Ah Hong Kong. God we love Hong Kong. After landing we instantly stopped being annoyed at having to pay the airfare to get here. The greatest city on earth. A symphony of modernism, Chinese culture with British streaks, clean, sophisticated, efficient, beautiful, and….cold!!! Words cannot describe how amazing it felt to leave the heat of SE Asia and actually feel cold! Although having 24 degrees feel cold enough for jeans and a jersey is a little bit worrying…
We were in Hong Kong primarily to get our Chinese visa, which ended up being so easy and cheap that it was a bit of a joke! We handed in our passports at 10am, got them back at 6pm and paid just HK$480 each. Easy! Although we’re glad we weren’t American…Hk$2,700 for the same visa!!
As we arrived in Hong Kong on Saturday night, we had Sunday to spend doing stuff before we dealt with the visa on Monday. So we walked, went to Hong Kong island, took the star ferry, walked around Kowloon, Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok, walked some more…it was SOOO nice being able to walk and not feel hot and sweaty all the time. So nice!!! We ended up leaving at around 10am and not stopping, save for a quick lunch, until about 6pm. 21 km of walking we racked up. It just proved to us how the oppressive heat really did sap our energy in SE Asia.
The Monday was spent getting visas as mentioned above, as well as recuperating from our walk and a bit more exploring. Finding the mall where we had most of our breakfasts 2 years ago, as well as finding the underground mall where Will’s Mum and Dad bought him a giant inflatable stegosaurus some 25 odd years ago were particular highlights.
Tuesday was spent sorting out train tickets and more exploring, and then on Wednesday we went to Macau for a day trip.
Macau is so different to Hong Kong. While the British controlled Hong Kong for many years, the Portuguese controlled Macau in the same vein. The streets of the hilly peninsula are tiny with many being cobbled and tiled, giving a feeling of being in Europe! The architecture was distinctly European in parts with more old churches than I’ve seen anywhere outside of Europe. We climbed up to the fortress which gave amazing 360 degree views over the city. And it had cannons. Boom!
After that we saw the ruins of an old church, and spent the rest of the day following the world heritage trail down more narrow streets, through quaint squares, and past grand buildings. Once at the end we walked back via the giant ghastly casinos filled with the rich and pulsating with Maybachs, Porsches, Lambourghinis , Mercs and other expensive car types, and then followed the F3 race track back to the ferry terminal.
We might as well put costs in here as we leave shortly for China so are not sure if we can access this blog while there. We spent, not including the flight or the Chinese visas, NZD515, which equates to $103 a day. However when you take the boat to Macau out we were living on $90 a day pretty comfortably. Yes, Hong Kong is expensive…if you let it be!
Next up: a 15 hour sleeper train in China. Finally, our first train!