China Blog: Hong Kong

After arriving safely in Hong Kong we immediately had to search for a bed for the night. Stopping at a cafe in the ferry terminal, we researched our options. As it turned out, these were mercilessly few. We made a booking with “Sydney Hostels” – one of the cheaper options (cheap for HK..!) and, from the pictures, looked clean and well-appointed. It also had the added bonus of being a 10 minute walk from the ferry port, and an “airport shuttle”. Great! We headed out.

The walk to the hostel was through a large inner-city garden, within which there was a large pond and a flamboyance of flamingos (I just Googled this collective noun and I love it). Hong Kong already seemed very different to mainland China, and immediately more Western. There were still many signs of affluent British rule, which gave us a completely different experience than the rest of our time in China.

A flamboyant flamboyance of flamingoes.

Following our trusty Google Maps, we arrived at… not a hostel. Where we expected the hostel to be, we found the infamous Chungking Mansions.
Chungking’s ground floor is a huge indoor marketplace – a maze of small shops and restaurants, selling everything and anything you could imagine. The building has 17 floors and several different blocks, so it took us quite some time to find the hostel’s block and the right elevator to get there!

The majestic Chungking Mansions (credit here)

Up, up, up we went… In pairs, as the lift was too small to fit all of us plus gear! Finally we reached the hostel – and our absolutely minuscule sleeping arrangements. We were glad we were only staying one night – but decided to make the best of things and spend our short time in HK outside, elsewhere.
In fairness to the Sydney Hostel, the staff were very friendly and helpful and the rooms clean! The “airport shuttle”, however, turned out to be the taxi rank outside.

The last supper

Light was just fading as we set out to explore Kowloon. We found a bright and bustling street and grabbed some food (delicious!) before heading to the harbour. The views were amazing, with the bright city lights glowing magically in the night. We didn’t want to leave so soon!

The amazing view over the harbour in Hong Kong

Time to make the most of the evening – with “last hurrah” thoughts in mind, we hit the town.

Buzzing HK nightlife on the streets of downtown Kowloon

The first of many tasty cocktails!
The menu at the Kowloon Taproom. A great selection of beers and none o that watery shite!

We finished the night by catching a great band at Ned Kelly’s Last Stand, known for its live jazz. To our surprise, the band was from Newcastle! We couldn’t believe the “small world” feeling we got, sitting in a bar over 6000 miles from home.

Back at the hotel, we attempted a lovely “last night of tour” photo but ended up laughing far too much. Results below:

By the morning, the rain was lashing down outside and we really did begin to understand the full extent of the typhoon – until then, we had a bit of a Scottish mentality about the whole thing (“ocht, it’s only a wee bit of rain…!”). However, it was evident that this “wee bit” of rain was actually something far more serious, so we legged it to the airport early that day – before the HK authorities shut the bridge between us and the airport.
Of course, our flight was delayed… and delayed… and delayed… but after spending a night in the airport, we finally boarded the flight and began to make our way home, and our China adventure came to a close.

China, you were amazing. We can’t wait to come back.