HK- second half

Overslept yesterday morning. Oops! Probably for the best because by the time we made it over to Lantau Island it was a sweltering afternoon. We took a 25 minute cable car over the island’s rolling hills to Ngong Ping village, a Disneyland-like row of restaurants and souvenir shops- not to mention the International Cable Car Gallery, featuring ‘several cabins sourced from overseas to broaden visitors’ understanding of cable cars’.

Big Buddha seen from Po Lin monastery

Once we’d caught our breath after the walk up to Big Buddha, a 34m high statue drawing a large crowd, we wandered over to sit in the shade of Po Lin monastery. Very peaceful; incense was burnt outside the temple so it wasn’t overpowering inside. Only managed to spot one monk from far away – must try harder.

The bus from Ngong Ping across the island gave us great view of Lantau. It careered up and down jungle-clad hills and swerved along the glittering coast – unfortunately it was going too fast for us to make out the stop for the beach, so carried on all the way to the ferry port. Didn’t want to go anyway. And why step off an air-conditioned bus into the afternoon heat?!

The day before we went to Stanley, a beach town described by the guide book as ‘a crowd-pleaser’. Easy to see why when offered the culinary delights of Pizza Express, fish and chips, and burgers – with the option of snails for those Gallic tourists really missing their cuisine. A bit touristy for us. We spent a pleasant afternoon on the beach and walking around Ma Hang park, before heading back home to Kowloon to drink a £1 litre of beer in the bustling Temple Street night market.

We’re about to check out before flying to Hanoi this evening, very exciting! We’re both looking forward to being on the backpacker trail – so far we haven’t met many people our own age, the crowd seems to be mostly families, expat businesspeople and retired couples.  (The bus to Stanley summed it up pretty well – a lovely Australian couple who saved us the two front seats on the top deck for the views, and an Australian businessmen swearing loudly into his phone the whole way there). Although the jet lag’s made the city overwhelming at times, it’s been a great five nights here. Highlights include wandering around the history museum, eating delicious food for less than £3, seeing flamingos in Kowloon Park, enjoying the cheesiness of the Symphony of Lights and being asked by a waiter when eating our noodles, if we were tourists, how come we knew how to use chopsticks?

Next post from Hanoi!

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