Stepping into a new continent – a week in Hong Kong COMPLETED
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Sunday 17 February – part two: a calming influence
It really did take your breath away going up there, but it was worth it for the views, which were just stunning, but more than that, it was worth it for the complete peace of mind and inner calm that I got from being up there. I can’t explain it any better than that, but I just felt very serene once I got up there. As I tried to explain to Mark, it was like some sort of weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
We walked round at the top, taking lots of photos and just taking it all in. As we did, it started to get colder and the mist came down a bit more. We had seen that it was meant to be low visibility when we arrived, but it wasn’t that bad, although now there was no denying that it was getting worse. I was glad we had got there when we did.
The trek back down the steps was much easier unsurprisingly and soon we were back at the bottom again, but for me, still the calmness remained. It had definitely been a worthwhile visit.
We browsed a few of the shops in the Ngoing Ping shopping village, but found nothing we liked, so took the cable car back down. We had seen couples with one car to themselves as we came up and did half hope that might happen to us, but there was quite a crowd of people waiting to come back. Fortunately, they only squashed in seven of us, so it was much more pleasant than on the way up, when there had been ten of us in there. It was interesting to see how much less you could see now the mist had come in. Definitely the right decision to go first thing today.
As we got back down to the cable car base station and we ere hungry, so we ended up going into the shopping mall next to the station. There we found a food hall where we managed to get some Chinese fast food and very good it was too. I had the shrimp and melon rice and Mark had the beef teriyaki with noodles, which took him forever to eat, as they kept slipping through his chopsticks. Yes, we used them, well we didn’t have much choice, as there were no knives or forks to be seen anywhere. Unfortunately we didn’t get any photos of our food, but trust me, it was good. We had a quick browse of the shops and then we were done and it was time to take the subway back into Hong Kong.
As a cow lover, I just had to get photos of this shop!
Catching up again! The trip to and the Peak itself were awesome. I love your pictures of Hong Kong at night -- beautiful! The cable car ride looked fun and the scenery in spite of the mist was gorgeous. That is one huge Buddha, but I am so glad you made the trek up and discovered the calm. Can't wait for Disneyland now.
We got off at Central and caught a tram up to Causeway Bay. This has to be one of the best bargains in Hong Kong at just HK$2 for a single trip. That’s about 10 pence to us! OK, so you don’t move as quickly as you do on the subway, but you obviously get to see more of the city.
We got off at Causeway Bay and went to visit an electronics store that’s recommended by the Hong Kong Tourist Board, as we thought that we might make a few big purchases, having heard how cheap it was out here from friends at home. Wrong, certainly not for the big purchases we wanted anyway. The camera I had my eye on was only about £100 cheaper here and, by the time you’ve paid duty on it when you get home, there’s probably not much in it. Interestingly though, some of the smaller items are pretty cheap. We managed to pick up three discs for the DVD recorder for just £4. We usually get them in America and they usually cost the equivalent of £10, so that’s quite a big difference.
With that, it was back to the subway for a brief stop at the hotel, before going out again. We caught the subway again, topping up our Octopus card on the way. We had spent more than I had bargained for, with more trips on the subway and I didn’t realise that we would be able to pay for the sky terrace at the Peak on it.
We got off at Central with our goal to find the mid level escalators, the longest set of covered escalators in the world. Each day, they carry over 210,000 commuters from where they live on the edge of the city in the mid levels (hence the name) down to office buildings by the seafront. They weren’t exactly easy to find, but eventually we did it and just before we got to them, we found an area that was just filled with women, again most Filipino. Everywhere you looked, they were spread out on the floor, chatting away with blankets underneath them and their shoes tossed off. It was such an odd sight and the noise that filled the area from their chatter was just amazing. I couldn’t decide if it was a fun sight or a disturbing one. I mean, after all, where are all these women the other six days of the week? Cloistered away somewhere? When you start wondering that, suddenly I’m not so sure that it’s a fun sight anymore. Still, they all seemed happy enough and seemed to be enjoying their time together.
We found the escalator and started our journey up, first on ones that just gently sloped upwards and then as the gradients got more intense on more conventional ones that you find everywhere with steps. I can see how these things must be lifesavers for commuters, as these hills are not something that you could easily walk up or down every day. The escalators run seven days a week and all go downwards until 10.20am, after which time, they are all switched to upwards until they close at night (I wouldn’t like to be in the middle of commuting when that switch happens!)
When we got to the top, we thought that we would walk to the Peak Tram terminus. At this point, I will say that it was Mark’s idea to go right to the top of the escalators and then walk down, so the blame falls fairly and squarely on my lovely DH for what happened next. As we walked, this was something he accepted.
The road started off fine, but we were hoping to see some signs and they became more few and far between as we walked. As if that wasn’t bad enough, although we were going down the hill now, that meant some creepy trips underneath roads that weren’t well lit at al and, as it was starting to get dark, this is not something I would’ve done voluntarily. Fortunately, we only saw one couple on our travels and escaped unscathed, but it was the first time – and the only time – that I had felt unsafe while in Hong Kong.
Finally we found a sign that said Peak Path and ended up walking down alongside the Peak Tram, It was a novel experience when it passed us by. By the time we got to the terminus, I think it’s fair to say that we were exhausted. Who knew that going down hills could be such hard work?
Trip report continues to be fascinating. It could cost me a lot of money though because I'm starting to ponder a trip to Hong Kong myself.
I'm probably doing the wrong thing encouraging you, but it's actually a cheap place to get to from the UK and we didn't think it was that expensive when we got out there either. : A five night stay in the hotel we stayed in through Virgin Holidays costs between about £650 and £800 per person through most of the year.