Arrived 5th June, departed 10th June, stayed 6 days - 1 in Macau, 1 night hostel, 4 nights CouchSurfing in a very authentic HK flat;
On our second day it started to rain. And didn’t stop. We’re walking around with our CS-host, umbrellas were unable to keep us dry. Streets turned into rivers. It rained all night long. Well it was a down pour all night long. No wind, just water falling from a all grey sky and thousands of lightning strikes (3,657 between 7am and 8am). In the morning we found out that the rain-storm was rated “black” now - the worst. The newspaper wrote “539 cases of flooding by 7am, 89 landslides by 9pm, 412 flights delayed by 8:30pm and 14 cancelled, 300mm average rainfall across the city between midnight and midday, 145.5mm rain between 8am and 9am in Tsim Sha Tsui [the next district]“. The Hwy to the airport was flooded. Our district was fine though. Just get used to walk in your summer shoes as if you go white water rafting… All in all we loved it, since it cooled down a bit and there was no aircon, nor a ventilator in our host’s flat.
Besides of that, it’s summer and temperatures reach 32°C with humidity to the max. Either you feel too hot and sweaty or are drying and freeze in air-conditioned rooms.
Eating out with a local has many upsides. You get to know the reasonable priced and authentic restaurants and can try all kinds of food. We had awesome Yum Cha (Chinese breakfast) and different lunches. On our own we had about the best Sushi ever - for which we queued with heaps of locals to get the ‘half-price offer’. The restaurant had an about 25m aquarium and was quite upmarket. Together we paid 210HK$ (17,25€). I also had food at one of the many food stalls.
These boots are made for walking:
Vincent, our host, showed us around HK. We also hiked to ‘the Peak’ which is about 500m high and offers stunning views over HK-island and Kowloon. We then hiked around the mountain and after lunch and a bus ride we were hiking for about 4 hours in the south of HK-island. There we dipped our feet into the South China Sea. Well, we had blisters after that day…
The Dragonboat Races are NOT on Dragonboat Day. We figured that out when it was too late.
Since our flight departed at 6pm we wanted to visit the big Budda (close by) on that day after storing our lugged at the airport. Unfortunately the big Budda wasn’t reachable because of the rain-storm and land slides.
The best part though is that we stayed at the airport for six hours and then almost, really almost, missed our flight. It already was on “last call” and we were picked up by airline employers. I don’t know, it just took forever to get through customs and to that gate… But we made it in the end.
It’s easy to get to Macau: just take the ferry (turbo jet catamaran or hydrofoil craft) which takes about one hour.
Macau is a chaotic, sprawling Portuguese city turned into one Chinese supermarket with casinos. The ‘Casino Lisboa’ is humongous, golden, wired, overlooking the whole city. It’s like the tower in ‘Half Life 2′ - just visible from everywhere. We’ve also been to old town with its Portuguese touch and shops everywhere. Oh, you get of course four stamps into your passport (for leaving and entering HK and Macau).
All in all:
HK is a very easy travelled destination. The MRT (and all of public transport) is organized extremely well. Most people can speak English. Everything is quite cheep compared to Europe. Taxi is really cheap, e.g. the first 2km are 15HK$ (1,30 €) - so even if you get lost, just take a cap.
So, Hong Kong, the doorstep to China, was a great experience. If you have the opportunity to visit it, I’d recommend to do so. If you can, choose another time when it’s not hot and humid.
Gotta love Australia
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