Thursday, May 18, 2017

Hong Kong {Big Buddha and Victoria Peak - Days 1 & 2}

We had a really early morning out of Houston (with a layover in DFW), but luckily we had a row to ourselves and were able to stretch out and sleep for a while during our 16+hour flight! We arrived in Hong Kong a little ahead of schedule and took the Airport Express into town. We had also purchased an Oyster Card, so we were able to take the metro from the main station to the station with our hotel - Admiralty! 

We checked into our hotel (The JW Marriott - I can't recommend highly enough) and decompressed a bit. We also took advantage of the executive lounge and grabbed a few drinks before dinner.

Our first stop was Tim Ho Wan in Sham Shui Po (there are a few locations around town). It is one of the cheapest Michelin-rated restaurants in the world! We got a spread of dim sum including BBQ pork buns (favorite!), fresh shrimp siu mai, turnip cakes, steamed beef balls, and pan fried leek dumplings. It was an absolute feast for about $12! Afterwards, we walked around Temple Street Night market for a bit before we crashed for the night.

The next morning, we took a train out to Lantau Island. Unfortunately the cable car system was down for maintenance (for 6 months! Ah!) and we had to catch a bus up to the top of the island to see the Tian Tan Buddha (aka Big Buddha). It only took about 45 minutes (vs. the 30 for the cable car), but it was much less scenic! We also got caught in a bus with a gigantic hornet on the way down, so that made our drive a bit more interesting. The driver had to pull over to kill this thing that was probably bigger than my thumb - yikes.

We climbed to the top to see the Buddha, walked around the Wisdom Path and then wandered around Po Lin Monastery. We had worked up an appetite, so we grabbed a set lunch at the monastery. It was one of the best vegetarian meals we've ever had! 

After lunch, we went to the back of the monastery and listened to the monks chanting for quite a while. It was very relaxing to listen to, the weather was perfect - it was just a really great afternoon. It was also close to Buddha's birthday, so they had a ceremony to bathe the Buddha - see a picture of me taking part below!

That evening, we hung out in the executive lounge (you'll find this is a trend...) and had some amazing (and free!) food and drinks. We ended up taking a taxi to Victoria Peak as the line for the tram was seriously insane. We found a more secluded path off and hiked around the peak. We stopped in time to watch the light show before we headed back down the peak and called it a night! Great first (real) day in Hong Kong!

Next up: Our trip to Tai Long Wan Beach and Macau!

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