30th of September: On our way to Hong Kong
Everything is checked, the backpacks are ready and we leave by car to Schiphol. As always we are very early but that gives us enough time to search for Lonely Planet Hong Kong and the necessary magazines.

We board in time and full of energy and are ready to leave, but unfortunately we are informed by the pilot we will get half and hour delay due to the plane missing its time slot.

October 1st: Fireworks in the harbour: Anna lashes out at the police!
After 11 hours of flight, all the magazines and many more movies, we arrive in Hong Kong pretty beaten up. How is it possible that we, as one of the first off the plane, always end up as one of the last people to pass customs? Can it be because we always choose the wrong line? The only advantage of that is that your bag is already waiting for you on the conveyor belt, but still.

After buying an Octopus card (a public transport ticket and also a payment for parking and supermarkets), we take the metro to the center, where we transfer to the free shuttle bus to the hotel. The bus ride was an adrenaline boost, as our driver was a complete maniac, who ripped through the city with about 70 km per hour where you could obviously do no more than 30 km/h. Once at the hotel we are lucky to get straight to our room, three hours before check-in time. After a refreshing shower in the bathroom, which is in need of a slight renovation, we are ready to go and enjoy the local “cuisine” in the snack bar opposite the hotel. The won ton soup and BBQ pork with rice tasted absolutely delicious.

Every evening at 20.00 at the waterfront at Victoria Harbour, there is a beautiful light / laser data show, with music, spread over 44 buildings on both Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon. But on the 1st of October, the Chinese also celebrate the ‘National Day of the People’s Republic of China’ culminating in a deafening, retina burning, fireworks display. To our surprise, the waterfront was already filled with hundreds of people armed with tripods and cameras in all shapes and sizes, already more than 4 hours in advance! In order to watch the biggest fireworks spectacle you have to get there early, you might lash out at the Police, just as Anna did…

Link: Check out the complete story how Anna lashes out at the Hong Kong Police!


October 2: Seated Buddha on Lantau Island
After we slept like babies, due to the time difference, the long journey, and very impressive fireworks the day before, we decide to go to Lantau Island. Lantau Island is the largest island in Hong Kong, with the most beautiful beaches, and quaint fishing villages with traditional markets. Furthermore, the island consists mainly of a huge national park, which is terrific for hiking. For entertainment and family fun you can spend hours in Hong Kong Disney.

But perhaps the most famous landmark is the massive Tian Tan Buddha, the seated representation of Lord Gautama, sitting 23 m high, with six statues of bodhisattvas around its base and part of the Po Lin Monastery. The plateau is easily accessible via the Ngong Ping cable car. Nearby the Buddha , you can find many temples, shops and restaurants. Even though this is a bit of a ‘tourist trap’, with lots and lots of tourists (which we are obviously as well), it somehow manages to come across as very authentic with local people who burn incense and sacrifice, and quite a tranquil atmosphere. At the Po Lin Monastery you can get delicious and cheap vegetarian lunch; you can buy your meal ticket at the restaurant or at the bottom of the Buddha.

In the afternoon we went to the traditional fishing village of Tai O by bus. This large village partly built on stilts (just like our hometown Amsterdam, but slightly different) with a cute fish market, small shops and interesting viewpoints. If you walk around enough you will come across all sorts of lovely temples and sacrificial places.

Back in Tsim Sha Tsui, at the Tin Heung Lau restaurant, we had the most wonderful crab dishes, but especially the Dim Sum with crab was amazing. However, they are only available during the crab season, from October to February. Actually it was a little pricey, but worth it.

Soon more …

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