Upon making plans to leave Hong Kong, I knew there were a few things I’d like to do before departing.
One was visit the Peak again to get night shots of the city, and another was to ride the Star Ferry once more. Otherwise, I just wanted to spend time on the Island, enjoying the various historical and artistic visions of Hong Kong. Between recovering from a busy final week at work and trying to get my shipment ready for the U.S., I needed some downtime and spa time. And a lot of foot massages.
In that week after finishing the school year and sending out my shipment, I stayed in an AirBNB in the Central district, up in the Midlevels. The easiest way to get there, besides winding up some steep roads from the harbour, is to use the Midlevels Escalator, the world’s largest outdoor escalator. When it’s raining, this is a great and free way to travel upwards, as it’s covered as well.
Some of that final time in Hong Kong was recovering from a hellish week of packing, moving and selling furniture. The best part of it was hanging out every night with different people in an effort to say good-bye gracefully without too many tears. However, I just wanted to sit mindlessly on the sofa and watch Netflix, as I’d barely sat down that last week, so it took some considerable prompting to get me outside.
However, Hong Kong is a city that’s difficult to sit still in. Before long, I was out and exploring the city once more – and, possibly for the last time.
I went up to the Peak once more to take pictures at sunset and sundown, but a heavy rain off the mountains didn’t allow for much of a sunset. To avoid the queues at the Peak Tram – unless you haven’t done it before, then definitely take the Peak Tram up for atmosphere and insanely good engineering – take bus #15 from Exchange Square in Central (Exit A). It’s a pretty interesting way to see the city (it passes through Wan Chai) and then, if you sit on the upper deck, the views of the city are pretty spectacular as you climb the treacherous-feeling mountain roads to the Peak.
The Star Ferry was a cap to the week as well. I hadn’t taken the Star Ferry since my first trip to Hong Kong, just before I moved there. It was a beautiful evening after a few intense rainstorms earlier in the day. It was as Millay said, “We were very tired, we were very merry; we had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.” I couldn’t go back and forth all night due to a food delivery coming in from Yum Cha, but at least I could take one more trip across the harbour.
The Hong Kong Botanical and Zoological Gardens are a pleasant gem in the city. Located up on Caine Road, the upper Midlevels, it is a relic of British colonial history as well. Throughout the park, but especially in the Pavilion, are historical photographs through the decades. It was one of the free public spaces in the city where people could go and walk in the gardens. Today, there are meerkats, monkeys, chimpanzees, orangutans, and lemurs rummaging about, along with an aviary to wander through (in addition to the Edward Youde Aviary in Hong Kong Park). If anything, the fountain views and city views are well worth an hour or so of wandering about.
More wandering around took me to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, a white wedding cake of a building surrounded by tall, nondescript skyscrapers. It’s a stunning cathedral inside, a slice of Italy in the middle of Hong Kong’s busy and business-oriented Midlevels. Another little spot was the interesting Chancery Lane, which runs along the prison wall of the old Victoria Prison. At night, the eerie glow of the yellow lights on the stairs makes it look more like a scary film.
I took several photography classes through Hong Kong Photography Workshop in Central whilst living there, and the last workshop I took was night photography – highly recommended! I learned some great night photography tricks to use in cities. I posted a few below – really, if you’re a beginning photographer or just want new tricks, check out Hong Kong Photography Workshop. They’re great people!
This week, I visited Statue Square, a great spot in Central, to take on the trams, buses, and taxis with my tripod. I managed to get a few shots in but it was very people-heavy due to it being Dragonboat Festival. I ended getting asked by a lot of nearly drunk foreigners where the local bars were because … World Cup.
Add in to the mix needing to visit the tax revenue building to get my taxes sorted and hanging out in Wan Chai for dinner and drinks … and it was pretty crazy week. I doused up on dumplings and dim sum and finally ate at a Gordon Ramsey restaurant, Bread Street. Hong Kong has some of the best variety of food you’ll see anywhere. It’s hard to decide what to eat – but may as well try as much as you can!
It was difficult to say good-bye to Hong Kong. I had made some great friends there, and Hong Kong really is a city that has it all. Nature, city, hiking, drinking, great food, culture, history … everything.
Now, on to the next adventure …