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Hong Kong ~ My Fabulous Second Home

I’m the type of person who resists traveling to the same place twice… apart from Hong Kong!

Hong Kong is my second home. My parents originate from this 24.7 city and I made my very first trip with my mami from Schiphol Airport when I was a very excited two year old. I still have family and friends in Hong Kong and I once dreamt that I’d emigrate to this mad but wonderful place when I was old enough to travel alone. When I turned 14 I made that very journey but the move never happened, however, I do try and visit at least once a year. Why did I never go I hear you ask. Simply because my parents still depend on me for many things and Paul, who although loves the city just cannot imagine being a part of everyday Hong Kong. I do see his reasons and even more so now I’m older but I always say ‘Never say never’!

Over the last few trips, we’ve traveled with friends who were yet to soak in the atmosphere to this amazing place, and this year was no different. We ensured we visited as many must-see places as possible and I love it as much every time we go but this time, our itinerary was so jam packed with family, friends, my cousins 2 day wedding… and making sure I had time to eat as much as I can in what I call ‘food heaven’ and so we didn’t get chance to do absolutely everything.

We arrived late afternoon after a comfortable night flight with Lufthansa. I’ll always book a night flight – it somehow seems a lot easier on the body and mind. And if you’re wondering who you should travel those 6000 miles with, well in my case, it’ll be my gorgeous hubby and if only I could, my little Pugsie pooch! Seriously though, I’ll always recommend Cathay Pacific however Lufthansa certainly didn’t disappoint.

We dropped our bags off , freshened up, jumped into a red cab and headed straight into Mong Kok.

Mong Kok means ‘busy corner’ in Chinese and yes, you guessed it – it sure is busy every corner you turn. I know the streets of Mong Kok very well but if you’ve never been, don’t be surprised if you think every street looks the same. Bright neon lights, the hustle and bustle til late at night and on that Sunday evening, we stood watching people busk, create local art and dance on the busy streets.  We wanted our friends to see the real parts of Hong Kong and this was where we started. Dodging in and out between the people, everyone crosses the streets for the green man like it’s very well rehearsed {there’s no other way – you’ll risk getting run over otherwise with the mad traffic} and our first evening meal was in a local dai-pai-dong. Our friends loved it! Jet lag? What jet lag?

mong kok hong kong

We had an overnight stay before we were back at HK Terminal One for our flight to Xi’An {more on the trip here}

Once we were back, I had a day scheduled in for a styled shoot at One Thirty One – I will tell you more on this once I can reveal our gorgeous photos. Excited to share soon 🙂

one thirty one wedding hong kong

The day before my bestie’s two day wedding {this is going to be another post for another day!} we made our way to Ngong Ping 360. Our friends, Phil and Jules, really wanted to see the Giant Buddha on Lantau Island and the best way was to take the cable car. We didn’t go for the glass bottom crystal cabins as I was with three other grown up’s who suffered from acrophobia. And since we were going to be traveling through the clouds and over-look the airport where planes take off underneath you, I gathered it was perhaps best we didn’t! I did mention we could get there another way which meant no cable car ride was necessary, but they insisted on the ride as long as I bought the normal tickets. They were brave to trust me to do just that 😉

Thankfully for them, they could trust me 100% and so off we went to Lantau followed by an afternoon on Tai-O – an old fishing village with the cute stilt houses.

Spotting an old fashion street food stall totally made my day! They had my absolute favourite mini egg cakes and I was instantly transported back to my childhood! The only thing missing was my Hello Kitty cuddly toy {oh… and Hello Kitty rucksack with my Hello Kitty pencil case and notepad which also had Hello Daniel too, Kitty pens and her mini lunch box!} and a giant bottle of Yakult – all the things which reminded me of my younger years.

If you ever visit Lantau Island, do climb the 268 steps up to the top of the Buddha. It’s an amazing view but having already done the climb, I decided not to do it again!

A Chinese Buddhist temple always gives me a sense of peace. A visit to Hong Kong is never complete unless I’ve said my prayers.

That very same evening, we had a delicious meal with my mami and dad – it was the very first time in my life where my parents and I were all in Hong Kong at the same time. It was never possible before due to our family business and it meant the world to me to spend quality time with them. As some of you may know, quality time for most Chinese people is to sit all night and enjoy a well cooked meal.  And that’s exactly what we did. Bliss.

One of my favourite breakfasts – a scrummy, freshly baked pineapple bun and latte.

There’s so much more I could add to this post about my second home but as our visit was a little short and sweet this time round, we did a lot less than we would normally. We spent a lot more time with family in local places… but here are some of the must see places I’ve been before and would go again. So if you’re planning on going any time soon – don’t miss them!

  • The Peak. Take the steep tram to the top and absorb the incredible views. Night views are the best but try and wait for a non cloudy day
  • Lantau Island for The Giant Buddha + Po Lin Monastery
  • The Harbour and Star Ferry
  • Ladies Market, Temple Street Market + Stanley Market
  • Tsim Sha Tsui & the Clock Tower
  • Tsim Sha Tsui, Central + Mong Kok for shopping
  • Aqua Luna
  • 1881 Heritage
  • Wong Tai Sin Temple
  • Lan Kwai Fong and Wan Chai for the nightlife
  • Murray House at Stanley Waterfront
  • Lung Yeuk Tau – heritage trail in the New Territories

You can find out more on where to go on Discover Hong Kong tourism website.

 

If you have more than 5 days you could maybe also take a day trip to…

Macau {don’t forget your passport!} – an amazing fusion of Portuguese and Chinese history and is the Las Vegas of the East!

 

 

Best months to visit –

March/ April and October/ November – not too humid nor too cold.

The UK summer season is also their typhoon season, so expect heavy rainfall and crazy high winds!

 

From UK to Hong Kong –

Search for airlines such as Cathay Pacific, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic for direct flights from London.
For in-direct flights and if you wish to travel from the Midlands (where I’m based) you can travel from Birmingham via Dubai with Emirates, KLM – changing in The Netherlands or change at Frankfurt or Munich with Lufthansa.

 

Food –

Whichever cuisine your taste buds are craving for, you’ll find it in Hong Kong! From delicious fine dining restaurants to local dim sum or even Dai-Pai-Dongs. I’m not quite sure I can recommend any in particular as no matter where I’ve dined – from Central to Tai-Po, I looooove them all! But places Paul and I will always find ourselves in are Sushi restaurants – ok, its Japanese but non the less, we can never have enough sushi! My very first ever sushi experience was when I was probably aged 8 and it was in Hong Kong – so imagine my excitement when it became more popular here in the UK…  and also places such as The One are definitely worth every penny. Or dollar should I say.

 

Where To Stay –

I’d recommend you look for accommodation in and around Tsim Sha Tsui. It’s within easy reach to Hong Kong Island and the New Territories. There’s such a vast choice of hotels and although the closer to the Tsim Sha Tsui and Hong Kong Island you are, the smaller the rooms tend to be and more expensive but if you can get a room with the harbour view… you won’t be dissapointed – I promise. If there’s no room at our family apartment, the hotels I’ve personally stayed in over the years and would recommend include Shangri-La, The Hyatt, Harbour Plaza Metropolis and Harbour Plaza 8 Degrees. Hotels I’ve visited and are on my list to stay during our future visits would include The Mira, Mandarin Oriental and Langham Place… and hotels I’ve not had chance to visit nor stay yet but will definitely look at booking are W Hong Kong, Hotel Icon and Hullett House at 1881.

 

Travel –

Hong Kong International Airport is approximately 30mins away in a taxi to Tsim Sha Tsui. A rough estimate –  around $200. The MTR and KCR are brilliant – frequent, safe and clean. In Hong Kong, taxi’s can take up to 5 passengers. Red cabs operate throughout the most of Hong Kong and the green cab is for the New Territories only. If you spot a blue one {very rare} they are for Lantau Island.

 

Nightlife –

A night out in Lan Kwai Fong has to be on top of your list!

 

 

So that’s all I have to share about Hong Kong for now… but I’m sure I have more to add from my next visit – hopefully next year. If you’ve already visited Hong Kong, do tell us what you think to the city and any tips and advice you have for a first time visitor xoxo

 

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  • Denis - Thank you for the tips, Carmen! Will be there next year! Love xMay 29, 2013 – 12:49 pm

  • Carms - Oh Yey! You’ll have a great time! I’m hoping to go again next year, so maybe we’ll be there at the same time 🙂 xMay 29, 2013 – 2:12 pm

  • LucyL - Brilliant post, you’ve managed to make me homesick for my second home too! But I will be back in Oct and look forward to doing the same thing time in time out hehe.

    Oh I must share my wedding pics with you sometime, although I still haven’t finished choosing them!

    Really look forward to your One Thirty One post, it was a wedding venue I had considered but unfortuately it was too small. But I did find other beautiful venues in hk for our wedding and one of them is relatively unknown, and I look forward to sharing it with you. Shall I email you photos once I have them? xJune 7, 2013 – 9:46 am

  • Carms - Oh no… sorry to make you feel homesick! But not long until October Lucy 🙂 Yes please, do send me some of your wedding photos – I look forward to seeing them! xJune 8, 2013 – 2:18 pm

  • This Year. | Carmen Weddings - […] and I managed to spend more time in Hong Kong with family and friends and it was really amazing to be in the city with my parents too – the […]April 10, 2015 – 9:07 pm

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