23 November 2013

Holiday in Hong Kong

A hotel offer came along for Metropark in Kowloon for 4 short nights, and we decided to go.

So, what to do in Hong Kong?

I was actually happy to go on such a short holiday, because our recent vacations have been rather long - 3 weeks+. That is too long away from home for me. Too many clothes to pack, too many "standby" meds, wondering how the house is, the dogs etc.

At this time of year, Hong Kong's climate is just like Malaysia, so we could travel light. We did the usual checks on the net, saw what other people like to do in Hong Kong and checked with my friends. They all thumbed their noses up at Kowloon, where out hotel is, and said that the area is rough or too Chinese.

Well, we found the Metropark Hotel on Waterloo Road in Kowloon to be well-located, clean, comfortable and most of all, spacious! And the hotel shuttle bus would take us to Mong Kok or Tsim Sha Tsui - that made getting around so convenient! Plus all the shopping streets like Ladies Street, Sports Shoes Street are all in the Mong Kok area. We found nothing wrong with the area.

After all, having been conditioned to how things are in Malaysia, most Malaysians would be alert to personal safety issues abroad.

On the afternoon of our arrival, we walked to the shops close to our hotel and found interesting places including a dog hotel and a little supermarket which sold my son's favourite Nissin brand of tonkotsu-flavoured instant noodles that we can't find in Malaysia. We bought 27 packets.

Our first meal in Hong Kong was the Chinese fast food of chicken rice/ charsiu (barbecued pork) rice/ roast goose rice.  It was time to get used to Hong Kong prices. A plate of charsiu rice costs HK$42 (about RM20)! You do get a lot of rice and meat, though.
In our short time in Hong Kong, we used the Star Ferry thrice to cross over to Hong Kong. The kids and I really enjoyed that short ride on the sea. And it's so cheap. HK$1.50 for kids and HK$2.50 for adults.

Hong Kong's Symphony of Lights was a short 15 minutes display of light and sound. On the night we watched it, it was calm and warm, and the crowds were not too bad. It was quite enjoyable but not jaw-dropping.

We took the Mid Levels escalator all the way to the top and walked down, passing by the Glenealy International School and stopping to rest and admire the Zoological and Botanical Gardens on the way down to town. (the kids did complain about the walk down!) We observed that up there way above the city, the condominiums were more luxurious, the cars driven much larger and the community more expatriate. This network of escalators brings you away from the bustle of Hong Kong's streets below into the quiet cool of bistros, restaurants and the residences of the expat community.

The skies above Hong Kong were grey and choked throughout our stay so we decided to give the Peak a miss.

On another day, the kids had a fun time in the Hong Kong Space Museum, after which we hopped across the road for high tea at the Peninsula Hotel (recommended by a friend). This old, classy hotel brings you back to the days of old Hong Kong when the British were still around.

Finally, Ocean Park. It was a toss up between that or Disneyland, but Ocean Park was always the top contender. We wanted something local and unique to Hong Kong, rather than a licensee presence of a giant amusement park from a country half a planet away. We were not disappointed.

Oh and of course, the food! 5 days was not long enough to sample all the great eats, but we had great dim sum at One Dim Sum in Kowloon, which in my opinion beats the much touted Tim Ho Wan.

Yung Kee's roast goose and century eggs were eaten with relish.

And my friend's recommendation of Tsui Wah went down well with the family. Famous for their fish ball noodles.


My husband had a second lunch one day of Mak's famous wanton noodles, not far from Yung Kee restaurant. Too bad he didn't have enough space in his tummy to try out the rival wan ton mee just opposite called Tsim Chai Kee.

Taking a break from Chinese cuisine, we enjoyed a Vietnamese dinner in Nha Trang at Harbour City after we hopped off the ferry. How convenient.