Read about the first leg of this trip in lovely Taipei HERE. Cautious drivers, pedestrians crossing everywhere but designated crossings, cloudy grey sky, damp windows, British road marking and even the buses – Hong Kong has England written all over it. We knew HK has had a huge British influence. I feel we subconsciously chose to visit HK just so we could wear layers in the cool weather again.

post-1428The first and the awesome part – everything’s imported. Everything. There’s no import tax. And western malls have British everything, you name it: cheese, biscuits, ale, crisps, cereals, custard creams, Aunt Bessie’s, Taylors of Harrogate, and even Yorkshire puddings!

We love Waitrose produce, and we bought everything Waitrose… Cheese, bread, wine, etc – all was enjoyed at our friend’s nice (yet Britishly damp) apartment on 33rd floor overlooking the coastline. It was nice to catch up. However just after our shopping spree before heading to the apartment, I was enjoying such a tasty pear that I got lost in the mall! But it’s all good…

post-1487First impressions – Hong Kong Airways.

The flight from Taipei was very pleasant with TVs and an unexpected meal. Although we didn’t get to enjoy it, as we didn’t order our vegetarian option in advance. We were offered biscuits instead. Pshhht outrageous! Like we would accept biscuits as a meal replacement… They were delicious. **Pineapple jam filled shortbread** biscuits, with a foreign writing on them – SOLD!

Hong Kong airlines also allow free 20kg baggage on top of your cabin baggage. No maps were available once landed, but we didn’t really need one – we just looked up the basics of transport in HK online (the airport has free wi-fi). We bought our tickets, and hopped on a bus. Quick ride into Jordan/Chi Wo, and we were surrounded by what we’ve seen in pictures and videos – interesting signs, lots of people, lights and traffic.

First stop – 7-11!

We had udon noodle soup and an egg sandwich right inside the shop – that was convenient AND tasty! We wandered around for a bit and found a big Starbucks to meet our friend. The friendly barista gave us a code to use free wi-fi for 10 minutes, which was awesome since we didn’t buy a local SIM card. We old-schoolers prefer to set an “emergency” meeting spot in advance in case of no communication/dead battery, but it seems these days wi-fi ranks very high in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, so it’s pretty much everywhere.

post-1273Some parts of downtown Hong Kong weren’t all that busy – Bangkok traffic seems much heavier, but maybe Hong Kong’s cleanliness and organisation has something to do with it. We also didn’t see the anticipated crowds of people, even though we walked along the famous riverside with a gorgeous view of the skyline. It got busier the darker it got, and after the sunset the roads became a movie of flickering yellow and red lights. Local malls were also busy by that time, and we queued up to take advantage of the Starbucks’ 2-4-1 Christmas drinks promotion. We were so excited to see the Red Cups again, and it was a bargain! We had a peek at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, and the prices were very similar to UK (meaning quite expensive!). Everything looked clean and organised (you see I used these two words in the same paragraph twice – it must be true). Everywhere. I guess that’s what you pay for. Accommodation is very expensive so we were lucky to have been hosted.

Then we took a ferry to the other siiiiide… It only cost 2 HKD to float in the dark water for a few minutes, that was probably the only thing that wasn’t flawlessly clean (for HK standards) – you get what you pay for – 2 HKD.

post-1632Transport in HK

MRT: Navigating in HK is all about MRT. The MRT connects everything, even mainland China! We borrowed travel cards that you can conveniently use on buses and tram from our friend, and then gave them back – but it’s basically just like an Oyster card.

Tram: We walked a bit more and went to Sheung Wan MRT to take the tram. The slow and chilly ride to Sai Wan Ho/Tai Koo MRT area was really worth it. It almost felt like taking a time machine back to the 50’s. If you’ve ever played Mafia on you computer, you know what I’m talking about!

post-1664Bus: Worth it and good traffic. From the central HK area we took #15 bus to The Peak. It was only 10 HKD and took under 30 minutes. The views were progressively nicer with every turn going up the steep road. Apparently this is where the most expensive properties are. It’s green, it’s clean, and it’s got amazing views – no wonder.

post-1738The Peak

It costs 50 HKD to see the cattle at the top of the peak, I mean we got there at around 5.30 PM, which is rather late if you want to secure a good spot. There is a huge shopping centre at the top (I want to say mountain, but it doesn’t feel like it – it’s just the peak!) where you buy the ticket, and take the escalators to the top floor. We did take some pictures though. It was cold up there so get a coffee or a hot drink at one of the cafes before going up. It was busy. The only thing missing was Sambuca and go-go girls/Julio Bashmore.

At about 8 PM there were enormous queues for taxi, tram, minibus, and the bus, the latter moving quickest. So we took the bus back.

Day full of coffee, sightseeing and “jacket-wearingness” – success!

Next – Hong Kong New Year’s Eve...