An early, jetlag aided 8am start, the bed in my room was somewhat shorter than I had hoped, my feet poking slightly over the end, similarly our air conditioning was somewhat crappier and louder than i would have hoped. Nevermind.
Had a little walk around the local area, hoping to find a congee shop my aunt had pointed out on a map the previous night – only to find out that it had closed down, we settled on a nearby shop specializing in noodles, which was pretty good. Had a fantastic warm pineapple bun (bo lo bao) afterwards too, best described as a sweet bread roll with a crispy sugar top.
Then off to the day’s main attraction, Lantau island (Ngong Ping Village), all the way over west, on a small peninsula off central Hong Kong. The local mode of transport is cable car, which lasts maybe 8 minutes or so as it glides between the outskirts of the city, to the middle of nowhere, passing over only mountains and forest.
On the island, we’d pass through the main areas of Ngong Ping village and plaza before heading straight for Wisdom Path, situated at the end of a 15 minute hiking trail through the wild, the result however was a pretty stunning view with a collection of wooden poles engraved with what one can only assume is much wisdom.
Then a hike back to the main area, and a visit to the nearby temples, which were pretty much temples, probably not a whole lot to say there. Chinese style, adorned with the usual gods and incense sticks outside. We headed over for some vegetarian cuisine, the kitchen attached to the side of the temple, mostly just a snack though, as we were still pretty full from morning.
We’d head up the see big buddha (more specifically called Tian Tan Buddha) before leaving, the monument pretty easy to spot for miles, perched atop the summit of a small mountain. It wasn’t my first trip to see big buddha – I vaguely remember coming some 10 years ago, and honestly not much has changed. The walk up to buddha is a huge stone staircase (286 steps) which saps your energy as you go, the thirtysomething degree heat hardly helping matters, however at the top you get a pretty nice view, along with 6 additional statues, and a great breeze to cool you down. After our trip up and down – to which we would discover a small entourage of literally sleeping dogs waiting for us in the shade at the bottom (apparently Lantau island is home to many stray dogs) – we headed back to the village by the cable car station to do a little bit of shopping, before the ride back down to civilization, and the underground train to Mong Kok.
Mong Kok is practically central Hong Kong, the oxford circus of HK so to speak, and it shows, the place was completely rammed with tourists and locals alike, with every street crossing turning into a small recreation of the Shibuya crossing in Japan. We entered Langham Place, a 13+ floor shopping mall which is adjoined to the metro station. The top 7 or so floors had a really cool architectural arrangement where the you’d take an escalator to the top and then the floor would just slowly slope round, meaning you can keep walking ‘forward’ in a circle and constantly see new shops and areas.
After having our shop around, we headed to what can only be described as ‘shoe shop land’, a cluster of a few blocks filled with only shoe shops – I’m not sure who thought it would be a good idea to put 50 shoe shops adjacent to each other, but that’s exactly what has happened in Mong Kok. My brother apparently was in rather dire need of new shoes, so we spent more a fair few hours here until it got dark.
We sort of forgot to eat a proper lunch somewhere along the way, so we ended up in just some random restaurant where we had to point at pictures to order because nobody in our family can properly read written chinese, the food was still good though.
To round off the day, we headed through some of the nearby markets, until we eventually walked our way back to our rented apartment – we made sure to grab another shaved ice along the way of course. Probably doesn’t sound like too extreme of a day, but jesus christ my feet are killing right now, and the heat was horrific.