Once a British colony, Hong Kong is a classic example of east meets west. A lot of Pinoys are likely to say that their first international travel experience is Hong Kong. It’s just 2 hours away from Manila, and the weather is different enough to make a virgin traveller feel transported. My trips to Hong Kong were mostly for sight seeing, and not much of eating. Which I realis is quite a sin. One could easily create a top ten for HK must eats. So maybe next time.
(10) HK Skyline, Victoria Peak
Imposingly tall buildings and a seeming disregard for power conservation. The view always has that wow factor, and the cable car ride up is good fun. The time we went, we decided not do the topmost view and snuck into one of em corners where we managed to get a half-decent picture.
(9) Tsim Sha Tsui
Another great view of the bright Hong Kong island from the Kowloon side. TST’s busy and bustling, with lots of shops open till past 10 PM. The bigger malls are on this side too. Between the island and TST, I’ve always felt like this had more the feel of Hong Kong.
(8) Giant Buddha
We were staying at Lantau Island, and decided to visit the Giant Buddha in Ngong Ping. It was a tedious climb up (for most of us), but the Tian Tan Buddha sitting on a lotus, was quite a sight. It’s not exactly one of those attractions you must see the first very time you visit Hong Kong. But those who have are looking for something different and have four hours to spare, it maybe worth the trip.
(7) Ocean Park
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the day we spent in Ocean Park. First of all, the park is MASSIVE. There are several sections to it which will certainly cater to at least one cross section of the demographic. Personally, I was super excited about seeing pandas and penguins live (and they did not disappoint!). There are kiddie and adult rides in the park too. I’d say one of the most memorable roller coaster experiences I’ve had was this one ride, perched on top of mountain overlooking the sea. I felt like I was being thrown into the water at a hundred mph!
(6) Venetian Hotel, Macau
Much like the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, the Venetian Hotel in Macau also showcases the a bright blue, cloudy sky which look real. I’m not much of a gambler, but the casino floors are pretty busy. The entire hotel is pretty impressive.
(5) Senado Square
This paved city center of Macau is a Unesco World Heritage site. It’s lined with the usual shops you see in HK, and a handful selling Macau treats ranging from the dried pork, biscuits, and other baked goodies. The old, well-kept buildings give off an unmistakeable European vibe. On a hot summer day, walking through Senado Square can be an ordeal. Visiting at night is a different experience. Although the weather will be on your side, the shops may not.
(4) HK Disneyland
I had reasonable expectations of HK Disneyland. I heard about how much smaller it is than the other theme parks. But I really, enjoyed myself there! I think the people you’re with are always a big contributor if you’ll enjoy Disney or not. I was with family, a few first timers in the theme park, and it was a delight to see how everyone enjoyed themselves. There’s a magic about Disney that brings people back to their childhood. I couldn’t stop smiling at times. The fireworks show in the end was just ok. Maybe it was because it was windy that evening, so it was lacking that wow factor for me. Be forewarned about rude tourists who cut the line in attractions, photo ops, and even the toilet!
(3) Portuguese Egg Tarts
I was obviously a very happy tourist whilst munching on my portuguese egg tarts. I’ve never been to Portugal, but these were mighty good. I’ve had a few here in London, but nothing has come close. They were crispy/flaky outside, and just warm, rich, and comforting on the inside. I realise Lord Stowe’s in Manila has done these egg tarts justice.
(2) St. Paul’s Ruins
This is probably Macau’s most famous landmark. This is what remains of a cathedral built by the Jesuits some four hundred years ago. The stone facade stands proudly atop these steps where most people have photos their taken. Coming from Senado Square, excitement builds as one walk through the stoned alleyways of the center of Macau. And finally seeing the ruins is a nice reward for reading the helpful signs and resisting the delicious street treats.
Once, I came to Hong Kong for the sole purpose of shopping, and I was not disappointed. Another time, I came to Hong Kong with the sole purpose of spending time with family, and I ended up shopping anyway! It’s just too good to pass up. Most international brands are priced competitively, and haggling with a local in smaller shops is an experience on its own. I realise that shopping isn’t what it used to be in Hong Kong (because most of these international brands are all over the world anyway), but for all my trips there, it has always been irresistible.