Thursday, 4 June 2015

Jake on the wonders of Hong Kong

The inimitable Jake Van der Kamp In the South China Morning Post this morning ($)

.... glorious walk around the Peak and the Peak tram ride up and down?
There is a point up there where the vista suddenly opens. Every visitor I have taken there has had that same jaw-dropping reaction to the sight of the busy city below.
What about the Ngong Ping 360 cable car ride up the hill to the Po Lin Monastery and the Big Buddha with a temple vegetarian lunch to follow? It's grand. [I add: a walk along the trail to a forest of wooden spires]
What about the ferry ride to Cheung Chau and an amble around the winding village streets where there are no cars. The bun towers at the Pak Tai Temple may be down but the temple itself is worth a visit. A bar overlooking the bay on the other side is where Lee Lai-san once helped her uncle serve us beer before she won a windsurfing gold at the 1996 Olympics.
In town, what about the Hong Kong history museum? I shall grant you that this museum's counterpart in Macau is easily a match for it, but that's only a reason to take a side trip to Macau on a visit to Hong Kong. Check for the occasional displays. They can be very good.
What about some of the offbeat museums like the Coastal Defence at Lye Mun Gap - which is a place from another world - or the Police Museum (how to cook heroin) and the Prison Museum (what your well-dressed rioter wears)?
What about the Wetland Park, the Botanical Gardens, the street markets, all the temples, seafood gluttony at Sok Kwu Wan or Po Toi with a scenic boat ride back to town on the chug-chug ferry?
Most of all, what about our magnificent country parks with hundreds of kilometres of superb hill walking and catchwater trails that wind you in and out of the hills under the shade of the acacias? They're nothing less than magic on a clear winter day...."
I would add: just walking round some of the clutter-mad streets in Kowloon or Western; a meal at the seaside in Stanley; a walk from Middle Island to Repulse bay; lunch at the Repulse Bay Hotel; Uber it to Shek O and dinner on the beach there; Big Wave Bay for a surf (yes, surf!).  A walk along the McLehose Trail, past the "other" Big Wave Bay in NE Hong Kong; an evening Junk trip in the harbour....