Travel Dates: December 19-26, 2016
Accommodations: W Hong Kong
After three busy weeks traveling around India, we were looking forward to some downtime in Hong Kong. It’s hard being away from home for so long and particularly more difficult around the holidays but we were psyched and thrilled when we found out that Sum and Prita had independently and coincidentally decided to spend Christmas in Hong Kong.
We jumped on a 5 ½ hour red eye from Mumbai to Hong Kong to meet them. We landed feeling a little disoriented and zombie like. Luckily for us Hong Kong’s mass transportation is very efficient, orderly and clean (the opposite of what we experienced in India). From the airport we were able to hop onto the MTR (railway system) that runs every 10 minutes and were deposited in Kowloon 24 minutes later. We wheeled our Rimowa luggage through the mall directly into our hotel lobby. Later we would find out that rolling your designer luggage around the mall and the streets was a bit of a fashion statement with the locals.
Hong Kongers love their malls! I have never seen a higher concentration of high-end retail stores anywhere in my life before coming here. Everything you could ever want and need is found in or attached to the mall (i.e. amazing restaurants, the train station, dry cleaners, nail shops). It was quite intriguing. Although the temptation to shop was strong, I sadly refrained. I have zero space in my luggage and I practically live in my workout clothes anyway (even when I’m not working out). So there is no need for fancy clothes right now – or so I told myself.
The best part of being in Hong Kong (besides the fashion) is the food. And when I say food, I mean dim sum in particular. Going to Hong Kong and not eating dim sum is like going to Italy and not eating pizza or pasta. The best place to go to is Tim Ho Wan, the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world. There are several locations and it’s a bit of a hole in the wall but the dim sum was great and our total bill came out to $15 USD. Another great spot is Din Tai Fung where the pork soup dumplings are fantastic. But the best meal and overall dining experience was at the Temple Street Night Market, eating chilli crab, drinking ice cold beers, sitting on plastic stools at an outdoor restaurant amongst the locals. A place we imagined we’d find someone like Anthony Bourdain dining.
There are tons of activities to do in Hong Kong besides eating and shopping. One day we rode the cable cars to Ngong Ping Village to visit the Big Buddha, where we had the most amazing panoramic views of the Tung Chung Bay. You definitely get your money’s worth because it felt like the longest cable car ride in the world (in a good way). Upon arrival, we made our way through the small village, climbed the 268 steps required to reach the Big Buddha, and stood in awe before the 112 ft. bronze statue.
Another evening we took a sunset cruise of Victoria Harbor on a classically restored Chinese fishermen boat. It’s a great way get 360 degree views of the skyline. However, the best views of the city can be found at Victoria Peak, the highest mountain in Hong Kong. You can take the Peak Tram, or you can cheat like we did and take an uber to avoid the lines. The views from 1800 ft. up are simply breathtaking, I’m not sure there is any other skyline in the world that can compare especially when lit up for the holidays.
Last but not least, get a foot massage. There are massage parlors everywhere, some even open 24 hours! Ten bucks gets you an hour long foot rub and that my friends is money well spent if you ask me!