4 Weekend Adventures in Hong Kong
After settling into Hong Kong, Jude Holmes grabbed her guidebook and dragged her new pals away from brunch to "make some memories"; here's what she got up to in her first month!
1. Ten Thousand Buddha's Monastery
This place goes above the call of duty with over 12,800 Buddha’s – and that’s just in the main temple. Located a short walk from Sha Tin MTR station, the pilgrimage begins with a walk up a hill where life-sized gold Buddhas guide your way to the top. The first level contains the main temple and most of the statues are in this area but make sure you climb to the second level – there’s a truly spectacular white statue in a waterfall with turtles in a pool underneath!
- PLEASE bring bug spray.
- Check out the view – a good excuse for a “breather” halfway up the steps.
- The gift shop has no postcards but lots of amulets and Buddha statues. It is bad luck to buy yourself a Buddha so gifts only!
2. Tian Tan Buddha (Big Buddha)
The largest seated Buddha in the world, located on Lantau Island, is only a gondola/bus ride away from the end of the orange MTR line. The Tian Tan Buddha is seated on a lotus looking down on the Po Lin Monastery, where monks serve fab vegetarian food. Walk through the museum under the Buddha - wandering around the temple is also worthwhile.
- Plan for food; the restaurant only serves until 4:30 pm but there’s (predictably) a 7/11 if you’re hungry
- Angle your camera close to the ground looking up to get a full body (you and Buddha) shot – kudos to Angelina for discovering this!
- The bus is cheaper than the gondola (save your pennies for the food)
3. Hiking along the Dragon's Back Trail
For this one, we tagged along on the Chatteris Hike. We met other CNETs (Chatteris Native English Tutors) at the No. 9 bus at Shau Kei Wan MTR (A3) which took us to the start of the route. The route itself is quite hard to start, with a lot of stairs needing to be climbed before it levels out and snakes along the top of the hills (back of the Dragon), before a descent to the beach in Shek-O. The views along the way are fantastic and, with the hardest part being the beginning steps up, it’s suitable for all fitness levels taking 3 hours (4 including transport). This is one of Hong Kong’s most famous and stunning hikes, just leave it til mid-late October for the weather to cool down a little bit.
- Bring sun cream, lots of water and a hat; yes I sound like your mum, but you will need it as there is very little shade along the route
- Don’t bring chocolate...it will melt
- Bring swimming stuff and a towel, unless you go the weekend after the worst typhoon in HK on record - then the beach will be closed
4. The Hong Kong History Museum
Located in the cultural hub of Tsim Sha Tsui (TST); the Hong Kong History museum reports on seven stages of the occupation of Hong Kong. The displays invite you to walk into mock-ups of traditional housing and down streets of parades, including larger-than-life effigies and bun towers. Mini-theatres offer 5-15 minute presentations about different slices of history, including the two Opium Wars.
- It’s really big so give yourself a full afternoon to do it justice
- TST is a hub for food, drink and culture, so stay for a drink or a walk in the park afterwards
- The gift shop has lots of postcards and also sells stamps (mum’s gonna love you)