09 November 2008

Hong Kong . . . It's Not Phooey

In fact its fantastic! We've had a great time and have crammed a fair amount into our four days here.

The highlight for me was the trip up the Victoria peak on the peak tram. Although the tram only hauls you up about 400 meters above the city there's a totally different climate, much cooler and breezier than the humid city. The panoramic cityscape of the North side of the island and across Victoria Harbour to the Kowloon peninsular is really spectacular. We made the trip at dusk which allowed us to see the city as it lit up.

So what were our other top things to see? When in Hong Kong you have to go on the Star Ferry at least once. So we took one over to Kowloon and had a trip to see some of the great markets over on the peninsular. The flower, bird and goldfish markets are all well worth a visit along with a trip to the Temple Street Night Market for all your nik-naks, designer fakes and general tat.

Bird Market . . .

Goldfish market . . .

Whilst on the Kowknon Peninsular we also did the Avenue of Stars, it's a bit like the Hollywood Walk of Fame but featuring Asian celebrities. We didn't have a clue as to who any of them where! However the main reason for us being there was for the 8p.m. light show where the sky scrapers of Hong Kong island are illuminated in a music and light show. It was really spectacular.

Although there's no way we could afford to stay at the Mandarin Oriental we did manage to soak up some of the luxury there by going for brunch in their bakery. It was probably the most expensive breakfast I've ever had but it was definately worth it just to sample some of that 5 star luxury and to pretend that we are high rollers!

One of the stranger sights in Hong Kong is the mid level escalaters in the Soho district. It's nearly 1km of linked escalaters that take you up the the hills and streets of Soho past all the bars and restaurants. It was very surreal to see people gliding past the window as we ate our dinner.

The main thing that dominates Hong Kong is the sky scrapers.
Our favourite is the Bank of China building although it doesn't please all the locals. Those who know feng shui say that the triangles used in its construction project negative energy onto the surrounding buildings.

The biggest building is the International Finance Center 2 (IFC2) which is the 6th tallest in the world at 88 storeys. On the 55th floor, which is the highest open to the public, is a exhibiton on Hong Kong currency. But the real reason that us and most of the other people seemed to be up there was for the free view. Like a lot of the promenant buildings IFC2 has been given a nickname. Apparently the locals refer to it as Sir YK Pao's erection, a reference to the owner of the builders of the tower.
My favourite nick name the locals have given one of the buildings is for Jardine House, which is affectionatly known as the House of a Thousand Arseholes due to its 1750 round windows.
It's not all sky scrapers though, Hong Kong Park is really pretty and has a fantastic walk through aviary where you can get up close to some exotic birds (not that sort).

Here's a quick quiz for Keith. Can you identify the following birds?

This last ones a bit tough, I saw it first in Birmingham . . .


  1. Yes, I've seen this bird too - last came across it in the Cannock area. I think it's known locally as the lesser spotted Sellwood!!!

  2. Now I come to think of it, the lesser spotted Sellwood is now extinct! I believe it's been re-named by the ornitholoical society as the Great crested Brettell! it's well known for it's mating call, apparently........!