Yesterday was grand and my first time back in Asia in a while, I had missed Asia but really had no clue just how much. I flew from Toronto to Hong Kong Airport on a direct flight with Cathay Pacific trying their premium economy class; it was lovely. The big question was do I sleep or just charge into the day and see what’s in store? I chose the latter and glad I did; I spent the day exploring Hong Kong and getting to know the place, I’m hooked.
I was in Hong Kong briefly in 2010 after spending ~7 months in Asia and came here to catch flight to Amsterdam. I spent an afternoon and loved it but then I left and never came back. Believe it or not, I recognized an area yesterday that I knew I had passed years before and even believe I saw the exact bar where I went in for lunch and a drink but enough of that, let’s talk about the present, yes?
I’m staying at the LKF Hotel which is located in a very central location. So much so that it’s a short walk from Central Station or a short cab ride away. I couldn’t be happier with where I’m staying and love that it’s close to/ in SOHO, that’s the area I explored last time. I decided to take the Big Bus Tour because I think taking a bus tour first thing is a great way to get a lay of the land, glad I did.
I jumped on the bus and did the tour, I saw all sorts of sights and crossed numerous areas, some I will return to today; other perhaps in the future. Hong Kong is truly breathtaking with its narrow streets and oh so tall skyscrapers. Taking a bus tour is a good idea because if you’re just walking around you may end up tripping or walking into traffic as you’ll be constantly staring up into the sky. What’s also cool is that the topography is quite hilly but more on that later.
As it happens, LKF is a stop on the bus tour so I got off and ventured into SOHO to find a small local noodle shop. I found this lovely place which was quite busy and ordered some fish ball noodle soup, one of my favourites. The moment I started eating said soup I realized that I need to start spending at least two months a year in Asia, it just does it for me and the vibrations from this part of the world ring true with this fellow. I also missed the food incredibly, there is nowhere in the world with food even close to that in which you’ll find in Asia, even at some random street stall.
Following that I strolled through the streets of SOHO before retiring for a few moments. You see, the plan was to get sunset from The Peak which is one of the best view points in Hong Kong. I ended up napping a bit which was a horrible idea because when I woke up, If felt 200 years old, or as though I was a lion waking up after being tranquilized. That said, I hopped in a cab and made my way to The Peak, eager to see the views and what my first evening in Hong Kong had in store for me.
There is a tram which you can take up and down to get to The Peak but it’s a popular tourist spot for good reason. By taking a taxi you skip all of those lines and nobody said you can’t take it down afterward, right? I made my way to the observation deck where you get the best view and just soaked in the sights with a few hundred other people all as excited to be there as myself, many armed with selfie sticks.
There, I met a lady from Perth who was flying to London and on a layover as she was also flying with Cathay Pacific. She figured she’d use her layover to explore the city and had one spot left to see before heading to the airport, the Temple Street Night Market. She asked if I had plans to which I quipped “Going to the night market with you” and we were off. We waited in line for the tram which wasn’t so bad and then hit the streets, making our way to the Central Station.
Some people ask for directions, others plan things out. This lady was a planner and I’m the exact opposite. We go to Kowloon Station and realized it wasn’t quite right. She was looking for signs when I asked this lady who was not so helpful. That said, the most gregarious and helpful man I have met in ages overheard and brought us under his wing, we needed to catch a small local bus #74 and it he was going that way too; perfect.
We talked for a while as the driver whizzed through backroads seldom seen by tourist Tom and Tara before hitting Temple Street Night Market. I felt at that moment that I had started to see a bit more of Hong Kong and I absolutely loved it. I perused the tables filled of this and that and even found an adapter I had been looking for. The adapter it cost me ~$1.50cdn, the same one in a big box department store was $22 + tax in Canada; I purchased it with a big smile on my face.
At this time, my friend and to leave so we exchanged s and I walked her to the nearest subway stop. Then, I was unleashed on the street with a simple goal of finding a delicious bowl of soup. I found this packed restaurant but it specialized in rice bowls, but I was thirsty for soup so I left.
Moments later I stumbled up on this lovely little soup stall where all they made was soup, perfect. I sat on the small plastic stools and waited for my soup to arrive, before the plethora of flavours entertained my palate, I felt a rush of memories hit me and they were all good. Words can’t express how much I love the food and vibe of the street stall scene in Asia but I think you get what I’m going for so I’ll leave it at that.
Suffice to say, the soup was delicious and later I hit up a nice lady selling juice. I was going to buy some papaya juice when I saw that she had sugar cane, one of my big weaknesses. I bought the largest one I could find and it made it disappear as though that was my job; I was back in Asia. I looked around on this humid evening at all the lights with signs I couldn’t read and felt like I was back in part of the world that I hadn’t visited in far too long, the far east.
In closing, I’d like to thank my friends at Cathay Pacific for inviting me to try their premium economy class from Toronto to Hong Kong and partake in their #lifewelltravelled campaign. If you’d like to see more stories from Hong Kong on social media, simply search for #lifewelltravelled on any top network. That said, all thoughts and opinions are mine as they always have been and always will be.