Hong Kong Holiday: Day 3 – Central district walkabout
On the third day of our epic trip to Hong Kong we woke up a little bit later. Okay, fine. A lot later. We didn’t get out of the hotel room until nearly ten o’clock, but don’t judge me, it was vacation! Our primary goal for the day was to have dim-sum at Tim Ho Wan, the world-famous Michelin starred dirt-cheap eatery. We’d read that you can wait for up to two hours for a table, so we grabbed a pastry to split and a cup of coffee, hunted down the restaurant, and of course because we pregamed with the pastry we walked right in. I’m not going to talk too much about this part of the day because frankly, it was too delicious to recount again. After our dim-sum brunch, we were stuffed to the point of near-illness. Walking was required. Our handy dandy Hong Kong walks map that we picked up at the tourism board stand in the airport had walk for us that ended nearby, so we decided to do the whole thing backward.
We left the IFC mall after a quick stop to pose with the pandas and started tracking down the starting point of our walk for the day. It was easy enough to find, and from there it was a matter of checking off landmarks and working our way up the mountain. The first part of the walk led us by some of Hong Kong’s most iconic buildings. Of all of the buildings in Hong Kong, the one that strikes me the most is the Bank of China Tower. It’s not nearly the tallest building, but it’s apparently designed to be reminiscent of bamboo that always grows upward, and I find the jagged white lines that mark its sides to be mesmerizing, day or night. After a little bit of a hike through the concrete jungle and up the hill, we found ourselves at our first stop.
We stopped in to sit in the sanctuary of St. John’s Cathedral for a few minutes. Outside of the church was the marked grave of one of the British defenders of the island when Hong Kong was invaded by the Japanese, apparently buried near where he fell. It was a bit of a reminder that Hong Kong has seen some terrible days, and that even though we love Japan, the country has a bit of a dark past. Of course, I certainly don’t hold the Japanese people of today accountable for what their ancestors did nearly a century ago. After resting our legs for a few minutes, we continued along the trail to the Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens.
The next stop on the tour was the Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Garden. The Garden is really nice, a great, quiet spot to relax amid the noise of a megacity. There’s a beautiful fountain to enjoy the free wifi by, beautiful flowers everywhere, and a wonderful aviary filled with beautiful birds. There’s also a snack bar. And the snack bar had something I’d been looking for since the moment we touched down in Hong Kong. Curry fishballs. An order of curry fishballs and a coke cost me $19HK, which is about $3 US. They were light and fluffy compared to the other fishballs I’d eat on the trip, and the curry was really mild and flavorful. It was delicious, although the ice cream Carolyn had might have been more refreshing for such a warm afternoon. From here we made our way down to the Peak Tram station, because the sky seemed clear enough to enjoy some good views of Hong Kong, and it was on the itinerary after all.
We only had to wait a few minutes for the Peak Tram to take us up to enjoy the awesome views of the city from the mountaintop, but when it arrived it was an all out brawl to get aboard. Carolyn and I were separated by two rude, unpleasant Australian ladies that used their hips like the best NBA rebounders to keep me from getting on the tram car with Carolyn. When we got up to the top it was a tourist trap of epic proportions, until we followed a little path away from the shopping center at the tram terminal and found some excellent FREE views of the city. We walked through the back side of the mall, too, and found this adorable puppy parking lot. We stayed for a while, enjoying the quiet and cool air, before getting hungry and heading back down to the city. The last stop on our tour was Hong Kong Park.
We took a few minutes to sit in the park, but as it got dark and our bellies started rumbling a bit louder it was clear that we should head into civilization to find some dinner. We were on a budget because we didn’t want to dip into savings and payday was the next morning, but we still managed a great meal at Nico’s Spuntino Bar in soho. It was a pizza made with some super fresh ingredients, and with a few western snacks that we couldn’t live without from the 7-11 we were good to go until morning.