Hong kong is crazily huge and diverse, I did not expect it to have so many different landscapes and so much nature. At first when I heard of the name of this city, I just thought of myriad of skyscrapers, pollution and hordes of people. The skyscrapers and hordes of people did not disappoint me, they really are there but not always skyscrapers are the only scenery : they slowly fade away in order to let the nature and green sceneries come in. I must confess I like both: the city’s concrete jungle and the wild nature.
Hong Kong Central
To experience the “concrete jungle”, it is mandatory a visit to Hong Kong Central. This place has european and american vibes all around. Wandering in these streets made me feel like being in an American city more than in an Asian one: shining glasses of tall skyscrapers, Merry Christmas and Santa Claus everywhere and many caucausians speaking english.
My father, being a huge fan of Hard Rock Cafe, made us come all the way here to visit the Hong Kong one. My boyfriend kindly provided my phone with internet but in spite of it, I could not find this freaking Hard Rock Cafè! Google maps kept changing my position and saying all the time my direction was wrong therefore I got lost in the Central district. Not that I was too sad about it.
That place is all up and down, full of cars and very lively so I enjoyed wandering aimlessly while beholding the sight of these crazily tall skyscrapers. At a certain point I got tired of following Google maps because I realized the signal was not the best due to the presence of skyscrapers and made my way there using my instinct and I made it.
From there we also walked to the Tram Peak but after checking out that the queue of tourists waiting outside was about to go on for the whole day (internet had warned me but I was stubborn and went the same), I decided to give up. Furthermore it was also very hot for being December so I did not want to wait standing up for hours. We opted to wander around there and enjoy the citylife looking at skyscrapers ahah Central district is not just the financial heart of the city but here you can find small markets at the corner of the streets and street vendors that are not only limited to sell food but repair your stuff, polish yours shoes and anything that you can think of. Although this european aura, the area still keep its Asian identity 😉
When my boyfriend came back from the trip to Japan, we searched together the bus stop for Stanley and this time we made it. I would really advice you all to use the bus because it is much much less crowded and you can see many places just sitting down. We saw the southern part of the island and the mini isles scattered around, passing through many posh districts with sea-view houses mainly inahbitated by white people. A totally different sight from the tiny and crowded flats in the city centre.
I really enjoyed the bus ride because I was allowed to enjoy such beautiful sceneries that I did not expect to find in Hong Kong. Once arrived at the top, we discovered that, despite being far away from the city, here there is a large mall where you can find any kinds of restaurants and shops. If you are interested in the sight, just like I was, skip all the shops and take the lift up where you will be awarded with a breathtaking view over the hordes of skyscrapers Hong Kong is made up of. Congratulations, now you are higher than any other Hong Kongers ahah
To go back, we decided to take the Peak Tram because I read on internet that is less crowded when it comes to come back and it is much faster than the bus. Although it was stated so, we still found many people waiting but the service was very efficient and fast. Honestly speaking from the tram you cannot see much due to the amount of people that, before you, could get the best seats and then, there are trees covering the sight every minute. I recommend the bus ride because you can see more and avoid being squeezed like in a tuna can ahha even though, the Peak Tram has its own charm, as it was built by Britons and used since then. What makes it even more special is that the road down is very steep, you see Hong Kong from another angle, literally.
How To Reach
You can either take the Peak Tram 15 minutes away from the Central Metro Station or take the bus 15 at the Ferry Pier bus stop.
Stanley was the first administrative settlement that was built by the Britons after the annexation of Hong Kong and before moving to the former Victoria city, known nowadays as Hong Kong Central. Unlike Hong Kong, which massively developed throughout the centuries, Stanley managed to retain its charm as fishing village: life is slow and more carefree. You can realize this just by looking around you: happy families and children playing near the shore.
It is also less crowded than Hong Kong making easier to enjoy the sight of the sea – you must remember that we are still on Hong Kong island eh! Scattered all around you can find small temples, a pier and a huge mall…yeah, a mall! Here you can find them everywhere. Near the mall you would definitely spot a big temple.
I had a nice experience in that temple because for the first time I prayed chinese deities. We had the luck to find a kind and funny guy that gladly explained everything to us in english. First of all you buy some incense in the temple, then burn the tips and divide them evenly. After doing this, you go to the gods you want to ask a favour of and put there your incense by bowing. He explained us the roles of the different gods and told us that the smoke you often see in the temples is the wifi that keeps you connected with the gods ahah a very funny guy, indeed.
We stayed there the whole afternoon enjoying the nice sea breeze and exploring the various beaches. We also peeked inside some houses of the villagers. I read on internet that the only place where you can bathe safely is the southern part of Hong Kong island because it is not affected by the dirty water that comes from China. My boyfriend, indeed, explained me that the river in Shatin used to smell a lot before because of chinese water infiltration.
Stanley is not just beaches but there is a very cute market selling souvenirs and clothes just behind the sea promenade. We spent much time there buying stuff and we even witnessed a live demonstration of chinese calligraphy. At the sunset we decided to go back to the city to grab something to eat and rest after the long day. I really enjoyed Stanley and I advice you all to go here during autumn and winter because the atmosphere is very relaxed and there are less people. My boyfriend told me that in summer it is too crowded and terribly hot!
How To Reach
- If you want to enjoy Hong Kong interesting view, you can choose to take the bus number 6 or 66.
- If you want to make it in less time, take the number 260 that passes through Aberdeen tunnel.
I am going to write more about Hong Kong and surrounding areas so stay tuned, thanks for reading 😀