Hong Kong with Big Bus – day 1

My 48 hours started on Friday morning at the Central Pier. I took the Red Route first, which took us all over Hong Kong Island. As I just wanted to get an impression of everything, I didn’t actually hop off the bus, just stayed on it for the whole round.

Starting in Central around all the skyscrapers which are landmarks of the skyline, we got a lot of information about architects and ideas behind the buildings. The Lippo building is said to resemble koalas hugging trees – judge for yourselves 😉 – whereas the Army headquarters are called the “Upside down gin bottle”and the HSBC headquarters by Norman Foster go by “The Robot” (the purple-blueish building). See the resemblance? 😉

Lippo building      Gin bottle

The Robot

Hong Kong is all about shopping, so a lot of the tour explained about how there’s no sales tax here and where people go for their shopping. It is a paradise for shopping, no doubt, but I had no time, no money and most importantly, no space 😉 Might have to come back, the Apple store seemed quite popular and I’m sure camera equipment will be cheaper here…

Hong Kong Apple Store

After the Red Route I decided to change to the Green one and get out of the city to Repulse Bay, Stanley and Aberdeen. Green because we saw much more green now? At least it was the only tour that came with a warning for upper-deck passengers to be aware of branches hitting… Through the tunnel to Aberdeen, past the Ocean Park and the police academy (I was waiting to see Jackie Chan 😉 ), then over the hills to Repulse Bay. A very nice beach resort with very expensive-looking buildings 😉

Repulse Bay

Then on towards Stanley which sounded exciting as a seaside town. However, the bus stop was up on the hill outside a big – yes, you guessed it – shopping mall and I didn’t see anything that would have attracted me to get off the bus. 😦 So we went back the same way to Aberdeen and into the harbour there for our Sampan ride.

Sampans are small boats that have been used for generations as living quarters for the people in Aberdeen harbour. It was a lot of fun sitting in it and seeing the traditional boats on the one side and the expensive yachts on the other 🙂 All of that with the big new skyscrapers as a backdrop – Hong Kong in a nutshell!

Aberdeen

After that we headed back to the city on a different route and I found myself a nice little restaurant in Central. It was vegetarian, vegan and raw food, so nothing I’d usually go for – but oh my, was it delicious! Ordered the Mediterranean stew and then got to taste the chili con corn and the raw rice pudding. Yummy!!!! Check the Maya cafe if you’re looking for something special 🙂

When I realised that my camera battery was probably not going to last the planned Night Tour, it was home for a little more than an hour to charge it and get a shower and then off again to the Central Pier for the 3rd time that day 😉 The Night Tour started off in heavy rain and we all got a rain poncho, courtesy of Big Bus. Due to the weather, I decided to stay downstairs in the bus and not on the open upper deck 😉 We headed to Kowloon through the tunnel and were shown around the – yes, of course! – shopping areas and different markets there. The tour was supposed to end at the Avenue of Stars to give us the opportunity to watch the Symphony of Lights. Supposed because at the stop before, everybody seemed to get off the bus and the bus driver with his rather limited English confirmed that this was “last stop”.

Together with a Kiwi couple, I got off the bus and we tried to find our way to the Star Ferry terminal to catch the boat back. When I told them I was going to New Zealand next, it took about 5 minutes for them to provide me with their address and phone number, “give us a call if you’re in the area”. That was unexpected, but so nice 😀 We tried to see the light show from the side of the terminal, but pretty soon realised that the ferry terminal was kind of in the way… they left, I stayed a little longer for at least some night pictures from this side, thinking I would just try again the next day.

 

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