"Sometimes I think that we are drawn to places based on things in our past life. That might explain why arriving somewhere you have never been before can feel so nostalgic. You drive over the highway, look out onto the lights and you just feeling something. You can't place what it is but in the back of your mind, you feel as though you are returning. You've been here before and it's good to be back." - February 6th, 2017.
For those wondering where we stayed, it was Hotel Icon. We scored a fab deal on this place and felt lucky that we were able to experience it. Both of us would return in a heartbeat. It was situated in Kowloon which is great to explore, but also super close to the metro which will get you over to Hong Kong island faster than I can get from my own house into Adelaide CBD. And if you can withstand that first day of utter embarrassment when you hold up the metro line because you don't know how the card works, then it's all dandy.
Every morning began at what had to be the most beautiful buffet I have ever laid my hungry eyes and empty stomach on. Only aggravated by the fact that most mornings I went for a run at the rooftop gym. So I could really give this buffet the appetite it deserved, of course. From fresh baked croissants, to cold pressed juices, to an organic egg station, curries, soups, dumplings & bircher muesli. Also custard buns. I miss it so bad. So, so bad. Custard buns!
We found Hong Kong to be incredibly progressive, following the current Western trend of "healthier food" and a greater emphasis on plant based food. We were continuously surprised by the sheer amount of smoothie bars dotted around the city, but the true gem was Mana! which we found by chance on our first day. This beautiful place serves incredible wrapped up flat breads, that can be stuffed with pretty much any vegetarian ingredient your little hungry heart desires. I went for tofu + hummus + greens + roasted veg more than a few times. Mana also serves up vegetarian burgers, smoothies, juices and healthier desserts. If you're in need of a dumpling break, or suffer from allergies, Mana is a good place to check out.
On our last night we trekked across to Hong Kong island for highly rated prawn won ton soup. We shared a table with some locals and devoured the most beautiful (and dirt cheap) won ton soup. Also, how strange and great is the experience of eating dinner across from someone you can't communicate with through words. You both just stare at each other, and your noodles and know you're both having a bloody good time. The beauty of this place was not only the freshness but also the quality of those bad boys. Each won ton was packed full of fresh prawns and I swear to god, maybe I'd go back just to eat that again.
While walking around one day, I spotted a couple of cute kids huddled on the street corner, clutching these bright yellow tarts. I had no idea what they were but knew I had to eat one. And I wasn't going anywhere else until we did. We followed the trail of yellow tarts in people's hands, and blue containers to Tai Cheong Bakery. After a quick google session post consumption we realised this place was incredibly famous for what we know knew were "egg tarts." Hot damn. I liked them more than Arky but then again, I'm the one who is not supposed to eat gluten so I think everything pastry related is just brilliant.
The two photographs below quickly became one of our favourite memories. After a day of walking 20+km, Arky and I wanted to stuff our faces with dumplings and rice (naturally). Arky found this great dim sum place and we sat down with our little order sheet and went crazy. Everything sounded good, and we wanted to try as much as possible. As soon as we handed in our form, and they joined a second table to ours, we knew we had screwed it up. I've never been so embarrassed. When our server put down the 8th plate of rice, I almost screamed. Instead we got to work, hiding our food and dispersing it into the various containers to appear as though we had eaten it. Still sorry.
The highlight of the week was the dragon back walk. No doubt about it. The walk takes you along the top of a mountain which looks over Hong Kong's pretty coast line. It's actually pretty hard to believe that you can be among the thick of the city just twenty minutes away. At the end of the trail is big wave bay, where the water is blue and there's hardly anyone around. It's all very peaceful and beautiful and you get very sick of hearing yourself saying "this is so beautiful."
We also enjoyed checking out various temples and parks here and there, stopping when we felt drawn to check out somewhere a little further.
Big buddha is quite a sight but I wouldn't hurry back like I would to dragon back. It's gorgeous and something to marvel at but very touristy. There's no ATM up there but there's a Starbucks. That kind of toursity. And on that note, you actually need cash to catch the bus back down, and we had run out, assuming we would be able to use our cards. Nope. Don't make our mistake. While walking around figuring out what to do, I envisioned us busking and I wanted to laugh and bawl simultaneously.
Loved, loved, loved Victoria Peak because I'm a total sucker for beautiful views. Make sure you sit on the right side of the cable car on the way up to get the best views. You've been told!
And if you're still scrolling, and reading, thank you. Hopefully you enjoyed yourself, and now have a craving for dumplings too.
Once wedding season winds down a little, I'll be opening a side store to sell these photographs as prints for your walls, desk, bedroom etc. Because I love them so.