Streets and Alleys of Hong Kong
If you like shooting street photography, then Hong Kong is heaven. The streets are filled with the perfect combination of tall buildings, small houses and shops that sell almost everything. On one side you’ll find businessmen leaving a 40-storey building after a business meeting, while on the other side you’ll see small brick stores selling cured meats and groceries.
One of the most popular areas in Hong Kong is Lan Kwai Fong which is a haven for expats. During the day, the area is peaceful and calm, but when night-time rolls around, these streets are and usually packed with people until dawn. You’ll find restaurants and eateries on both sides of the road and people overflowing into the streets.
You’ll see plenty of roast ducks, chickens and dried and cured meats on display around Hong Kong. These restaurants are extremely popular among locals and you’ll often find lines extending outside of the restaurant and onto the streets.
The massive and beautiful Apple store in the heart of Causeway Bay.
The view from the roof of the IFC Mall is spectacular on a sunny day
Hong Kong is a great place to people-watch. You’ll be entertained by people fishing, sleeping, shopping and doing other people-related things
A lot of guide-books mentioned over and over that Hong Kong is a city of contrast and I think that describes this city perfectly. On one hand the city is trying to keep up with its slogan of being “Asia’s World City”, while on the other hand it’s trying even harder to preserve its history and heritage.
Man Mo Temple
Built in 1847, this is a beautiful temple located centrally and is very popular among tourists. You can smell the incense from far away and you’ll see a thick dense cloud of it as you walk in. The incense are circular coils like in the photo below and burn on for hours from above. Donate some money to the temple and in return you can burn your own incense sticks.
Kowloon, is located towards the North of Hong Kong island. You can get to Kowloon either by train, or my favorite, a ferry. The ferry ride costs around 5 HKD and takes around 15 minutes to get to the other side. The short ride provides a great view of the tall buildings on both the Hong Kong and Kowloon sides.
Just like on the Hong Kong Island, there is a lot of walking involved in Kowloon. Once you get off the ferry at the Pier, there is a straight stretch of road that you can walk along. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to see shops, stalls and much more along the busy streets.
This market is about a 2 kilometer walk from the Pier where you can find all sorts of trinkets, good luck charms and much more. Jade is an important stone in Chinese culture and the Jade Market is the best place to get a piece of this popular stone. Make sure you have your bargaining cap on though, as we found out that prices of certain pieces can go down to more than 50% if you ask nicely.
Protests in Hong Kong
Initially when we planned on visiting Hong Kong, we were a bit concerned that the protests would cause a lot of disruptions to our vacation plans. We suspected travel routes to be blocked off and stores and other attractions to be closed.
But that wasn’t entirely the case. In fact, we didn’t face any disruptions at all. These protests were very peaceful. We went to two sites where the protests were being held and it was pretty serene. Make-shift tents were everywhere and people were passing out brochures to vocalize what they were trying to achieve.
There were tons of sit-ins like the one above. The protests were held in busy areas of the city so they got a lot of attention from tourists.
Trying to describe Macau is going to be difficult because it was very fascinating and confusing at the same time. On one hand, during the entire time I was in Macau, I always felt like I was in Las Vegas. The casinos, the underground shoppes, the restaurants and everything else constantly reminded of Vegas.
On the other hand, the streets of Macau felt like I was in a small village in Europe. Lots of small, old buildings, the old cathedrals and churches and the peaceful town halls were all very reminiscent of what you’d see in some quiet town in Europe.
Getting to Macau is fairly straight-forward. You take a ferry from Hong Kong to Macau which takes about an hour. The earlier you book, the cheaper the tickets are. Also, if you tend to get sea-sick, you might want to check the weather before you head out as the waters can get a bit choppy.
The Venetian Hotel in Macau is a sight to see. They’ve invested the time and money to make the interior and exterior feel like the city of Venice.
Macau has a strong Portuguese history so you’ll see a lot of that reflected in the architecture around town.
This was one of the highlights of our time spent in Macau. The Macau tower is 338 meters tall and proudly hosts the second highest commercial skyjump in the world. Over the years, the viewing deck of the tower has been used to host parties, wedding photo-shoots and more. The view from the top is breathtaking and the view to the bottom is dizzying.
Streets of Macau
Much like the streets of Hong Kong, the streets of Macau are filled with color, contrast and varying topography. The streets are a lot quieter than what you’d see in Hong Kong and a lot less crowded.
So initially, we were a bit hesitant to visit Disneyland as we figured it would be too busy or too tacky compared to the other Disneyland theme parks we’ve been to. Boy were we wrong. Visiting disneyland took an entire day and was easily the highlight of our entire trip. I expected the rides and shows to be outdated and feature the same shows and rides that I’ve seen when I was younger. But surprisingly, they even had a 4DX show about Donald Duck.
On the last day of our trip, we decided to spend a few hours in the day visiting the Ocean park after I read a couple of good reviews about it. We ended up spending most of the day there. Ocean park isn’t as glamorous as Disney World, but it does have some great activities, especially for children. You have to take a 45 minute bus drive to get there, but I’d say its worth it. The highlight of Ocean park is definitely the cable cars.
The cable car ride was amazing. The ride takes you up a hill and down it on the other side. On a cloud/hazy day like the one we were on, the view below was amazing.
The entire trip was amazing. There was a lot of contrast from being in Hong Kong and Macau and we got to see and experience tons of different things. I’d definitely reccomend Hong Kong and Macau to someone looking to experience Asia with a modern twist.