If you’re not quite up to speed on Hong Kong’s history, Kowloon Walled City was an extremely densely populated section of Kowloon that housed an interesting mix of residents. Prostitution, gambling, and drug use were very common in this area. The Walled City was predominately ungoverned by HK, instead it was controlled by the Triads for the last few decades before the HK government decided to begin evicting all residents in order to demolish the city.
As summer is upon us in Hong Kong (as I’m sure we can all painfully feel the second we step outside and into a brick wall of humidity), the majority of my coworkers are heading back to Canada, where the weather will be much more forgiving and enjoyable. In lieu of this, we decided to enjoy a nice Sunday afternoon tea at the W Hotel.
This is a great hike if you live east on the island or Kowloon, as it is one stop across the harbour from Quarry Bay on the purple line. It’s also ideal if you’re looking for a quick hike; you want to get up a mountain, get some exercise in, see some great views of both the island and Kowloon skyline, and then get out. I mean, your schedule is booked solid from now until your last days in this city that never sleeps, so you need to squeeze in as much as possible every single waking moment of your time here. Am I right, or what?
I have been wanting to do this hike for quite some time, but was waiting for a clear day to appreciate the views a bit more. Since clear days come few and far between in Hong Kong, we decided to just try our luck one morning when we didn’t have much planned for the day. At the top of Lion Rock, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking, panoramic views of Kowloon and the Hong Kong Island harbourfront (if the smog isn’t in full force that day).
You just can’t leave Gili T without having seen the sunset and enjoyed some hearty, local grub at the night market.
The majority of accommodations and activities are found on the eastern part of the island. For those of you who remember your grade 6 social studies lessons, you’ll know that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. If you’re keen to wake up at an ungodly hour in the morning (which isn’t hard since the morning prayers are blared on loudspeakers at 4am each day) you can catch the sunrise just minutes from your place if you’re by the beach.
Hiking in Hong Kong is much more enjoyable when the humidity isn’t slowly suffocating you with each step you take. Thanks to the cooler weather, hiking has become bearable. Looking for something to do on the weekend? Why not get up early, (fingers crossed the sun is out and the smog is not as apparent), hike up a mountain, and appreciate the breathtaking views of the city.
I went about hiking from Quarry Bay to Stanley on two separate occasions. The first time I began my hike up Mount Parker, I was confident I knew how to get to Parkview (you need to exit the path and walk across a road to begin the next stage of the hike towards Stanley). I made my way up Mount Parker at a steady pace and ended up entering a pathway on the side of Mount Parker Road, which I thought would lead me to the top of Mount Parker quicker. Though this wasn’t exactly the case, I did come across some hidden gems.
I have been wanting to see the Flag Raising Ceremony at The Golden Bauhinia Square for quite some time, but with an early 7:45 am start, I found it difficult to crawl out of bed and head over to Wan Chai. However, everything seemed to align this past Sunday morning as I had an early night on Saturday and vowed to haul myself out of bed (which is becoming increasingly difficult to do with this cold weather) to watch the “enhanced” ceremony.
To give a bit of a history lesson before I continue, The Golden Bauhinia Square memorializes the handover of Hong Kong from the British to China and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on July 1, 1997. In celebration, the Chinese government sent a statue of a gilded Bauhinia flower, also known as the Hong Kong Orchid Tree. Though the sculpture may not be the most attractive thing to look at on the harbor front, it does hold significance. The statue was created with 206 overlapping stone tablets, wherein each tablet symbolizes one year from 1842 to 2047 (when HK will no longer be considered a “Special Administrative Region”). I won’t go into too much boring detail, so if you’re aching for more information on the symbolism behind the golden statue, click here.
For those who aren’t familiar with Times Square in Causeway Bay, there have massive themed displays that are put on every few months that can be quite impressive. This area becomes a hub for locals and tourists alike to gather around and take photographs of themselves with every single thing on display.
As I was walking around Causeway Bay today, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the larger-than-life Christmas decorations scattered about. Upon closer inspection, I found myself a bit confused at some of them (what appears to be a child’s head in a turkey and a bizarre pig-type lumberjack with a branch as one of his hands). But, then again, it’s Hong Kong – most things here make me scratch my head and do a double-take.