28 Jun Hong Kong: Places to Go and Things to do
Hong Kong: soaring towers, beautiful parks, ancient rituals, bustling markets. Ancient meets modern; Erica Hunt, Learning and Development Manager at Eton Institute, shares a cultural insight into this enigmatic city.
Hong Kong – December 2013 – Erica H.
Hong Kong is a great place to visit and makes an ideal city break during the months of October to April. My trip took place four weeks ago in December when the days were sunny and the nights were cold enough to wear a lightweight jacket. Hong Kong is not a cheap destination in terms of accommodation, however, after setting aside a budget for a hotel, food and transport are excellent value. The city is safe and modern so that walking tours are one way of exploring and a way to meet local residents.
My husband and I followed a walking tour suggested by the Lonely Planet City Guide to Hong Kong and Macau. The instructions and map are easy to follow and usually start at a metro station. We started at Prince Edward Metro and walked for a short distance until we found ourselves in the Yuen Po Street Bird Market. This extraordinary place is used mostly by men to bring their caged songbirds for some fresh air and a grass hopper snack. The picture below shows me trying to say good morning to a gentleman using my Eton Institute Chinese phrasebook. My pronunciation was far from perfect, but with the aid of printed characters in Mandarin we managed to exchange greetings.
Further along the road, the Flower Market is full of beautiful orchids and all sorts of exotic blooms.
You can see a number of stalls along the route selling fresh fruits and there are plenty of opportunities to stop and buy a tasty snack. If you happen to have a phrasebook with you, it is good fun to negotiate in the local language. Here I am trying to buy bananas and as you can see from the man in the background, the first attempt was not entirely successful!
From the end of the Flower Market it is only a short walk through to the Goldfish Market where every colour and shape of fish can be found. The fish are sold in plastic bags, sealed and ready to go but are maybe not the ideal souvenir to bring home!
By crossing over and walking in the direction of the Tung Choi Street Market, you will come across the Dimdimsum dimsum Speciality Store (find the address on facebook.com) for the best dim sum in Hong Kong. The front window of the restaurant is covered in recommendations from food critics around the world and it certainly lives up to its reputation. The restaurant was extremely busy, the staff were helpful and the restaurant was full of local people, which must be the best compliment. After taking a little rest it is easy to carry on walking towards the market. The market is open during the afternoon and into the night. It sells mostly clothing although there are lots of accessories for women and some souvenir stalls. Keep walking in a southerly direction and if you have time, spend five minutes at Tin Hau Temple where you can meet fortune tellers and Chinese opera singers practicing in the temple gardens.
Jordan metro station is very close and trains can be caught to any part of Hong Kong. We walked for around five hours at a leisurely pace, took some beautiful photographs, saw some unique sights, ate fabulous food and spent some priceless moments trying to speak in Mandarin. If you are able to spend time in Hong Kong do not hesitate to put on your walking shoes and experience a unique corner of Asia.
Spring – March to mid-May (18-27oC,64-80o F)
Summer – late-May to mid-September (26-33oC,79-91o F)
Autumn – late-September to early December (18-28oC,64-82o F)
Winter – mid-December to February (14-20oC,57-68o F)
Eggette – Egg custard waffle cooked in specially shaped waffle irons over an open flame.
Milk Tea – iced milk tea, which is black tea with the addition of evaporated or condensed milk
Macaroni in tomato soup – sometimes with added carrot, peas and corn
Dim Sums – bite sized or individual portions of food served in a steamer basket