So, you land in Hong Kong and you realise you’ve hit down in the middle of typhoon season and with only two nights to explore, what do you do? Don’t despair and carry on reading to find out what I got up to in the rain.
On a recent trip out to the Philippines I stopped off in Hong Kong, however it poured down with rain from the minute I landed to the minute I left! I had plans to visit the Big Buddha and the peak however the heavy storm forced the cable car to be suspended and all access routes to the peak to be closed.
On the same afternoon that we arrived, we headed over to Mong Kok to take in some of the local sights and sounds of Hong Kong.
Tip: Start at Goldfish Market followed by Ladies Market and finish with Mammy Pancake. Along the way you can also pop two blocks over where you will find Nathan Road which is filled with neon lights and shops a plenty.
North Tung Choi Street, open daily from 10am – 10pm (Some stalls start to close from 8pm)
The famous Goldfish Market is a street crammed with pet shops selling all kinds of fish, cats, dogs and reptiles. As a passionate scuba diver and animal lover it was hard for me to walk down this street and not run away screaming, however, I felt it was something that I had to go and see for myself.
For those that practise Feng shui it is believed that owning a goldfish will bring good luck in one’s home, hence why this market is lined with hundreds of pet goldfish. Sadly, amongst those fish you will also find tropical species, sting rays, frogs and crustaceans hung up in plastic bags, all readily available to purchase.
South Tung Choi Street, open daily 12pm – 11pm
Directions: After visiting the goldfish market keep walking straight down Tung Choi Street, cross over Mong Kok Road and South Tung Choi Street will be straight ahead where you will find the beginning of the Ladies Market.
If you heading directly to the Ladies Market, take the MTR Tsuen Wan LinetoMongkok station and use exit D2/D3, walk a few minutes along argyle street before reaching the Ladies Market on your right-hand side, South Tung Choi Street.
The Ladies Market is worth a quick visit to experience the hustle and bustle and pick up a few souvenirs. In recent years the market has become very geared towards tourists and you can expect to pick up anything from an “I love HK” t-shirt to adult toys, a misspelt designer replica such as "Dolce & Banana" and of course an endless array of novelty phone cases.
I recommend visiting in the evening as this is when it is at its liveliest, with an array of neon lights and pungent smells from nearby food stalls.
Eat at Mammy Pancake
On the corner of Kwong Wa & Dundas Street
After a stroll through the Ladies Market we finished off with a snack from Michelin star Mammy Pancake, a hole in wall food stall serving up to die for bubble waffle pancakes! Each little puff is filled with a delicious filling of your choice. Choose anything from banana choc chip, red bean pastes to pork and cheese! My only regret is that I didn’t go all out and order the ice cream waffle sandwich!! I was so stuffed with my “snack” that there was no room left for dinner on our first night.
Avenue of The Stars
Head over to Tsim Sha Tsui and take a walk along the Avenue of the Stars paying tribute to some of the biggest names in the Asian movie industry. Here you will find over one hundred handprints, cleverly positioned along the walk way encouraging you to place your hands in the same spot as your favourite celebrity whilst enjoying the captivating views of Victoria Harbour and the famous Hong Kong skyline. It was absolutely pouring down with rain but that did not stop me seeking out the prints of Jackie Chan and Jet Li.
Do not miss out on the pièce de résistance and make sure you walk all the way to the end of the avenue, just past Starbucks, there you will find the amazing Bruce Lee statute.
The Famous Light Show
Every night, since 2004 Hong Kong’s iconic skyline is transformed into a spectacle of colour by the world’s largest light show, The Symphony of Lights. Individual buildings bounce light and sound across the skyline to celebrate the energy, spirit and diversity of the city. The show starts at 8pm and only lasts 15mins, therefore you want to make sure you find your perfect viewing spot in good time to practise those camera settings. I always head to my favourite viewing point, along the waterfront at the Avenue of the Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Eat at Chilli Fagara
7 Old Bailey Street, Soho, Central
Hidden away on a side street in Central Hong Kong is Chilli Fagara, a small intimate restaurant serving up authentic fiery Sichuan dishes. The restaurant was recommended to us by several different people so it seemed silly to not head down and give it a try.
When we arrived, the restaurant was packed with diners ranging from business men and locals to ex-pats and tourists. The décor is clean and simple with lashings of red paint, leading way to the fiery hot dishes to come!
With so much to choose from we asked the manager to recommend for us, whom produced a sharing selection of their signature ginger beef, chilli dumplings and chilli prawns. As typical with Sichuan cuisine the dishes were crammed with huge red chilies creating an intense tongue tingling spice and heat. If you prefer sauce-based dishes avoid the chilli beef and prawns as these were both dry fried.
Drink at Sevva
25/F, Landmark Prince's, 10 Chater Rd, Central, Hong Kong
Located in central, this bar is a must visit! Delicious drinks, complimentary snacks, table service, live music and fantastic views out on the open-air terrace. You might be wondering why I visited a roof top bar in the rain, however the bar was well equipped with large awnings and umbrellas. This is the bar to see and be seen in!
Party at Lang Kwai Fong
If you really want let your hair down, head over to notorious Lan Kwai Fong where the party never seems to end! The streets are filled with party goers spilling out from the numerous bars which offer something for everyone, from live bands to hip hop to boutique bars where you have to keep voices to a minimum!! It’s loud, it’s crazy and little bit grubby but it’s a must see if at least only once!
After my short stop over in Hong Kong I headed to Anilao, Philippines for a macro divers dream holiday! Blog post coming soon!