Hong Kong: A city unlike any other, part 1

Since we were already in Hong Kong for the temple, we took advantage and saw some of the sights. Unfortunately, most pictures from HK were on the memory card that died on me. Thankfully, I did take a couple of extra pictures of the temple after I finished that card.

Hong Kong is amazing! The waterfront especially is a spectacular sight at night when all of the buildings are lit up. Our first night we walked along the waterfront and rode the Star Ferry across to Hong Kong Island. From there we made our way to the Peak Tram.

The Peak Tram

The Peak Tram is a funicular railroad that has been in HK since 1888, Asia’s first. If you’re wondering what a funicular railroad is, it’s a type of train that goes up and down very steep hills using a counterweight system like an elevator and each of the two cars is the counterweight for the other. Before the tram was put in, the only way up was to walk or be carried up in a sedan chair.

The trip is only about five minutes long but it’s pretty much like a roller coaster from the old days, so it’s completely worth it. At some points the tram is at more than a 45 degree angle and sometimes it’s going very fast.

The tram takes you up to the Victoria Gap, just below Victoria Peak. The tram company has opened a huge development at the upper terminus with a mall and several restaurants, a Madame Tussauds’ wax museum, and a great observation deck overlooking the whole city. These pics were destroyed too so just imagine looking out over Hong Kong from up in the mountains at night with all of the buildings lit up and reflecting in the water. It’s hard to imagine without having been there and without pictures.

A Giant Buddha

The next day after our temple service, we journeyed to one of the other islands that make up Hong Kong, Lantau Island. This island is home to the Hong Kong Disneyland, where we didn’t go, and one of the biggest Buddha statues in the world, where we did go.

Where ever we went in Hong Kong, except the temple, there were hoards of people. When we waited for the tram we waited in a ridiculous line for more than an hour. Then when we went to Lantau Island we waited for nearly two hours to ride the cable car operated by Ngong Ping 360 up to the Po Lin Monastery and the Tian Tan Buddha. The wait was worth it.

The cable care isn’t just a short trip up the side of a hill or mountain, but it’s about 15 minutes taking you several kilometers up and over peaks to the backside of the island. If you do this, do it during the day so you can see everything around you; this part of HK isn’t covered in buildings that light up at night.

After going over a few peaks in the cable car the Buddha comes into view in the distance sitting atop a little hill. The statue isn’t that old. In fact it’s less than 20 years old, but it is still a magnificent sight. It is more than 110 feet tall and one of the five biggest in China. At the base of the hill where the Buddha sits is the Po Lin Monastery. Once again a very colorful and beautiful set of buildings with intricately carved Buddhist effigies and lots of incense burning all around giving a sweet smell to the air.

Most of my pics of this awesome sight were ruined on my corrupted card, but I did get a few more pics from a distance before heading down. At the base of the gondola was again another mall, you can’t go anywhere in Hong Kong without finding a mall, where we ate at Subway. Yes, American fast food in Hong Kong. What were we thinking? Unlike in Hefei where it is the more expensive option, in HK the American fast food joints are actually the less expensive options.

That’s one thing anybody going to Hong Kong needs to know. This city eats up your money if you let it. Prices are not low for food and things can add up quick.

to be continued …

One response to “Hong Kong: A city unlike any other, part 1

  1. Pingback: Hong Kong, again – I love this city! «·

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