Do you know what ‘off peaking’ is? It is a concept of doing things (from shopping, meeting friends, travelling to going to the gym) at a time that is not the most popular. All websites will advise you to visit Big Buddha in the morning to avoid queues; everybody seems to have the same idea and mid morning and lunch time are the busiest times! Take a tube to Lantanau Island early afternoon and skip the queue to a cable car ride. Highly recommended!
It boasts to be the best cable car experience in the world (and since I have never been to Rio), I have to believe it. The views are spectacular! They journey takes about 20 minutes so it is long enough to take in the beauty of the place and snap that perfect selfie (or two!). A short walk through the cafes, restaurants and souvenir shops, several cows grazing and resting in the sun, and you arrive at the bottom of precisely 256 steps (you can skip the gym- honestly) that will lead you to the enormous bronze statue of Buddha. Remember- balance is the key to life. There are a couple of temples- colourful, fragrant with incandescent candles. People pray, lay gifts, wander round. It is a spiritual place but at the same time highly commercialised and busy with tourists. Do you think Buddha would drink Starbucks at the price as high as your regular latte? It’s back to the cable car and astonishing views!
Taking a ferry in Hong Kong is a must! Mix in the crowd of commuters and tourists. The crossing is quick, cheap yet unforgettable. It is very peaceful. Warm breeze, waves bashing against the boat. It is over in a jiffy but worth getting on board. Victoria Harbour offers mesmerising views, especially at night. Of course it is a compulsory spot to visit while in Hong Kong. I honestly have to say that though I did enjoy this part of Hong Kong- stunning shopping malls, great cafes and restaurants, vintage shops and markets, steep streets, funky and groovy (and very intagrammable) graffiti but still it could have been any other western megacity. I was so much more in awe with the hustle and bustle of Kowloon. Maybe because it was so different. So unexpected.
At times Hong Kong can be overwhelming- it feels like the concrete and high rise buildings are engulfing the city. There are places and sports where the concrete jungle meets the real jungle. Parks and green oasis are dotted around the city but the greatest of them all is Victoria Peak. The best way to get there is by a tram that trundles up the steep hill. You can buy a combo ticket- funicular, Madame Thussaud (I was a bit ashamed as I did not know many Chinese stars! Ooops!) and the access to the deck.
The area offers great hiking routs- even if you do not have time, walk for half a mile- you will not be disappointed with the views. Going back to the city means queuing to get on the train or…walking down following a winding path. You can walk at leisurely pace and yes, I am going to say it once more- the views are amazing. Plus, it is a great exercise so skipping another work out at the gym is justified!
Spending a week in Hong Kong is probably not enough to explore the city- you can just tread the water, touch the surface of this captivating place. Hopefully I will be back soon to take a dive and find out more about that slice of the world!