Last week for spring break, my mom and I traveled to Hong Kong with two other families. I absolutely fell in love with the city in just the three short days we had there. Having such a short amount of time in HK, our group was constantly on the move, exploring many different aspects of Chinese culture.
The first day we enjoyed a trip to Disneyland Hong Kong. Disneyland HK feels like a smaller version of California’s Disneyland. There are a lot less rides, but luckily there are still the classics like Space Mountain, It’s a Small World, and Dumbo the Flying Elephant. Another interesting difference was in the food. At Disneyland HK the concession stands offer some of the usual things like popcorn and sodas, but you can also get things like squid and fish balls. It was a fun day exploring the park and trying new rides. For me, the highlight of the day was eating a Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream bar and watching the fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle.
On the second day, we took a fifteen minute cable car ride through the mountains of Lantau Island to view Big Buddha–a massive bronze statue sitting atop a hill and completed in 1993. Our group bought special tickets so we could ride in a glass bottomed cable car which I would definitely recommend compared to the usual metal flooring. It was a very cool experience to see the ocean, trees, and people hiking trails rush by below. Once we got off the cable car, we climbed 268 exhausting stairs and reached Big Buddha (it was so much larger than I thought it would be!). It was beautiful looking out from on top of the hill and peering into the foggy mountains around me. After seeing Big Buddha, I climbed down the steps and visited the Po Lin Buddhist Monastery across from the steps. It was so fascinating to see people light incense in ancestral worship and to watch large groups chant prayers together.
On our last full day in Hong Kong, we explored the main Hong Kong Island via a guided bus tour. It was a great way to see the a large portion of the city with only one day’s time. Our first stop was the Man Mo Temple. The old and intricate temple clearly stood out from its surrounding modern sky scrapers. When we entered the temple, I instantly smelled burning incense wafting throughout the tiny building. Inside it was dimly lit, crowded with flocks of people, and glowed red with hundreds of flickering red candles. Experiencing this part of Chinese culture was one of the best experiences of the trip for me.
The next stop was Victoria Peak, the tallest mountain on HK Island at 1811 ft., with one of the best views of the city and the surrounding harbors. Victoria Peak attracts about seven million visitors per year and boasts the most expensive real estate properties in the world. The day we were there was cloudy and actually really cool!
We then rode a small boat through Aberdeen Fishing Village where many fishers live in boats on the sea. After touring the village, we ate lunch at the famous Jumbo Floating Restaurant, which is a restaurant that can only be reached by boat. After lunch, we visited the crowded Stanley Market where I bought a gorgeous painting of the city and a calligraphy poster that says, “Brilliant Future”. We finally finished off the day with a walk around the bustling Temple Street Night Market.
After three days of intense adventuring to soak up the city of Hong Kong, I was absolutely exhausted, but even more so filled with happiness for the opportunity to experience such a beautiful city.
(Click on a picture to see a slideshow of them all.)