For locals, taking the “trek” from Hong Kong island to Kowloon side may seem quite a haul, however, in actuality it’s a short 3 minute MTR ride from Central or a 7 minute ferry ride from the pier. Leaving the island is definitely worth it and expands your view of Hong Kong.
Sean & Kristyne’s Ultimate Hong Kong Itinerary: Part 2
Day 2: Hong Kong from Kowloon side
“You can’t understand a city without using it’s public transportation system” – Erol Ozan.
- Hong Kongers LOVE their public transportation. They literally rave about it to anyone that will listen. I don’t know if you noticed, but the the first item on my last itinerary was public transportation. I didn’t mean to do it, and I also didn’t mean to start off this post with another transportation highlight. I guess I’m becoming more HK than I realized! Without further ado, let’s start off Day 2’s itinerary with the Star Ferry. The Star ferry is a cross-harbor ferry trip, which just like most of HK’s transportation services, is extremely cheap – it costs about 36 cents USD. You can’t get better than that! There is one ferry ride that leaves just before 8pm that you can try to time perfectly to see the symphony of lights, but Sean and I have never been able to time this one out properly.
- Avenue of Stars: The avenue of stars is similar to Los Angeles Hollywood Walk of Fame, with stars and hand prints/footprints of famous film stars or musicians. It’s quite scenic as it’s right along Victoria Harbor. Most of the stars are dedicated to local Hong Kong or Chinese artists, however more well known stars that you can find here are Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan.
- Monkey Hill: If you have some time and are in Kowloon, you should try to venture out to Monkey Hill. To get there, you need to take the MTR a bit far out, and then a public bus (Bus 81) which can be a bit hard to find but it’s definitely worth it. You will see monkey’s… dozens & dozens… everywhere. It’s actually a bit intimidating. Initially the idea of visiting wild monkey’s was fun. Then I came to realize a few things: 1.) They are WILD. And they are big. This is not a little squirrel that you can shoo away – no!! – when they show their teeth at you and you realize there’s no cage between you and an attack, you’ll understand where I’m coming from. 2.) They are pesky. Don’t wear anything shiny, don’t put anything down they could take, don’t feed them. Go ahead, try getting something back from a monkey – nope not happening. 3.) They are everywhere. When we went with Colie & Abel, it was a bit misty and rainy. Monkey Hill is technically in Kam Sham Country park and part of a series of trails in Hong Kong. We were going to try to trek a bit onto the trails, but we kept hearing monkey’s all around us jumping in the trees. You can’t see them, but they can see you. All in all, seeing the monkey’s are definitely worth it, just make sure you treat them like they are – wild.
- Next stop: Hong Kong History Museum. Some people are not partial to museums, but I actually really enjoy visiting history museums when I travel. There is such a long and rich history of places you travel to in Asia, and it’s so important to understand the historical background of the places you visit, as they are the foundation to why the city is like it is today. The HK History Museum has amazing exhibits that walk you through the Chinese dynasties, British colonization, the Opium war, all the way through modern day Hong Kong. If you go on Wednesday, it’s free.
- Markets: Flower Market, Bird Market, Goldfish Market, Ladies Market. Hong Kong is the land of markets. On Kowloon side you can visit some interesting street markets during the day: the Flower Market, the Bird Market, the Gold Fish market, and the Ladies Market, which is a day-time version of Temple street night market. To me, I look at markets as a single place to go buy a certain good. In Hong Kong we don’t have Walmart’s or Target’s. We do not have any super stores, besides a few department stores that are in Causeway bay, but this is more of a Macy’s-type store so not the same as buying everyday things. When you need to buy something, you find a local shop or area of Hong Kong that are popular for selling this item.
- Dinner: Saravana Bhavan Indian restaurant. Since coming to Hong Kong, Sean and I have fallen in love with Indian food. First of all, it’s absolutely delicious. Secondly, there something comforting about this food. Although I didn’t grow up eating Indian, it’s great and filling just like a homemade mac n cheese would be. It’s our cheat days. My Indian colleague had told me about this restaurant when Colie & Abel were visiting and it did not disappoint! For South Indian Veg Cuisine, this is your place. If you are looking for more local cuisine, go to Tim Ho Wan for amazing dim sum.
- Symphony of Lights show. Unless you rent a junk boat to watch the light show from the water, here is the best way to watch the show: 1.) Take the ferry across the water. 2.) Go to 7-11 right outside ferry entrance and buy a beer. 3.) Find a spot to sit against the rail near the private ferry dock, which is typically a bit less crowded. 4.) Enjoy the show. The Symphony of Lights show happens nightly typically at 8:00 PM (in the summer months 2x per night at 7:45 & 9 pm). Hong Kong is the most beautifully lit city I have ever seen. The lights on Hong Kong island from Kowloon side are beautiful as they shine against Victoria Harbor waters and make a technicolor reflection.
- After the light show, you should visit the Temple Street Night Market & Dai Pain Dong (food stalls). The temple street night market is a great place to test your bartering skills and buy souvenirs. You can find almost anything at the market, but they definitely specialize in electronics, purses and knick knacks. Mid-way through the market, you will start to notice “dai pai dong” or food stalls. The most popular cuisine is seafood, but you can find full menu’s of vegetables or other meats (anyone care to try Pigeon?).
Nightlife #2: Kowloon Side
- Ozone Bar: Located in TST, on the 118th floor of the Ritz Carlton, you’ll find the Ozone bar, also known as “the highest bar in the world”. Sky high views with sky high prices.
- Another great bar in TST is Ned Kelly’s Last Stand, Hong Kong’s oldest Jazz Bar. It’s quite small and you need to go early to get a table, but it’s good drinks and great live music.
Just like last post, I certainly don’t do Kowloon justice with only picking our these few items to write about. Here are a few great thing, among the many, I didn’t recognize:
- Kowloon Walled City
- 10,000 Buddha’s temple.
- Street food in Mong Kok
- Science Museum, Space Museum, Art Museum
Til next time.. Stay tuned.