The upside of being tiny is that you curl up well, like a cat, on most seats. Which particularly came in handy when I found myself catching some shut eye on a Thursday night Cathay Pacific flight bound direct for Hong Kong. A few hours of catching zzz’s, and I was ready to hit the ground running for a 55 hour marathon visit through the city.
The short spur-of-the-moment trips are often the most memorable and goes to show it only takes a weekend to travel the world.
I won’t say it was the cheapest, not only did I fly the pricier airline (the only direct flight), but I also went on Hong Kong 7’s weekend. In fact, it was probably the most expensive flight I’ve ever taken considering the amount of time away (AU$1065). However, with only the Friday off work, I paid what it took to get there.
This is the city in a nutshell. 7 million people. A city of contrast and a meshing of cultures that makes it their own. Hong Kong was once part of the British empire until 1997, only 16 years ago. It’s since become a region of China, however is considered a Special Administrative Regions of the People’s Republic of China, as it’s not part of Mainland China.
Getting around is easy to do. While taking taxis can sometimes be difficult if you don’t speak Cantonese (I got blank looks), you can rely heavily on the MTR, which is both in Cantonese and English. The MTR can take you straight from the airport to Central HK.
If you are taking a taxi from the airport, just remember to grab a red taxi if youre heading into the city. The blue taxis don’t leave Lantau Island, where the airport and Disneyland is.
We stayed at City Garden Hotel, just two blocks from Fortress Hill train station. It was clean, neat and the view was of those buildings in the first photo.
City Garden Hotel, 9 City Garden Road, North Point, Hong Kong Island
Feeling pretty peckish, we dove into food at Zuma, found on an upper level of Landmark, in Central Hong Kong. Landmark is home to the stores of Jimmy Choo, Chanel, Prada, Armani, Gucci and a gazillion other luxury brands way out of my price range.
You can get really tasty food for cheap in Hong Kong, but Zuma was on our must-try list. The prices were comparable to eating out in Perth. We shared a sencha (japanese green tea), a litre of still water and a Hotei lunch, a choice of appetiser, sushi and a main dish. We selected a duck salad, sashimi and sirloin, and the total came to ~AU$80. Comfortably full, mostly thanks to the steak, we kept on trucking.
Zuma, Level 5 & 6, 15 Queen’s Road, Central Hong Kong
Of all the things to see in Hong Kong, it’s no surprise this Disney lover made a beeline for Hong Kong Disneyland. Instead of rambling on, check out the photo album and its notes. Don’t mind the fact that I’m obsessed with store designs! Click the photo to go through.
I’m not sure how to explain how you fall in love with Hong Kong. It’s crammed, the buildings and sky are grey and people don’t understand personal space. But there’s something about the hustle and bustle, the kaleidoscope of colour at night, the mix of western and eastern, that makes you want to be a part of it.
After Hong Kong Disneyland, and freshing up at the hotel, we ventured out to Lan Kwai Fong. This is party central, but this is no Northbridge. It lacks the hostility and aggressiveness often found when someone has too much happy drink. You’ll feel pretty safe around here.
We poked our heads into several places and eventually found a small restaurant for dinner up inside some small mall, whose name I forgot by the time I got back downstairs from eating. Food here in general is oily (which makes most things oh-so-good) so if you have a weak stomach, gastrostop is an important thing to pack. Just saying. I may have taken it before the meal knowing full well how the food would go down otherwise. Visions of me shrieking ‘toilet! toilet!’ may have crossed my mind…
I store gazed as we made our way back to a long line up waiting for taxis. We finished up the night drinking cocktails ( whiskey sours were my thing at the time) in the downstairs bar at our hotel with friends of my then-boyfriend ( who I was travelling with).
Finally crawled upstairs and fell asleep dreaming of Disney whilst asleep on a toy Stitch I had bought earlier (for my sister. I made sure not to drool on it). The pillows are hard, the mattresses harder. Get ready to fall asleep on a plank. Disney seems to make everything better, even the ability to sleep.