We mentioned in our introductory post, Our Adventure Begins, that a friend of our had connected us with a tour company for our time in Hong Kong. Our third day in Hong Kong would be dedicated to some good old fashioned tourism, with the help of Eastern Journeys. We met up with our tour guide and started our day off with a ferry to Hong Kong Island; the vantage point and the near-perfect weather made for some more postcard-worthy photos:
Our tour of Hong Kong Island began in Sheung Wan, located in the north-west of the island and home to a thriving market. From there we made our way to Hong Kong’s dried provisions markets. The plethora of weird-yet-wonderful, always-dried products and ingredients there is truly astounding.
Once we’d had our fill of the dried provisions market, we hopped on a double decker bus to cover some more ground and see Hong Kong Island from a bit of an elevated perspective. Also, we’ve only got a few days here, so a little bus action means more sites than our feet would have been able to handle.
The highlight of the bus ride was definitely our view of Repulse Bay (above); if you’re well off and you live in Hong Kong, you might just call Repulse Bay home. Real estate prices here are only matched in one of our next stops: The Peak. So, being the educated shoppers that we are, we decided to hold off on buying a vacation spot in Repulse Bay until we saw The Peak. Just being savvy. Otherwise we’d totally be two specks on that beach.
We arrived in Stanley, which seems to be on an entirely different schedule than the rest of Hong Kong. Everything’s a bit more casual and relaxed, making for a truly pleasant neighborhood to walk around in. The spot was once a fishing port, and is now home to the Stanley Market and a variety of shoreline pubs and cafes. We settled upon one such restaurant for a bit of lunch, digging into curry fish cakes and several different noodle dishes.
We have to say, one of the biggest benefits of using a tour company: you never stop. We fit a hell of a lot into one day, covered a lot of territory, and rode more buses than we normally would in a month. Our next bus was headed to Aberdeen, located on the south shore of Hong Kong Island. For a long time it was known as the floating town; today, there’s still the Floating Jumbo Restaurant beckoning to tourists (behind Mike in the photo below), surrounded by a thriving fishing harbor.
The only way to see a harbor, really, is by boat. So we took a little sampan tour: sampans are generally flat-bottomed, smaller wooden boats that have become one of Hong Kong’s signature forms of transportation (well, all over Asia, really). From our sampan we could see into the harbor’s working fishing junks, the real lifeblood of the area and a concept/design with some serious staying power–they originally developed around the Han Dynasty, in 206 B.C.
After that, we were off to The Peak. At 552 meters, it’s the highest vantage point on Hong Kong Island and an understanably popular tourist spot. Usually we try to avoid the “typical tourist spots,” but we’d have been fools to miss this one. Thankfully, our clear weather continued and were able to take in the area’s reputedly stunning views of Hong Kong. We walked around a bit, hit some of the area’s shops, then got back on our merry way.
Our next stop was Causeway Bay, located on the northern shore of Hong Kong Island. It’s another one of the city’s main shopping/market areas, easily rivaling Mongkok as far as crowding goes. (We hit Mongkok yesterday, and by “hit,” we mean “stumbled through the mosh pit-style streets trying not to get trampled.”) A solid lineup of street food vendors create a refreshing contrast to the variety of department stores and designer boutiques–it’s pretty obvious where our priorities lie…
At this point, we’ve seen a solid amount of Hong Kong Island, several different markets, taken a ride on a sampan and 432 buses, and enjoyed our fair share of the local cuisine. We were craving just a few minutes in the sweet refuge of the Peninsula, so we headed back to lighten our load and process everything for a minute or two. (This is what it looked like when we arrived back at the hotel the night–beautiful, right?)
…but we weren’t about to call it a night. Our final stop of the day: the Temple Street Night Market for a little nighttime shopping, dinner, and drinks. Popular with tourists and locals alike, the market’s open from 4:00 PM until midnight each day and is consistently buzzing with activity.