Technically our second stop in China, Hong Kong is a separate administrative state within China, which lucky for us doesn’t require a visa. The city is spread between an archipelago south of the Pearl River and is centered around Victoria Harbor. The Harbor is essentially a strait between Hong Kong Island to the south and Kowloon to the north. The city is very cosmopolitan with lots of cultural activities surrounded by beautiful vistas and lots of nature. My impression of Hong Kong was basically China light; we were able to talk to people in English and it had a very western feel likely due to it’s history as a British colony ending with a return to China in 1997. Of all the cities we have been to it reminds me of NYC the most, even though no city can really be compared to New York.
We rented another Airbnb, it was a little apartment in the Tin Hau neighborhood on the island of Hong Kong, we entered the apartment through this small stairs entry that was used by a young man selling toys during the day, every little space is used for commerce here. The apartment had enough space for us to sleep and eat and do school, so it was perfect. The kitchen was out the back door and into an unconditioned space. We assumed this was typical for China.
Our first day in Hong Kong we settled in to do some school, Maddy completed some work and then we went out to explore Victoria Park, which was two blocks from our apartment. It has a huge sports complex with swimming, tennis and a huge garden abutting the coast. We played on a few play grounds and exercise parks before heading home. That night we went out to eat then took a ride on the Ferris wheel along the bay and stayed for ice cream and a laser light show that had lights coordinated between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. The light show was less than impressive.
Our second day we completed school and visited a science museum and stopped by the Bruce Lee statue over near Kowloon Bay where Bruce Lee was raised.
The next day after finishing school we split up the girls and rode a tram up and down the island; Caroline and I toured hidden valley and counted Teslas (there are tons of them). We got off at the western market. It was a bit of a dud if you ask me except for the fabric level which my mother would have loved. Afterwards we walked to an antique souvenir street where Caroline and I had fun looking at all the touristy antiques, but we didn’t buy anything other than a replica 1950’s map of Hong Kong.
The next day we went out to Shek-O beach and met up with one of Maddy’s friends from business school and her family and another family with kids of similar ages. We played on the beach for a while then got dinner with the families before grabbing a taxi to the other side of the island.
The next day we headed to the “The Peak” the highest point in Hong Kong and of course had take the tram up to the top and attempt some hiking. The views from the top were amazing. We actually took a bus up to the top and then rode the tram down as was recommended by our friends. The kids got some well deserved ice cream at the top but we didn’t get tickets for the 360 degree cantilevered outlook probably just as well.
Our last day before leaving Hong Kong we visited the Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha. We rode the subway out to Lantau Island before hoping on a gondola lift out to the monastery. It was one of the most beautiful monasteries I have ever seen… sorry Uncle Paul, yours is pretty awesome too.