Honk Honk Hong Kong: Day 3 – The Peak and Hong Kong Island

After last night’s fever broke I woke up feeling heaps better than the night before, but still tired to the point of not wanting to get up. Still got the headache and a bit of fever, but nothing some ibuprofen couldn’t fix.

Anyway, we started with a trip on the double decker tram, which I think I love so much because of the absurdity (I mean look at them, it’s like they could tip over at any time) and the breeze you get on the top deck. Then it was time for a trip on another tram – the famous Peak Tram which is actually more of a funicular with a tram winched on. So cool to go up and then down on, especially when it hits the maximum incline of 48%, which feels a lot steeper than it sounds. Also some great views as you head up.

Since I hadn’t eaten anything since lunch yesterday I was famished. Nothing that a pre-brunch snack of a Hong Kong egg waffle with strawberry ice cream wouldn’t be able to satisfy. I know it looks absurd, but this was exactly what I needed, so brought it with me as we went to the free Lion lookout.

List item: Visit 100 of the Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist
Progress: 92/100Sight: The Peak
Location: Hong Kong
Position: #117

I don’t think any view in Hong Kong City can beat the views you get from up here. It is beyond spectacular, even if an American tourist next to me was less than impressed. I mean, come on this view is free (if you climbed) and it’s utterly breathtaking. Idiot.

We mooched around here for a while taking in all the free views we could. There is a 360 platform higher up the Peak Tower, but we’ve planned to return at some point in the evening to get some night views so the city looks like one of those light up Christmas villages.

For a proper brunch we went inside the tram terminus building and had something that made my dieting voice scream with despair. This is Hong Kong style French toast – which is like a fried peanut butter sandwich. To be honest, I couldn’t finish it because it was a bit much but wow if this isn’t a decadent little thing that can set you up for a day of walking I don’t know what is.

After getting some souvenirs in the cheap market area, we went back down the tram, this time on the right-hand side so I can get some pictures and enjoy the view as we went down. Going down this incline is a bit strange as its like you are falling slowly in a controlled fashion. This thing really is a mechanical marvel.

Next stop Hong Kong Park, which is free and brilliant. Started with the aviary which, sadly had maintenance works so you couldn’t walk on the ground level, just the elevated walkway. Made friends with a myna bird and so some beautiful emerald doves and a sleepy silver pheasant. My hub, who is afraid of birds, was an absolute star.

Nearby were the caged birds, which were mostly endangered – probably why in cages rather than in the main aviary where people could be dicks and potentially harm them. It’s probably reasons like this that we don’t have free aviaries in the UK. I mean, we are a country that have warning signs about feeding squirrels aspirin – so we can’t be trusted with free birds.

After climbing the lookout tower we went to the section where all the office workers appear to gather. This is where the artificial lake, fountain plaza and waterfalls can be found. I mean, if you work in Central this is a perfect place to bring you lunch and find some calm.

Then we went to the conservatory, which I learned was a fancy word for inside garden, rather than just a place the upper class in Cluedo take tea before being beaten to death with a lead pipe. It’s sweet in here with the little statues and arrangements. Reminds me of the latter ones that we came across in Taipei.

A short walk from Hong Kong Park are the, again free, Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens. Aside from the exhibits here, there were masses of butterflies. I don’t think I have ever seen such a dense population of butterflies outside of an enclosed butterfly garden. It was one of those things where you just wanted to keep watching as these little delicate insects flitted about and ate their nectar.

We didn’t spend a huge amount of time here, again improvement works, but the main things to see here are the monkeys and the monkey adjacent animals (like lemurs and tamarins). They also have orang-utans which, whilst not in as huge an enclosure as in Singapore, still had decent space. Especially for a free urban zoo. There were also some meerkats… but only two. Makes you wonder what happened to the other ones.

After exiting the park we walked around to find an entrance on the Central-Mid-Levels Escalator system. These, essentially, are a long system of escalators that connect the higher elevated mid-levels of Hong Kong Island to Central at sea level. It’s primarily a commuting route (which is why the escalators reverse direction after morning rush hour). It’s one of those things that’s weirdly fun to explore, even if we did have to walk down the stairs most of the way to get to the next stop.

That stop would be the Man Mo temple. Before coming to Hong Kong I hadn’t been to too many Taoist temples, and now I’m really wracking up the numbers. This is one of the oldest temples of any denomination within Hong Kong. It’s small but, with three rooms, it’s actually cosy and has an inclusive feeling. Like the Taoist temple yesterday, there was a thick cloud of incense smoke, which I am beginning to assume is part of the ritual.

Next was lunch in the Michelin Guide recommended restaurant Tsim Chai Kee Noodle Shop. I saw a tip for this on a TripAdvisor thread about how safe it was to be a tourist in Hong Kong considering the police violence and was not disappointed. We went for the triple toppings noodles which was wontons, beef strips and a massive fish ball. This is the best food I have had in Hong Kong so far and I really wish I’d paid for an additional bowl.

Since we were in the broad area, we then walked over to the Western Market. This is an Edwardian building which houses cloth and other stores inside. It’s one of those stops where you admire the architecture rather than to buy anything. Definitely worth just stopping by for a bit when in the area.

To avoid some possible trouble indicated on Telegraph, as there was potential issues in Central, we rode on the MTR underneath the troubles and made it to Victoria Park. Again some improvement works blocked bits off, but it was nice enough park, some topiaires and a small pool for floating model boats. I guess that, after Hong Kong Park, I was honestly expecting more from it but it was perfect to have a can of Coca Cola Plus (drink of the holiday) and just chill in the late afternoon.

A nice thing to do near here, is to cross one of the bridges over to Causeway Bay. It’s a good place to get some photos across the bay from a more easterly point of view and be near some of the docked boats that you see floating out there.

Then something happened that was super embarrassing. En route to our final stop of the day I basically fainted coming out of the subway carriage. As in I nearly fainted in a rush hour MTR train, but found enough strength to leave and fold like a deck chair. My poor husband, we’d hoped that last night was the end of me feeling ill.

I gathered myself and pressed on as we only had one more place to visit: the Hong Kong Observation Wheel. I mean, it nearly happened again in the queue, so kept sitting on the poles in order to stop myself from fainting… this was not a good hour for me. We managed to get free tickets onto the wheel as part of a promotion and, as it wasn’t too busy, we got to go around four times and enjoy the nighttime views.

After nearly fainting twice, time to listen to my body and get dinner. I needed the calories and thought the best thing would be a burger place that had been making my mouth water when we walked past it on our first night. They were not kidding with a name like Burger Joys. This double cheeseburger and garlic fries was exactly what the fake doctor ordered.

Tomorrow, it’s time for our trip across the border to Macau. I’m super excited to see how this turns out and have no real idea what to expect. A bit of an early start though, but I can always sleep on the boat if needed.

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