To read our first Hong Kong post click HERE.

The next morning it took us a whopping 3 hours to get ready (put clothes on?!) and we left at 11 AM. Taking our time in this English apartment was very nice as it reminded us of good old UK times. In Leeds every long morning used to start with making a cup of tea, choosing layers, putting on a blanket, making another cuppa – just doing anything to keep yourself warm. This is the life! And now into town…

post-2031Photography in HK

For us every single sight was photo-worthy, we just didn’t have enough time (patience?) to stay in one spot to capture something exquisite – that happens when you want to see too many places in too little time. People are generally very photo-aware and either stop to let you take your picture or change their direction. Unless they don’t even notice someone’s taking pictures.

post-1848post-2001post-1980We headed for the legendary street with the red signs – Sham Shui Po MRT. Even there we didn’t stay for too long as we didn’t want our friend to die out of boredom as he kinda was already (even if he was too polite to say anything to us). It is a nice little street to go in the morning when the lighting’s just right, plus there aren’t many cars, the people don’t seem to mind and they just walk around you and your tripod. There were nice views of the city, with tall residential buildings and mountains in the background.

post-1780We went up to the 55th floor of the IFC – International Financial Centre – to visit the Monetary Museum. We went there just for photo opportunities, but ended up spending at least an hour reading about HK’s history – it’s very interesting! The security is of high standard and they ask to photocopy your passport just for you to get in. And there’s only one button in the lift – 55th floor. Hmmm….

Seriously trying to pull it off...
Seriously trying to pull it off…

The Peak, the Monetary Museum and the little alleys were the most interesting for us. Tips at the peak: you don’t have to go up the actual peak, you can take a little pathway leading to the left hand side of the peak, which is at a lower level but larger proportion of the view.


Vegetarian food in HK

It exists! You always find what you search for in life! Local cuisine is famous for “duck noodles” or “beef noodles”, so most restaurants/family places offer meat-based soups. You have to go in and ask if they can make something for you. Getting a note in the local language (Cantonese) with your simplified requirements is the best bet.

From Sham Shui Po MRT we walked around the area, and I don’t know where it was, but, third time’s a charm, we were welcomed inside a noodle shop. A huge bowl of soup with thin instant noodles, deep fried tofu, and blanched vegetables – it was OK. HK being a hub of cultures you’d expect something like “it was amazing, best ever”, wouldn’t you? Haha. There was no distinct taste, but I was really suspicious that the broth could be from chicken. A twenty million gallon bowl – 40 HKD.

post-1609Something worth highlighting: the crazy part was that they keep filling your bowl with soup and noodles whilst you eat! Luckily our friend knew that it is common to leave food, even a full plate, when you’ve eaten. If it wasn’t for him, we would’ve exploded.

There are coffee shop chains (like Pacific Coffee) that serve nice cakes, large lattes for 40 HKD, and proper toasted mozzarella sandwiches for 40 HKD. Another thing to bear in mind (raaaaghhhhrr! (bear)) is that HK culture doesn’t really promote the buy-one-coffee-sit-for-two-hours culture, so most cafes don’t have many seats and have a quick turnover of customers. Chain coffee shops like Starbucks and Pacific do offer cosy seating and don’t give you a look as if you’re one of the buy-one-coffee-sit-for-two-hours kind of people.

post-1836The NYE

December 31 brings a new year and we started it… with 7-11 sandwiches! It was a nice and sunny day, they had cheese in them, why not? We were excited for one of the world’s best firework shows in the evening, whoop whoop!

During the day we walked around again. The infamous Central–Mid-Levels escalator and walkway system sounded so fancy-shmancy, but it’s just some escalators. Not even a long one. It’s just random stairs connected here and there. However in that area there are many tiny alleys with nice coffee shops and funky crossroads. We just enjoyed taking random photos of places and people. At 5 PM it was time to head to the central pier to secure our spot for the big countdown!

MRT and traffic in general, both cars and people, was busy and just before 7 PM we found a spot among the crowds. View of the skyline – check. Toilet – nearby, check. 7-11 – nearby, check. Massive crowds – check. A cold beer from a shop and it felt like camping by the bay.

9 PM – still camping… more people – check.

We actually got fenced off after 8 PM. WHAT THE ACTUAL..!? We were imprisoned for the countdown and weren’t allowed to even use the toilet. Maybe the beers were a bad idea… I had to hold it for four hours. Sorry McBladder.

The crowd was polite in general, most people were just sitting on the cold ground, and there was some silly music in the background, random firework or two going off every few minutes.

THE AMAZING LONG-AWAITED COUNTDOWN was just ok, lasted just like five minutes, and as soon as it ended the human sea flowed towards the MRT (luckily not to the toilets!). We met our friend, bought some drinks at 7-11, and enjoyed them while looking at the tall buildings, getting an occasional whiff of the smelly sea. Basically the fun part was hanging out with friends. It would have been far better to book a table at a restaurant, or stay somewhere further away and watch everything from a distance. But experience is experience! New Year’s Eve in HK – check.

Next stop – Macau.