Tim and I had planned on making a big trip in 2014 and when Tim’s best friend Tyler moved to Hong Kong, we knew our destination. Tyler recommended adding a few more stops on our trip so we opted to visit Thailand and Vietnam. Due to vacation time and weather, we picked October as the time visit. We had success traveling to Belize at the end of the low season – the prices were much lower than the high season and we still had great weather. We were able to snag roundtrip tickets to Hong Kong under $1,000 and after months of planning, we were finally on our way!
Our flight path took us from PHX – SEA – HKG. The flight from Seattle itself was over 14 hours and we landed a full day and a half ahead of when we left. Hong Kong has a fantastic, clean public transportation system and Tyler and Laura met us at the train station when we arrived. After freshening up at their apartment, we went out for some authentic Cantonese food at a random restaurant. Hong Kong is interesting because as a former British colony and China’s “global city,” English is widely spoken but there is a significant portion of the population that only speaks Cantonese. All of the menus at restaurants come with photos to make it easier to order. We had a wide variety of different foods and it was all delicious. My favorite was the BBQ pork, it pretty much melted in our mouths!
Jet lag hit us right after dinner and Tim and I decided to get some rest. The next morning, we explored the area around where Tyler and Laura lived. We visited Man Mo Temple, which follows Confucianism. The temple was not large but it was very interesting, my favorite part were the unique incense burners which hung from the ceiling.
A day trip to one of the islands surrounding Hong Kong was next on the agenda. I knew Hong Kong was an island, but I had no idea there were several other islands surrounding it. Anyway, we took the ferry over to Lama Island. The ferry was about 20 minutes long and gave you a nice view of Hong Kong Island. We arrived to the little seaside village and the boys immediately wanted to purchase a “hiking” beer. Hong Kong is similar to Vegas in that you can walk around with open containers which, as you can imagine, delighted Tim immensely. Beers in hand, we set off for a hike across the island. The entire path was paved and had a slight incline up and a bit of a steeper incline down. I was surprised at how tropical the island was – we saw gigantic spiders, turtles and lush forest throughout the hike.
The peak of the hike brought a beautiful view of the fish farms and sea. It was so peaceful compared the hustle and bustle of the city. One of the coolest things we saw was a cave where the Japanese used to house kamikaze boats during World War II. We stopped at a beach midway through the hike and cooled off for a bit. There were several families enjoying the cooler and you could tell the island is often used as a nice getaway.
After cooling down, we continued down the path to a town on the opposite side of the island. Cars are not allowed on the island and it was a very relaxed atmosphere. We sat down for lunch overlooking the sea. A plethora of seafood was brought out – squid, shrimp, fish – and the meal was capped with these delicious sticky buns frosted with condensed milk. One interesting note, they use a lazy Susan in several restaurants to share food. Pretty clever. The food was so fresh, so delicious, just all around amazing.
It was a solid first day to our trip. We rested that night to prepare for another big day in Hong Kong.