a Jason Atherton bistro. I manage to make it to Poho, use the MTR, make full use of the red and white cabs and visit a few landmarks – Lin Heung, one of the most popular tea houses with the locals which serves dim sum and is a ‘fight for your table’ type of place, old rice weighing shops and apothecaries before heading on to Macau….
It was worth going to Macau to check it off the list. I was interested to see what it was like, with its Portuguese history and ‘two systems, one country’ approach. It’s only an hour on the Turbo Jet ferry from HK and is very much a weekend destination for gamblers, coming alone or with their families and as such – has plenty of shopping malls and hotels. You don’t need a visa when visiting from Hong Kong which is very handy for day trips. It’s a sprawling city, snaking round the old Portuguese church. I’m informed that there’s a dragon boat race every year around the island which could be fun to see.
I only have the best part of the day here and after visiting various casinos, I’m happy to head off again.