Far East

Discussions regarding holidays in the Far East.
Maxim's also sounds good and somewhere to definitely try. Thanks again Fiona.
I am writing this in short chunks because of my concentration just now- there is honestly no need to thank every post. I know you are reading it all :D I will finish it by the end of the year :rofl
I found the name of the guide book which had the great walks- it was Lonely Planet. One we went on took in the Bird and flower markets.. We did this one morning and then went on to Maxims.
We went over onto Kowloon, getting off at Prince Edward stop and we had a 10 minute walk to the bird market. What a fascinating place. All types of birds and it seemed that the smaller they were, the better. Local people take their birds there to show them off. The best singers are the most expensive. In the market are bags of live grasshoppers which are fed to the birds using chopsticks.The birds are actually taken for walks and are taken round the other cages so that they can hear others singing. There are competitions to see who has the best singer.
From there it is a minute to the flower market. After that you walk down Nathan Road which is one of the most densely populated places in the world. We walked through Ladies Market, but most of the stalls were still being set up as it is most popular in the evening. We then went on to the Jade market. I didn’t really fancy buying from there as I think you have to know what to look for.
Finally we went to Tin Hau temple- big place with 3 separate places to worship. I didn’t spend as long as I would have there as it had become too humid and I was feeling a bit dizzy so we hopped in a taxi and went to the Star Ferry.
The Star Ferry is something you do as often as you can Make sure you go first class at least once. You do have to pay through the nose for that- I think it was about 30p at the time!! It stops close by City Hall.
You can see Victoria Park from your hotel. This is another “must do”. Get up early one morning and get to the Park by 8am latest. For those who are not going to the same hotel- you just pick the nearest park. The parks are full of people in different groups doing Tai Chi. The guide books will tell you that. However you will also see fan and sword dances and aerobics. It is well worth the early start. The day we did this we then took a tram from outside the park to do another Lonely Planet walk taking in ginseng and dried fish shops and leading on to antique shops and markets. However, unfortunately I had begun to feel really unwell again and we ended up taking a taxi back to the hotel where I had to go back to my bed for a while. It was disappointing as the walk would have led you to some really interesting parts that you probably would not have stumbled upon. Its a walk I will need to complete one day!
A further Lonely Planet walk we did was to the Central district. The first stop was at the "wet" market. We do tend to like to have a wander through local markets as they can be really interesting. It is particularly the case in Hong Kong as there are just so many foodstuffs I can not fathom out what they are. And some I can- I don't understand why they want to eat it at all :lol: This is where the locals come for fish, chickens etc. Not good for the stomach! the smell is really something else. Next stop Man Mo temple a small place full of lanterns and joss sticks still well used by the locals. The temple is next to Ladder Street which is a long set of steps which go on forever, more like a ladder than a stairway. It is also the antique centre and enjoyed looking around the different shops, could have spent a fortune. Finally had a look around the local western market before getting back on the mtr and heading for the Hong Kong museum. The museum was huge and showed Hong Kong from the earliest day’s right up to the present. There were full size
sampans and rooms set up as they were through the ages as well as a Chinese theatre. We spent ages in there and could have stayed longer. The only reason we actually went there was because it started to rain but I can highly recommend it.
At this point, I have to say, that we exhausted ourselves the first time we went- 5 days- trying to do absolutely everything. We had Bangkok after that and I can remember just thinking ourselves lucky we had a few days relaxing in koh Samui at the end. If you are doing HK and then going right home afterwards, pace yourselves. If you love HK you will always have a reason to revisit- even as a stopover.
Temple Street Market- this is worth a visit. The market is in the evenings. We bought a few things the first time we went but didn't the following time. The street itself is worth a look- shops with fish or birds or various foodstuffs, antique shops.
Stanley market- this was a great day out. as much for what to see along the way as for the destination itself.
We got on the mtr yet again and headed for exchange square bus station at Central district. The bus journey took about 45 minutes and was quite good because it took you through the less populated parts of Hong Kong and through the countryside. We really enjoyed Stanley, once just a small fishing village. Apart from the market it has not really changed that much. Bought a few souvenirs. Back on the bus and took a 15 minute bus ride to Aberdeen. Husband wanted to visit Aberdeen football club, who were probably getting on better than our local one :rofl , but I managed to guide him past that. As we were having a stroll along the waterside we were accosted by a woman of about 90 who insisted we should go on her sampan for a trip around the harbour. We had planned to do that anyway so we followed her on. We spent about half an hour on our trip round the harbour which included going out to the famous Jumbo Restaurant. It features on just about every Hong Kong postcard and it did look impressive, even during the day. It must be quite a sight lit up at night.She took us to what looks like a village of junks and sampans. Some folks hardly ever go on to dry land apparently. Once we were ashore we had a walk round the small town of Aberdeen. I don't think most tourists actually cross the road to the town but its so interesting, probably helped by the fact that we seemed to be the only tourists there. Another one time fishing village which seemed to be the place to buy Peking duck as every second shop had dozens of them hanging up in the window. God knows how long they had been hanging up as the smell was stomach churning. Some other shops were selling various dried animal parts again lying in the window and again had an “interesting” smell! There were loads of medicine and herb shops. Again- lots of foodstuffs we could not even begin to guess what they were.
I am doing what I normally don't - and that is typing right on to thread and not using Word first so will post this for now and continue on a new one
Lantau Island -This has the largest bronze Buddha in Asia. We took the MTR from just outside our hotel ( Tin Hau) and got off at Central Station. Its only a short walk from here to Pier 6at the outlying islands ferry station. The ferry took 45 minutes. Then it was a bus for a very winding steep journey up to Po Lin Monastery. The Buddha sits on top of a hill with a climb of about 260 steps to reach him. It is quite a climb but worth it. I would recommend that you do not do this early on in your holiday- leave it till you have had a few days of walking all over the place. My calves went on strike for a day or two afterwards!The ticket you buy to climb the steps also pays for a vegetarian meal at the monastery. The meal was surprisingly good.The monastery itself is worth looking around. It just feels like you are back in history. We planned to get a bus to Tai O fishing village but we would have had a 45 min wait so we hopped on a taxi. Tai O is like stepping back in time. It is very quiet with lots of houses on stilts and narrow pathways.We spent quite a while having a wander through. If you want to buy fish, you won't get fresher- they were still swimming. In some cases they were kept on the fishing boats and you just pointed out which one you wanted. Our guide book recommended lunch there instead of the monastery but I dont really think I would have fancied it there. A walk through the market means an assault on your sense of smell- lots of dried fish and animal body parts lying out in the heat to dry and covered in flies! I stood for a while on the little bridge watching the fish in the river and appreciating the peace. I would definitely recommend a visit to the village if you go to Po Lin.
Lantau is where the airport is situated and is also where Disney land is. It was only just getting built when we were on the island so can't comment on the impact it has made. Might be better to research now and find if Tai O is still the same or become more developed. However Lantau is a big island.

Happy Valley racecourse- we did see it from the outside but haven't made it there yet. I think it would be interesting though. Chinese are definitely into gambling and horses. We had walked past it on our way to the British Forces Graveyard to lay flowers at my great uncle's grave. We did this in our July trip and it brings back the memories of just how humid it was then. You will be going at a far more comfortable time of the year for seeing all the sights. My dad had been years before and described where about the grave was. I remember it was "up a grassy knoll". By the time we had found the graveyard we were melting and this little knoll felt like a huge mountain. By the time we left it was as if the heavens had opened- absolutely soaking. We had been wanting to go to an upmarket shopping centre but decided we couldn't possibly go like we were. Then the best thing happened- the heavens did actually open.So by the time we reached the centre everyone was the same :rofl
Light Show at the harbour. This was quite spectacular. For about 15- 20 minutes from 8pm many buildings have laser lights which sweep through the sky. Also the buildings themselves are lit up with amazing light sequences. Have a look here.
We viewed this from the Avenue of Stars( the Chinese version of the one in Hollywood) and then had a look at the famous names. We only recognised a couple but the Chinese tourists were going daft! We had a drink at a bar on the promenade and then went on to Peking Garden restaurant at Star House which was close by. It was full of noisy locals. Eating in Hong Kong is a very sociable affair. You are not meant to order dishes just for yourself- they are for sharing. Using your chopsticks, you should take the food closest to you on each plate. You are expected to leave a messy table and if your mobile rings ALWAYS answer it! Along with your meal you are expected to drink copious amounts of tea. If you empty your cup it will always be refilled for you- so if you've had enough, leave some! I know many restaurants come and go but I can't imagine this one changing.
Yung Kee restaurant- this is a world famous place - you go for the roast goose. It was the one place where I left bitterly disappointed. I have just checked reviews to make sure it is still there and one of the most recent ones says exactly what I thought at the time. Service to us was very poor and the food was just as bad. I kept wondering why so many folks found this a great place and came to the conclusion that we were getting discriminated against. We are not Chinese and can't speak Cantonese. It was a feeling I didn't like having and kind of dismissed it later and just thought we were unlucky so its strange to see what could easily have been an up to date version of our one This was the exception as I did find HK to be very friendly.
Hong Kong Park- info here. We didn't have long to spend there so just touched the surface. It is close to the Botanical and Zoological park- which we have not visited.
The park is a bit odd in a way I can't put my finger on. It is amongst skyscrapers and shopping centres and seems to rise above them. Also its not a Park in the normal sense- no grass to sit on. We went there to see the aviary. It is up a hill( which to be honest, the whole park is on). We spent a while getting up the hill, which had lots of signposts and info about the aviary, just missing one important fact- it was closed!! We were there during the bird flu time. I would go back in the future.
If you look at various top 10s I seem to have so much still to see. But Hong Kong is just worth walking around various areas. You don't need to visit the top 10 attractions without realising it is just a fascinating place. I will no doubt remember lots of other things but I've probably written enough for now to get going with and have an idea of what you would be most interested in from my ramblings- and hopefully see things I haven't seen yet :)
Two things I remember that I had a laugh about- walking past the doctors surgery which was called Cheerio. Coming across a traffic cone in the middle of boulevard with a sign that said- beware of the traffic cone :rofl
:wow :thanks Oh my Fiona, thank you so much typing all that out. Must have taken you ages. One thing for sure, we will not need to buy any Rough Guides as you have given is a wealth of information on this thread. Good thing is we will be taking our tablets so I will be able to access this information and read and re-read when we are there.

Here was me thinking there would not be much to do in a week!

Once thing is for certain, as I am married to an Aberdonian and live in Aberdeen (Scotland) a visit to Aberdeen in HK is definitely on the cards.

Paid for another wee treat today. As we are flying BA on the new A380 they have economy seats on the upper deck. I am against the idea of having to pay to pre-book your seats and did say we would just wait and get our seats when check in opens 24 hours before, however as this is a special trip, first time on a A380, we have pre-booked the seats in the upper deck :cheers

Still cannot believe I have to wait 9 months for this trip!

Anyway thanks again Fiona for your invaluable advice.
:tut Now I did say you needed to buy some good guidebooks! :rofl
I did take some sections from previous reports of mine so it wasn't all typed up for the first time. But I did lose my very first report on HK here and I have a horrible feeling that I can't find it anywhere else as it might have been on my computer which blew up during a thunderstorm. I seem to have not saved it. :( OH might have a paper copy somewhere.
I had to help a fellow Aberdonian ;)
Brilliant report Fiona, loved reading it, thanks :tup
A quick update.......we are here :cheers

Flights were brilliant and the A380 amazing. Wow what a machine.

Hotel is brilliant as Fiona says great location. The only disappointment is the weather. It has more or less rained non stop since Wednesday, now Friday 10.15 am and still raining. It has stopped us visiting The Peak as visibility is so poor so really no point. The humidity is playing havoc with my hair as well lol.

It is funny, reading back over Fiona's excellent notes we have done many of the things she suggested. The tram is just brilliant and at about 20p to get all the way along the line, well cheap. Took the MTR to Kwai Chung and Mongkok. Never seen so many people in all my life. Just crazy.

We actually find it very inexpensive although we did eat out for hubby's big birthday at Crowne Plaza as we read about their rooftop bar but I have to say the bar was pretty dark and dismal and the food was good but very expensive. You can eat in the Metropark for a third of the price, plus you can have unlimited wine for around £5. Bottle of wine in the Crowne Plaza was over £30 for the bottle :(

Anyway I will do a review of the hotel when we get back. Just hope the rain stops for a while?
Thanks for popping in, good to hear you are still enjoying your holiday despite the weather, I do hope the rain stops for you.

Funny the humidity never bothers my hair :rofl
The minute I read about your hair situation my heart went out to you :(

Hope the weather picks up for you & I'm looking forward to reading your review :tup

Enjoy :sun2
Shame about the rain but I hope it hasn't spoilt things too much. At least you have an excuse for being soaking wet- had a few times like that but with no rain. :rofl Humidity is a killer.
I hope you have been to Maxims :D and also hope you get the Peak view.
Well back home now :(

Had a fantastic week in Hong Kong despite the weather and hair problems ;) Good thing is though I went and got a haircut at a hairdressers just up from the hotel. They did an excellent job and wow so cheap. I have naturally curly hair which I straighten out but in 1 minute in the humidity sent it crazy. Anyway enough about my hair.

The weather unfortunately did stop us doing some of what we planned. Absolutely no point going to the Peak or the Buddha as the cloud was so low you would not see anything. Laugh of it is I come back to Aberdeen back to the haar - yes you Aberdonians will know exactly what that is. At least in Hong Kong is was warm.

However we still had a brilliant time. Hong Kong is absolutely manic and bustling everywhere you go. Never seen so many eating places and shops anywhere.

We travelled about either by foot, tram and MTR. I cannot believe how cheap it is to travel on the tram and MTR. It cost us 20p to go the whole line on the tram!! The MTR cost us about 50p to get to Kowloon. Just incredible and no wonder it is so well used by locals.

The hotel was fantastic, great location and excellent service, staff and food and if/when we return I would definitely stay at the Metropark Causeway Bay. We did eat in the hotel a few nights as I was a tad scared to try some of the other places. The hotel had an Asian buffet most nights which was excellent value and it was great to try all the different dishes. Even better for 69 HKD (just over £5) you could have unlimited wine with your meal until 9.30pm :tongue Excellent value. Oh and happy hour which was from 4pm - 9pm (they do like their happy hours in HK) made pre dinner or after dinner drinks very very reasonable.

We will definitely have to return to HK but maybe in their winter as they do get quite a bit of rain in April, even more in May June and July.

Overall a fantastic week and a big thanks to everyone in this thread for all your input which helped tremendously. :tup
did the bar still cater for the locals' karaoke night? Fantastic evenings and brilliant singers!
Next time- don't be too afraid to try new places to eat. And then you will also have the Peak to visit so you have a good reason to go back.
Fog- every morning is like Groundhog Day here in Aberdeen at the moment :(
I did mean to mention Vic's Bar. No Karaoke but a singer every night who was pretty........ well lets be kind and say she was not that good. Absolutely murdered Adele songs. Problem was she sang the same songs every night. It was a good laugh though especially watching the locals line dancing :D

Know what you mean re the fog!
some of the best times we have had is when the singers murder songs and also do their own version of the words.
We spent a day in Hong Kong one January. Cold at night but absolutely perfect weather for during the day with all the walking you do. also been in July where it did rain but not much. I think you were just so unlucky.
Why not consider Langkawi Ialand of Malaysia....it is a duty free island, everything is cheap here, with current currency you will be king here.....
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