When booking a trip to Australia from the UK you have many airline choices, and with that comes the question of whether to have a stopover or not. To me a stopover isn’t just a break between flights, but a chance to explore somewhere new, or maybe even a city break in itself. On recent trips to Australia I have experienced stopovers in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, but this time I wanted to see somewhere new, and the destination at the top of my list was Hong Kong.
Hong Kong in Day!
I booked my trip with British Airways as they fly to Hong Kong twice daily, and they also code share with Cathay Pacific for my onward flight to Adelaide. I picked the earlier of the two daily British Airways flights from Heathrow to Hong Kong as this was served by their brand new A380, which had been flying this route for only a few weeks prior to my trip. On this occasion I didn’t plan to spend the night in Hong Kong, and had just a 12 hour stop. I was, however, determined to see as much of Hong Kong as I could in the short time there.
On arrival in Hong Kong I quickly passed through customs on a visitor visa and headed for the Airport Express train. This departs every 10-12 minutes and whisks you to Kowloon in 22 minutes, or downtown Hong Kong in 24 minutes. The Airport Express costs 180 Hong Kong Dollars for a day return; this is about £13 Sterling.
I arrived in Hong Kong just after midday, slightly tired from the flight, but eager to explore. After recovering from an overwhelming sense of feeling like an ‘ant’ amongst all the massive skyscrapers, I soon found myself in the heart of this bustling metropolis. After walking for about ten minutes or so I found myself in a local market on Peel Street. This was a traditional Asian market selling everything from fresh fruit and veg, meat and poultry, to herbs and spices. I wanted to buy it all, but as I wouldn’t have been able to take it on to Australia I had to resist the temptation.
After a while all the fresh food around me started to make me hungry, so I decided to make a lunch stop to sample some authentic local cuisine. Wah Fung restaurant is located just along Wellington Street, a short walk from the markets. Wah Fung is a Chinese Barbecue restaurant. From the outside it looks like a typical Chinese restaurant, with all the barbecue meat hanging in the front window, but don’t let that put you off! The food was exceptional, with a delicate balance of spice and warmth. I ordered more dishes than I could manage, from barbecue pork to steamed scallops, and rice noodles to bean curd, all beautifully presented and delicious. I would strongly recommend anyone visiting Hong Kong to eat in Wah Fung, rather than a mainstream chain, to truly experience the real taste of Hong Kong.
After this late lunch I decided to explore further and came across the central-mid-levels escalator system, which is just a bit further down Wellington Road. I started trekking up the system, weaving through all the high-rises, deeper into Hong Kong. I was unsure where this was taking me, but I carried on regardless. After travelling quite some distance the system came to an abrupt stop, and at this point I decided to grab a taxi. By this point I had no clue where I was, so I asked the driver to take me to Victoria Peak so I could take in the view.
The journey in the taxi took about twenty minutes, and on the way I witnessed a beautiful tropical-like sunset over the harbour. The entire taxi trip only cost the equivalent of £5, excellent value for the distance travelled. I was dropped off just below the Peak Galleria shopping centre, and I followed signs to the viewing platform. From here you have a panoramic view across the whole of Hong Kong, Kowloon and Victoria Harbour. The view was absolutely breathtaking, a forest of colourfully lit skyscrapers, with their bright lights giving the low level cloud a warming glow.
Earlier in the day I had heard about the daily laser light show at Victoria harbour and I was keen to check it out. Luckily I got to the harbour’s edge just in time. Many say the best place to view the show is on a boat in the harbour, as it would give you an unequalled panoramic view, but on this occasion I watched the show from the harbour’s edge.
The laser light show was an incredible spectacle, as over 40 buildings on the harbours edge sprang to life with colourful flashing lights and laser beams. The whole show lasted about 10 minutes and this happens daily at 8pm, weather permitting. After the laser light show there wasn’t much time left before the return trip to the airport, but I managed a quick walk into Soho and enjoyed a few cheeky cocktails in the Hard Rock Cafe. The Long Island Ice Teas went down far too easily. Soon it was time to catch the airport express back to the airport.
In no time at all I was on board my flight and en route to Adelaide. Even such a short stop in this wonderful city was enough time to sample some of the wonders that Hong Kong has to offer. I left with some amazing memories and an urge to return and explore more of this fascinating, vibrant city.