hong kong, night, lights

Hong Kong in 36 (ish) Hours

I made up that time frame because my friend Kate and I were jet-lagged for our first (and only) two days in Hong Kong. All I know is that the sun came up and we did a thousand things, fell into bed, woke up again, did a few more things, and then flew off to Cambodia.


Day 1

Morning – “Climb” Victoria Peak

If you’re in Hong Kong, you must see Victoria Peak. And if you’re in Hong Kong for 36 hours or less, I recommend doing it first thing in the morning when jet lag has given you a false sense of immortality. After you have your awesome hotel breakfast which includes both safe-zone items (bread/fruit) and local items (dumplings for breakfast?!).

See my post about visiting Victoria Peak here.

hong kong, breakfast, travel, asia
Glamorous iPhone picture of our international breakfast feast.

Lunch: Authentic food!

Kate and I found a teeny noodle shop (by Googling “cheap lunch”) with communal tables and a very simple menu. The offerings (about 5) were various hearty dumpling and noodle soups. The feeling of accomplishment that comes from successfully feeding yourself in a foreign country is underrated. The feeling of accidentally eating fish (your least favorite food) in what you thought was a pork dumpling, is not. Tip: if you are traveling in Asia and don’t like fish, be prepared to eat fish/fish juice/fish parts/fish essence anyway. It is insidious. Regardless, my love for noodles and soup over-powered my dislike for fish and this meal got an A+.

hong kong, asia, explore, travel, lunch
A fishy yet successful lunch!

Afternoon: Experience the shopping culture of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is a shopping mecca, and even if you don’t intend to buy anything, it’s worth a stroll through a mall or street market. It’s great for people watching (specifically hip and trendy youths), and it’s even better for buying jeans that you forgot to pack because everybody makes mistakes okay?

Hong Kong, jeans, shopping, travel
Tracking down some jeans in Hong Kong.

Afternoon Snack: High Tea at the Peninsula Hotel.

You don’t have to like tea for this experience to be worth it (I drink tea only for the sole purpose of using my manatea). What you do have to like, is tiny sandwiches and feeling fancy/historical. If the ubiquitous English signage doesn’t remind you that Hong Kong was under British rule until 1997, the perfectly triangular tea sandwiches will.

hong kong, snack, tea, travel
Some light snacks at High Tea.
hong kong, explore, breakfast
Precision sandwiches, don’t cut yourself!

Evening: Cultural Stroll

Kate and I had some time to kill before our last activity, so we just wandered around and window-shopped. One thing we were intrigued by, but then steered clear of, were traditional pharmacies. Many guides recommend visiting street markets to explore exotic specialties and folk medicine. While it is definitely interesting to see ancient remedies and strange foods, this type of tourism should be done with caution. Many natural remedies involve exotic and rare animals, as well as inhumane harvesting practices. If you know you are in a country where such specialties are common (see shark fin soup), it might be best to avoid certain sections of the market in order to avoid promoting harmful practices.

hong kong, lights, night
Hong Kong night lights.

Night: Star Ferry Lightshow

Now that you’ve transitioned into from the “I’m gonna live forever” phase of jet lag into “I’m a shell of a person” phase, it is time to drag yourself onto a boat for ferry ride through the harbor! The Star Ferry light show is great because not only do you get to a view of Hong Kong at night from the water, but the buildings light up in synchrony with music that really seems to be coming from space. This is a wonderfully mesmerizing activity for someone who barely knows where they are, what day it is, and needs to sit down.

Dinner: Do Research Ahead of Time

Given our extreme fatigue, and uncharacteristic lack of planning for dinner, Kate and I fell into the first open place we could find. Unfortunately, this place had dubious menu items that even my adventurous sidekick was unwilling to order. I would definitely recommend doing some leg-work ahead of time to avoid making dining choices while hangry.


Day 2

Morning: Aberdeen Harbor Promenade

After spending a day in the high-tech shopping jungle of Hong Kong, it was nice to see a different side of the city. Even on the cloudy, misty morning we were there, the colorful boats and fisherman working away brought the harbor to life. It definitely smells like fish though, so just brace yourself (Lillian vs. fish is a recurring theme for my trip to Asia).

hong kong, harbor, travel, explore
Bright Harbor
hong kong, harbor, ships
Harbor life.
hong kong, ships, harbor
Hard-working ships.

Late Morning – Visit a Temple

Kate and I stumbled upon this beautiful little temple on our way back to our hotel. We were able to quietly observe some of the locals who were coming and going, and it was a nice easy way to get immersed in the culture in the short period of time we had.

hong kong, temple, travel
Temple candles.
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