So this is it, the last full day in the city of Hong Kong and, barring any mishaps tomorrow morning, we will have successfully navigated away from any possible violence between the police and the protesters. Also, with the exception of my voice that currently sounds like I downed a quart of whiskey last night, I am pretty much to functioning. Just in time for the finale.
Today started in a way that is pretty unusual for one of our holidays, we actually went out with the expressed intent to do some shopping. Specifically, for a Christmas decoration to bring home with us from Hong Kong. Despite so many lovely displays in stores across the city (and some in Macau) we have yet to find a single place that sold something to take home. So, some googling later and we found ourselves at the Times Square shopping centre where…
…we somehow stumbled across a Pokémon themed Christmas village! There were themed little huts with model Pokémon inside to take pictures with. Like, we could not believe our luck it was so damned cute. There was a further display inside with a bunch of Pokémon on a camping trip, again super cute. This coincided with a small pop-up on the 12th floor where I bought myself a Grookey plush and we both got free Pokémon themed tote bags.
With all the Pokémon excitement done we settled in with a hot drink, mine being a delicious baked sweet potato latte before heading into the basement levels to achieve our mission of finding suitable Christmas ornaments. Thanks to the huge amount of choice offered in Log On, we managed to find a rather lovely gingerbread man tree ornament. We also got a lovely Santa music box made by Wooderful Life as this company has been there at so many of our Asian holidays and I finally found something in the perfect price range.
We skipped breakfast for a reason today. In order to make it up to my husband for just how ill I’ve been this holiday (and to say thank you for his vigilance on the Telegram app which prevented us from being tear gassed twice) I bought us a fancy buffet lunch at Renaissance Hong Kong hotel. So many videos of what to do in Hong Kong mention doing a fancy buffet, they weren’t lying.
This one wasn’t the most expensive or the most expansive of those on offer, but this still boasts four chef stations, salad bar, sushi bar, carvery, fresh seafood, curry and a large range of desserts including a freezer full of mini Häagen-Dazs pots. It was plenty enough food and everything was of high quality. I also got to see the interesting site of a woman waltz up to the crab legs grab them by the handful onto her plate and shuffle off again.
In total, we both ended up going for about 5 rounds of buffet. Me, I ended up going with the following order: Sushi and crab leg, random hot food (including some gorgeous pork noodles), dessert, burger and salad, greatest sushi hits. I can only wonder what the more expensive lunches would have been like, but I never got to try things from two of the chef stations, so it’s not like I would have needed more choice.
Now we were both very full, we walked back to the hotel to drop off our Christmas things and made our way to Shek O in order to do the Dragon’s Back trail hike. There are a few variations out there on the specific route to take, but as we didn’t want to be on an unlit trail stumbling around in the dark, we went for one of the shorter variations that took us about two hours.
After an initial half hour of mostly climbing, everything just gave way to stunning views of southern Hong Kong Island and the surrounding islands. The main sounds up there being the wind, the waves and the screeching of black kites (at least, I think that’s just what they were) overhead.
I know that after Hallasan I said never again, but I think that knowing I can do that means that I am far more at ease about doing hikes when on holiday. Even when I’m having to scramble across rock piles that suddenly appear. I mean, I wish the views from Hallasan had been as good as these. Then again the Dragon’s Back trail is famous for this, and I will be part of the many who would recommend this during a visit to Hong Kong.
We caught a minibus for the trip back into the city and then did something that only recently became safe again, crossed the bay to go to Kowloon. Whilst there, you could see where some of the fighting had taken place and where the police had removed the anti-police graffiti. Mainly because huge sections of pavement were missing and replaced by sand. At the moment, however, things have calmed in preparation for the district elections, so we able to walk around Tsim Sha Tsui without worry.
As the sun hadn’t finished setting yet, we made for the west end of the peninsula so we could watch as the sky glowed dark orange in the last gasp of daylight. Amazingly, despite being in a huge city, you could actually see Venus, Jupiter and some stars. These disappeared once the sun finished setting and all the lights got switched in, but it was really great to see.
After taking some pictures of the Kowloon clock tower, we walked over to 1881 Heritage as I’d heard it was a really interesting looking place. Interesting was the wrong word, it was beautiful. This is a former headquarters for the Hong Kong Marine Police that has now been converted into a luxury shopping area that deals mostly in watches and jewellery. It is also possibly the best decorated shopping area that I have ever seen. Truly stunning.
Since we had some time before the nightly light and music show at Victoria Harbour, we took a leisurely stroll down the Avenue of Stars where I enjoyed finding the handprints of Hong Kong actors and directors (especially cool when I found Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung) as we discussed, of all things, the alphabet song and enjoyed the skyline of Hong Kong Island at night.
Once 8pm hit, the light show began. This would be the third time that we’ve inadvertently seen it, but the first time that we actually heard the accompanying music. It helps give some context to the flashing lights that we’ve been seeing, but it’s not hugely choreographed like the Singapore free water show. Still, I’m in awe at how many different buildings are involved in this nightly event, many in their own unique ways. It was a nice way to say goodbye to this city. Neither of us have been in the best shape this week, but we’ve definitely made sure to give each other a good time.
As Hong Kong is home to many cuisines, we decided our final meal would be something a bit different – which is how we ended up going Vietnamese. My husband’s is the pork banh mi (which I was jealous enough of that I’ve found a recipe to make my own version for when I do Vietnam for the world cooking challenge) and mine was the pho. I couldn’t finish my bowl, but made sure to make light work of the chicken wings.
All that’s left now is packing and some mental preparation for what will be a long day tomorrow given that it ends in a 23:45 flight home. I can hear my brain sobbing now.