I am currently working on a project in Hong Kong, and since I had no plans for Easter I decided to stay here rather than going back to Singapore for the long weekend. I have always wanted to see Hong Kong, but I have never had a real reason to come here before, so this trip was a great opportunity to do some sightseeing.
Good Friday I still hadn’t made any specific plans, so I ended up walking around in the city and looking at the harbor and some of the famous locations such as Times Square. In the evening I decided to take the Peak Tram up to Victoria Peak where you can get a fantastic view of the city. Although the view was great, I must admit that it wasn’t exactly the most pleasant experience I have had in my life. There was a massive queue to get tickets to the train, and I ended up standing in line for over 45 minutes just to get to the ticket counter. And once I had tickets I had to stand in line again to get on to the train, so even though the train ride took less than 10 minutes it took me well over an hour to get to the peak. I was also quite surprised about what I found on the top. I thought Victoria Peak would be more like a nature reserve with a lookout point surrounded by beautiful nature. On the contrary, the peak was more like a huge shopping mall with lots of shops, souvenirs and restaurants, and getting on the train down was just as difficult as getting up there. I was quite happy when I finally got back to the city and away from the crowds, and quite frankly I wouldn’t recommend the experience to anyone.
On Saturday it was raining, so I spent most of the day indoors, but on Sunday the weather was great and I went out to Lantau Island, which is the largest island in Hong Kong and with some interesting tourist attractions. The most famous attraction is probably the Ngong Ping cable car, a 5.7 km cable car journey that takes you to the top of the mountain with an amazing view of the island. On the top you will find the Ngong Ping village, where all the buildings are designed in traditional Chinese architecture. There is also the Po Lin monastery and the world’s largest outdoor Buddha which is visited by Buddhists from all over the world. Another attraction on Lantau Island is the Tai O fishing village, which is an old village built on stilts and which was once the largest settlement on Lantau. All in all it was a very good day, and it was great to see other parts of Hong Kong than just heavy traffic and shopping malls.
Monday was also a public holiday in Hong Kong, so I got up early and went out to the ferry terminal to catch a ferry over to Macau, which is only an hour boat ride from Hong Kong. Macau is an administrative region of China, similar to Hong Kong, but while Hong Kong was owned by the British, Macau was owned by the Portuguese, which is quite evident in the architecture. The city looks like a southern European town with Chinese influence, which I suppose in reality is exactly what it is. The old buildings are quite well maintained, in colonial style with a range of pastel colors, such as yellow, pink, light green etc. The famous Largo do Senado (or Senado Square) is paved with a wave-patterned mosaic of colored stones, and the road signs are written in Chinese, Portuguese and English. I spent most of the day walking around and admiring the architecture, and it was a good thing that I didn’t jump on any of the organized sightseeing tours, because I realized that many of the really nice old areas are not even covered on the tours and besides, Macau is so small you can walk through the city in one day.
Today I back in Hong Kong and getting ready for a few more days on customer site before I head home to Singapore.