Location: Hong Kong, China
Editor’s note: Anabel loves travelling the world and experiencing different cultures with her family. Here, she shares with us her family’s 11-day trip around China. This is the second installment of the family’s adventure, featuring Hong Kong. From the greenery of the city, to the amazing views at The Peak and Ngong Ping 360… plus an unplanned but “very Hong Kong” experience – read on!
(PS: Do Check out Annabel’s GORGEOUS instagram account for even more beautiful, drool-worthy destination photos!)
After three nights in Beijing, it was time to make our way to Hong Kong.
When we arrived at Hong Kong and were driving from the airport I could tell this was going to be a place I love. It was so green and beautiful. There were mountains saturated with trees, there were bridges, tunnels and water in every direction with the tallest sky scrapers springing out of everywhere. This city took me by total surprise – it was insanely GORGEOUS!!
Hong Kong is very clean and organized. You get fined for eating or drinking in the subway. Joe saw a sign that said you can get fined for spitting in the street. Everything is written in English and Cantonese. Everyone speaks English perfectly. It didn’t feel foreign or strange to be there – maybe that’s another reason why I liked it so much. It had an English London flare with the landscape of a Hawaiian island, the perfect and most exquisite combination.
Hong Kong weather can be quite exciting too…! 😉
We stayed at the Conrad Hong Kong Hotel. All Conrads are nice, and this was not exception. The cheapest most basic room was US$600. We had saved up enough Hilton points, and so only paid US$100 for 2 nights – instead of US$1,200. Woohoo!
Use those points earned from those business travel!
We were upgraded to a Excecutive room with a Harbor view. And when I opened the curtain to our room I almost flipped back and passed out with that SPECTACULAR view!
At turndown service on day 1, our kids were presented with their mini Conrad Bears, and rubber ducky…
This was one of the most beautiful locations for a pool we have seen. Nestled in between the awesome skyscrapers, with view of the bay.
On the itinerary: Hong Kong Park, The Peak
This park was just opposite Conrad. I love this little paradise in the mist of all the skyscraper buildings. There were water fountains everywhere, and a pond full of fish. It was so tropical and green, and there was ever a waterfall in the park! Hong Kong keeps reminding me of Hawaii.
The Peak is a viewing area with stunning sights of Hong Kong. We took the tram up to the peak and went up to the Sky Deck, and got there just in time to see the sunset.
The night view was incredible.
I think I was the only one who truly appreciated it. MN, our son, was asleep the whole time we were up there, and both BN, our daughter, and Joe were tired from the long day we’ve had, flying in from Beijing earlier in the day. We left and headed back to our hotel for some much needed rest.
On the itinerary: The Peak, Ngong Ping 360, The Big Buddha, Po Lin Monastry
If I had to pick a favorite and perfect day out of our whole China trip this day would be it. We had so much fun and loved every minute of our day in Hong Kong and Lantau Island.
After breakfast at the executive lounge, we decided to go back to the Peak for a daylight view.
Then we walked down a little overlooked path and the views were stunning… Oh how I heart Hong Kong.
(Editor’s note: Mummy Jonel shares the same sentiments! Check out her photo essay I Love Hong Kong for her take on the family’s vacation in this gorgeous city.)
We took the tram down the mountain and since it was early in the morning it was empty.
It was such a big difference from when we went up the night before, when it was so packed, it was difficult to really enjoy the views. Early in the morning, it was nice and relaxing.
Our second stop of the day was the Ngong Ping 360, on Lantau Island.
Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car had been closed for months before and when we arrived at the hotel the day before we were told we could not do it because it was still closed for maintenance. We were totally bummed out but decided to verify the information on Ngong Ping 360’s website – and Joe found out that the cable cars would be reopening that very morning at 10am!
Oh we were so lucky! We took the MTR there, and the place was empty that day as most people didn’t know that it had reopened.
We were sure to get a crystal cabin, which consisted of glass flooring, so you could see everything underneath.
BN was a little unsure about walking on the cabin as we lifted off, but she got over it quickly! She couldn’t contain her excitement, and kept saying “Now this I love Mama, this is so cool”. We both had the biggest smiles looking around and under – it was AWESOME!
The Ngong Ping cable cars just kept going up and up the mountain. It took us a good 30 minutes to reach the top. We didn’t realise it was this long but we loved it. The views were insanely beautiful.
We went over water, lots of trees and even a couple of waterfalls! That crystal bottom is a must do if you are not afraid of heights.
Eventually we came through on the other side of the mountain only to behold the incredible view of the Giant Buddha, surrounded by green mountains and outlined by the ocean and its majestic little islands.
From the distance, you could see Ngong Ping Village which leads to the Giant Buddha.
As you got off the cable car you walk through the Ngong Ping Village…
The little mascots for the park were two adorable looking monkeys wearing bunny ears. Brielle thought they were the coolest!
The Ngong Ping Village is filled with cute shops and food stalls. From here, you enter the Wisdom Path, and make your way towards…
…the stairs that will take you to the Giant Buddha!
It’s a sight to behold.
It was a long way up but we finally made it.
I was so proud of my sweet BN for going up all those stairs – she is so petite and fragile I sometimes underestimate her
We went inside the Buddha for a museum. No pictures were allowed. I didn’t think it was the most impressive museum but it was air conditioned and that’s all we really cared about, ha! After exiting the Buddha we were greeted by this gorgeous view of the ocean. Seriously, does it get any better than that?!
We walked all around the Buddha and had 360 degree views of Lantau Island, and the statues that surrounds it. Well, now we know where they got the Ngong Ping 360 name.
We also visited the Po Lin Monastery. Its one of the last few in Hong Kong that is still active. We also saw a Monk walking through.
We bought some souvenirs in one of the shops and to our surprise they gave us a wishing plague to hang on the Bodhi Wishing Shrine. We wrote down our wish and hung it up.
Well. It was what we did not plan to do that was the most interesting bit of the day!
The day started well enough with us having breakfast at the executive lounge.
We loved the Hong Kong Park and strolled through it to get to the Hong Kong Zoological & Botanical Gardens. We figured the kids would enjoy the Zoo. Plus, it’s free so we figured we couldn’t go wrong.
The park was beautiful and green, We walked around and saw birds and monkeys. MN was totally into making monkey sounds then, so he went crazy when he saw them.
It was then that all hell broke loose. It started to rain.
We pulled out our umbrella thinking we could ride it out. Within seconds, the rain just kept coming down faster and faster. We realized then that it was getting really bad, really fast – so we started running for cover. We finally made it to a tunnel, and thought we’d stay there for a while, figuring that when the rain slow down we would make a run closer to the street and hopefully find a taxi..
But soon the rain was forming puddles and since the tunnel was sloped it had converted itself into a stream. Our shoes and feet were completely submerged in the water, and BN was started to freak out. The rain was so intense – I have never seen it come down like that. Brielle was scared and started to cry.
We decided to run. BN and I shared the umbrella as Joe ran with Mathias in the stroller. I put a blanket on MN and within seconds it was soaked. We ran in ankle deep water through the whole Hong Kong Park. It was hard to even see where we were going because the rain was so concentrated. At one point I was in water that was knee height, and since the park is on a hill the water was running all in one direction.
We finally made it down to the street and took a while before a taxi came and rescued us. Oh look at my poor kiddos.
On our way back to the hotel the taxi driver told us we just survived a Level 3 Typhoon!! WHAT?! I guess they had a Typhoon warning on all day and but we didn’t even know!!! So to add to our traveling adventures we have survived a Typhoon!
We had to leave for the airport soon, as our flight out of Hong Kong was in a couple of hours. The hotel suggested that we iron our clothes to dry the. And so we did. Joe’s was too soaked even ironing did not do the trick.
And so ended our adventures in Hong Kong! I heart Hong Kong, typhoon notwithstanding!
Moral of the story: Check the weather with the hotel concierge before heading out!
Next up: the Terracotta Army in Xian beckons!More on Hong Kong from our community here