Hong Kong trip recap: Day 1

You may have long given up on me actually posting any more about my Hong Kong trip.¹ But I really do have a lot to share, and what’s more, I want to write down at least some of my thoughts while my memory is still relatively clear.⁵ Over the past few weeks, I have spent bits of time here and there sorting through my photos, and making notes on some of my activities. I can’t tell you how many times I started to write about my trip, only to run out of time.⁶

In the interest of saving time and actually getting this ready to post (along with the many other recap posts I’d like to get to), I won’t go into much detail. But please understand that my first day was in no way moderate. I covered a lot of ground, both in walking and by subway. Along the way, I took a lot of photos, a few of which I am sharing below. I have posted quite a few more from on flickr. Before I get to the photos, here is a list of my major activities and movements that first day:

Day 1: Monday, August 15, 2011

  • wondered* around near hotel, in the Wan Chai district, in search of breakfast
  • took MTR to Kowloon
  • went to Hong Kong Museum of History
  • walked to vegetarian restaurant for lunch
  • took MTR back to Hong Kong island
  • stopped by hotel room to get telephoto lens and waffle over plans for the rest of the day
  • walked back to MTR station
  • 40-minute MTR ride to Lantau Island
  • cable car to see the Big Buddha
  • took long bus ride back to bottom of island
  • had dinner of pastries from a bakery while sitting out in the square
  • watched movie in movie theater
  • caught MTR back to Kowloon
  • swung by Temple Street night market (but didn’t buy anything)
  • took MTR back to Wan Chai
  • walked back to hotel

And now some photos:

At the History Museum. These lanterns were lowered over the audience at the end of a film about Hong Kong peoples and cultural events. (The museum had many small theaters showing short films that focussed on specific time periods or specific aspects of Hong Kong history. In addition to this one, I saw films on local geology, the Opium War, the Japanese occupation in WWII.)

Walking around after the museum, trying to find a specific restaurant. (I had my camera strap around my head, with my camera hanging near my waist, and was taking photos without looking at the viewer.)

One of the few photos I have of myself in Hong Kong.

A fountain at the square outside the Tung Chung MTR stop on Lantau island.

The cable car ride was really quite dramatic and impressive. The building that the cables are leading to (and from) is not the start of the ride, but a point part way through at which the ride makes a more-or-less 90 degree turn. It’s hard to see in the photo at this resolution, but you can see a couple of cars dangling over the water in the upper right corner of the photo, between the two bridges. You can click here to see a crop of that region.)

At one point, I passed over a beach that was spotted with people. Most of them were digging clams.

I’m not sure whether this pair was involved in the clam-digging, but I did appreciate their shadows. (The glass-bottomed cable car let me take a lot of shots straight down.)

The views of cityscapes (and cloudscapes) were quite impressive.

The cable cars went up into forested mountainous areas. Again, my glass-bottomed car led to some dramatic views. I felt like I was floating above the treetops.

It was very impressive when the Big Buddha came into view. As you can see from the way he towers above the tree tops, he is indeed Quite Big.

I arrived just too late go up the stairs to get a closer view of the Buddha (and to see the building he’s sitting on). The views from below were still beautiful. (I was going to say “impressive” again, but I don’t want to overuse it. But it was impressive.)

When I finally returned to the square outside the MTR station, I saw that there was a movie theater there. I checked the listings, and was happy to see that Wu Xia was playing, a Hong Kong action movie (and one suggested to me by YTSL, Hong Kong film buff extraordinaire, as an option to fulfill the trip goal of seeing a Hong Kong action movie while in Hong Kong.) The movie theater was large and modern, and I was surprised by two things: 1) I had to select my seat when buying my ticket, much like for an airplane and 2) the popcorn choices were buttered or chocolate. (As I am one who is drawn to novel things, I opted for the chocolate.)

So there, in a rather large nutshell, was Day 1. Here are a few things I left out of the nutshell:

  • It was super hot and steamy (probably low 90s and 90%+ humidity), even after dark.
  • In spite of the ginormous time difference (12-hours!) and the very long travel day of the day(s) before (~28 hours door-to-door), I only felt tired when I was in my hotel room. When I was out and about, I was so excited to be in Hong Kong that I only felt excited to be in Hong Kong
  • I did get some blisters on my feet, which I also felt (in additioning to feeling excited to be in Hong Kong).

I really hope I’ll get to post more about my trip soon. (I still really, truly, absolutely owe YTSL at least one post on our excursion and hike together.) Please nag me if I go too long before posting on this again.

¹ You may have long given up on me actually posting.²
² You may have long given up on me.³
³ You may have long given up.⁴
⁴ You may have long ___. [I’ll let you fill in the blank]
⁵ Um…too late, alejna.
⁶ Well, I can tell you the number of times. It was 5.
* And by “wondered,” I meant “wandered.” But apparently both words fit, so I left my typo. (See comments, below.)

34 thoughts on “Hong Kong trip recap: Day 1

    1. The Buddha statue is indeed huge, and the cable cars certainly have hte potential to be frightening for any who are afraid of heights. (Me, I like heights!)

      Thanks for stopping by, thoraaron!

  1. Wow! Gorgeous photos. I had already admired them on Flickr but this post helped put it all in context.
    I cannot believe you did all that in one day! You are definitely an overachiever when it comes to sightseeing!
    How long was the cable car ride?
    Chocolate popcorn. I’m going to have to think about that.

    1. Thanks, Sally! I’m glad you liked the photos. (And thanks for checking them out on Flickr–you may be the only person who did!)

      I did go a bit crazy that first day. It was the knowledge that I wouldn’t have much time the rest of the trip that pushed me. (Also the rush of being in Hong Kong. Did I mention that I was excited to be there?)

      The cable car ride was about half an hour long, I think. It was really worth the trip.

      As for the chocolate popcorn, I thought it was tasty. It had a glaze much like caramel corn (or Cracker Jacks), but with a chocolate flavor.

  2. Wow, those photos are amazing. I can especially appreciate them after my mostly botched attempt at urban/vacation photography in Bucharest.
    You really nailed that first day too! Did you end up using one of those Top 10 books to help plan things out?

    1. Also I forgot to ask if “wondered around near hotel” was an intentional typo. Because I like the image of wondering around in a new place– that describes it pretty well, actually.

      1. Ha! No, not an intentional typo. A genuine not paying close attention typo. Though I was indeed in wonder as I wandered, and wondering what I would eat.

    2. Thanks, bshep! The trick to getting good photos is to take a lot of them. And also just to surrender to looking like a tourist, and keeping the camera handy at all times. (Okay, 2 related tricks.) But I’d still like to see your Bucharest photos!

      I did end up using the Eyewitness Top 10 book. I largely read through it on the long flight over. But even it gave too many options! (It gave top 10 things in multiple categories.) I ended up wasting more time that I would have liked just reviewing my options and trying to map them out. (I mean, the time felt wasted as I was sitting in the hotel room in Hong Kong. If I’d managed to do it before the trip, it might have helped. Or maybe it wouldn’t. Who can say?)

  3. Cable car pics made my feet sweat! Agree with Sally about what a super-sightseer you are. Love the Buddha.

    We do the cinema seat selecting thing here too. But chocolate popcorn??? Some things are better left alone.

    1. Yes, the glass-bottomed cable car is probably to be skipped for those with height issues. The cables did go up quite high! In spite of enjoying being up high, I still felt a bit weak-kneed about standing up on the glass floors while floating up high. And I kept feeling like I was going to drop things.

      I didn’t realize that you did the seat selection in Sevilla, too. I didn’t have seeing a movie on my agenda for my Spain trip! As for the chocolate popcorn, it was not bad, but I can see how you (popcorn afficionado that you are) might not approve.

  4. Hi Alejna —

    Great blog entry! Really enjoy getting your written impressions of your Hong Kong trip and also seeing Hong Kong through your eyes via your photos. I think it’s easy to take great photos from the Ngong Ping cable car and of the Big Buddha — but that photo inside the HK Museum of History and walking shot really are something else. Inspired may well be the word!

    Oh, and re Hong Kong cinema popcorn: some cinemas are more conventional in offering “just” butter and caramel options. But at all the cinema concession stands I’ve tried out, you can also ask for a “mix” — i.e., mix of butter and caramel popcorn — which I really like. :)

    1. Hi, YTSL! I’m glad you enjoyed the entry. And thanks for the compliment on the photos. Inspired! I like that. I did like how the crosswalk shot turned out. I took quite a few like that, without framing them, and I like the way that movement was captured as a result.

      The cinema I went to didn’t have caramel popcorn. I think I would have liked the mix of caramel and buttered popcorn. (I do love sweet and salty together.)

  5. Ok, wow, I am impressed. :)

    Hong Kong was not really on my to-do list, because I rarely travel, but you have changed that quite easily.

    1. Thanks, De! I’m glad I was able to convey the impressiveness with my impressively subtle word choices. (Did I mention that things were impressive?)

      Hong Kong is absolutely worth going to. I do hope I’ll get to go there again. It felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but I hope that it won’t turn out to be just once in my lifetime. It wasn’t high on my places to visit until I met YTSL through her blog. She lured me over with her photos and descriptions of the food!

    1. Hi, Rob! It’s so nice to hear from you. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and photos. (Which reminds me, have I seen any of your photos lately? I should check out your website. You should have a blog! Do you?)

      Say “hi” to A for me! And let’s figure out when we can all get together. We’re past due.

  6. The umbrellas! I was there a few months ago, and the umbrellas…that’s all I could talk about. I kept wanting to say, ‘Be careful! You nearly had my eye out.’ Almost went and got myself one because it seemed like it might be the only way to make sure I didn’t get got by one.

    1. Hi, tracy! Thanks for stopping by. I can certainly see the appeal of carrying an umbrella, both for shade, as as you suggest, for self defense! I don’t recall having my eyes feel threatened, but maybe it’s because I had my camera in front of my face so much!

  7. I am so scared of cable cars…the thought of a glass bottomed one made my stomach do a flip-flop. I am also fairly frightened of ferris wheels, but not of rollercoasters…even the ones that go way up high and drop into a free fall.

    I think my favorite photo is the one of the city.

  8. Sorry about causing a stomach flip-flop, Kyla! The glass bottom was pretty freaky, even for a lover of heights such as myself.

    You know, I can’t remember the last time I went on a real rollercoaster. I went on a scaled down one at an amusement park geared towards younger kids, but it didn’t have any dramatic drops. I expect I would still enjoy them, as I tend to like speed and heights.

    I did just get to go on a ferris wheel this weekend. It wasn’t the height so much as the overall rustiness of the ride that gave me qualms…it was a ride from 1953!

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