Highlights of Hong Kong
Afternoon Tea at the Intercontinental will be my happy memory of Hong Kong. Other than brunch, this is my favourite meal and I have had many teas, but this topped it. (And I rate the Hyatt Regency in Birmingham 9.5).
We managed to walk in, just before a rain shower descended onto the city on a hot Sunday afternoon and after waiting a few minutes behind two other parties, we’re seated (with an apology) right next to the live music. The service, food, presentation and the view all 5 stars. The music was fun too!
**We did pop to the highly-rated Peninsular although I was perturbed that they don’t allow reservations so instead you will have to wait in line. After reading the dress codes I was expecting to see the usual sea of ladies in tea dresses in the queue. But no, there were shorts and t-shirts. None of this sat right with me and as we’d made the effort, we went to plan B. Going to the Intercontinental was one of the best decisions of the trip.
It was worth going up hill on the hottest day of the week to the Asia Society at the Hong Kong Centre for the Shahzia Sikander exhibit. The Grade 11 listed building is a former Royal Military Police building – as the canons dictate – and now has a fantastic roof garden. It was shame the sun was about 10c too hot to so we just had a quick glimpse of the free view across the city.
Hong Kong Heritage Museum for the Claude Monet exhibition: The Spirit of the Place. They’ve recreated the artist’s French house in such a magical way that I wanted to just move in. As a bonus, of course this place has a Bruce Lee museum and another statue outside. As I’d grown up with the man’s legend thanks to my elder brother, I seeked him out everywhere in HK.
HSBC building – stunning inside and out although surprisingly there is no public viewing gallery, there was an exhibition outside.
Muji Café – when can we have these in the UK?
Chicken Curry doughnut (tastes much better than it sounded) from Panash Bakery
The skyline, especially at night. There’s a well-attended light show every evening at 8pm too
Victoria Peak - the most touristy thing we did.
Octopus Card – the Hong Kong transport card can be loaded up and used in shops and for vending machines as well as the incredibly cheap and affective transport.
I just bought one thing – a bag – from Log-On store and I paid contactless without being asked. The transaction went through (with an offer a free gift, a little pencil- case type thing) before I had a chance to get my ID out. Such efficient service.
Mong Kok - one of my favourite neighbourhoods. 'I don’t give a Mong Kok'.
Glimpsing China across the border when on a local train was amazing.
What struck me
Getting addicted to watching Asian news channel every day like it was a soap opera, it felt so alien. I never watch any news at home.
Tea - it started with choosing it this drink with afternoon tea instead of my usual 'can I swap it for a pot of filter coffee?' A case of when in Hong Kong..... but pretty soon I was having it everywhere. We had some good coffees too and definitely started our morning with coffee at the hotel.
Politeness - even among the very young, it's just second nature to them. The cute little well-behaved kids in the hotel having breakfast every morning made our day.
Pride - although we notice this everywhere we look-outside the UK. It works - 7 million people piled up high and yet the city moves and they are building infrastructure to cope with more.
Shopping centres. I believe there are 28 and they are huge with seemingly endless floors. Also they are the best places to pop into cool down. I had nightmares about being on escalators for a week after I returned, mind.
Warm water served in restaurants and even at the airport water machines (it was sign-posted). I always prefer room temperature to cold water anyway, but this is better.
‘Little Japan’ – Lee Gardens district
More on Hong Kong here.