Round the World in 40 Days: Stage 5 – Hong Kong Revisited

After freezing temperatures in Seoul, it was good to arrive in Hong Kong in warm sunshine and then to enjoy a spectacular light show that evening over Victoria Harbour. A great way to return to a vibrant, bustling metropolis.

Hong Kong: Spectacular light show over Victoria Harbour
Spectacular light show over Victoria Harbour

My wife and I had visited Hong Kong three years previously on our Round the World in 30 Days tour, but it was relatively unknown to our two travelling companions. Hence our four day visit was split between revisiting some of the highlights of our previous visit and exploring some new areas, particularly on Hong Kong Island.

This time we opted to stay at a hotel on Hong Kong Island and chose the Holiday Inn Express Soho. It is close to Hong Kong Station, the terminal for the Airport Express service and where you can check in your baggage when flying out from Hong Kong International Airport. The hotel is  also in walking distance to the Peak Tram and to the Star Ferries terminal for frequent crossings over Victoria Harbour to Kowloon on the mainland.

We had each obtained an Elder Octopus Card when we arrived at the international airport. This gives seniors (65+) much reduced fares on almost all the different types of transport in Hong Kong and free travel on the Star Ferries. They cost $70 HK (about £7), but $50 dollars of that is a deposit refundable when leaving Hong Kong. You can top up at thousands of locations, but we found the initial $20 lasted us for our visit, as most journeys cost just $2.

Street food stalls in Temple Street Night Market
Street food stalls in Temple Street Night Market

The Holiday Inn Express Soho proved a great choice with panoramic views across Victoria Harbour from our 35th floor room, a good breakfast to start the morning well and plenty of eating places nearby when we returned in the evening.

The hotel has its own restaurant, the Moon Thai, which is include in the local Michelin guide. However we decided that sampling the local Chinese food would be more appropriate on this stage of our trip.

Some of the places we revisited included Temple Street Night Market and the Golden Mile in Kowloon. We also again took the Peak Tram funicular up Victoria Peak and then followed the Peak Circle Walk, a 2 mile green pathway just below the peak. More details on these can be found in my previous report on Hong Kong. All are well worth visiting again and again.

Panoramic view from the Peak Circle Walk
Panoramic view from the Peak Circle Walk

A big plus when we took the Peak Circle Walk this time was that the there was very little mist – a big problem on our last visit. Thick mist, which is apparently very common on Victoria Peak, had badly obscured our views around Hong Kong. This time we could see almost the whole of Hong Kong stretched out before us, as we wandered through what is in effect a botanic garden filled with many local species of flora and fauna. To me this is Hong Kong’s number one attraction.

Historic double-decker trams
Historic double-decker trams

One new area we visited on this trip was the quieter southern side of Hong Kong Island. We had seen this are from the Peak Circle Walk, but to get there required using a couple of different means of transport.

Firstly the we took one of the historic double-decker trams from our hotel to Causeway Bay. From there we took GreenMiniBus 40 along the twisty, scenic road over the central spine of the island, alighting at Stanley Market.

Stanley comprises a very large covered market, selling almost everything imaginable, leading down to the seafront and many restaurants and bars. This is where the locals come to relax. Unfortunately it was overcast that day, so this small seaside town did not impress as much as no doubt it does when the sun is shining down.

Stanley waterfront on an overcast day
Stanley waterfront on an overcast day

Our return trip was on a standard bus past Repulse Bay and round the coastal road to the west of the island, before connecting again with the tram service back to our hotel.

Overall we had a very relaxing and enjoyable few days in Hong Kong in pleasant warm temperatures. It is a very senior traveller friendly place as described on the informative Senior Visitor Concessions website.

After a Star Ferry’s Harbour Tour on our final day, we headed back to the international airport for an overnight flight to Brisbane and what proved to be a hectic few days in hot and humid Queensland.

See also:
Round the World in 40 Days: Planning and Booking
Stage 1 – Golden Triangle of Agra, Jaipur and Delhi
Stage 2 – Singapore and the Gardens by the Bay
Stage 3 – Taipei and NE Taiwan
Stage 4 – Seoul and the DMZ
Stage 6 – Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef
Stage 7 – Earthquakes and Vineyards in New Zealand
Stage 8 – A Tour of Santiago, Chile
Stage 9 – Cusco and Machu Picchu
Stage 10 – Lima and Miraflores, Peru
Stage 11 – Miami and the Everglades