Wednesday, 11 May 2016


The day we arrived in Hong Kong was a little overcast, but we were very excited to be in this wonderful city with its colonial mix of English and Chinese cultures.  It was particularly poignant for Anne C whose father served in the Royal Air Force, and who had always wanted to be posted to Hong Kong.  He never made it there, so Anne was pleased to be able to set foot there.

However, our arrival day turned out to be the best weather we had during the whole visit, because the rest of our stay was freezing cold and foggy, so unfortunately we never did get the cable car up to the top of the island to see the wonderful views we had heard so much about.

We stayed at the InterContinental Hotel Grand Stanford, and while the room was beautifully decorated and comfortable, unfortunately the view was not so good! We did ask for a room with a better view, however, the cost was ridiculously high and since we were there to sight-see rather than gaze out of the window, we stayed where we were!

We visited in mid-March and the weather was chilly to say the least, for which we had not really prepared.  However there was plenty to see – lots of shops and places to eat.  The hotel gave us cards printed in Chinese in case our taxi or transport was ever in an accident – great if you can’t speak the language, and it also meant the driver was traceable in case they were at fault. 

We took the Star ferry across Victoria Bay from Kowloon onto Hong Kong Island to go shopping – where there is a complete mix of designer stores, recognisable high street brands such as Marks and Spencer, and local Chinese shops.  The sizes in the shops were disappointing however, and geared towards the local population rather than tourists – most dresses were  either a size 6 or 8 – definitely not for us! We also visited our bank – HSBC – obviously headquarted here since it is the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation – which is an impressive structure towering above the street, designed by the renowned architect Norman Foster. 

Prices are relatively high – perhaps due to the increased wealth of the Chinese and their desire for more expensive Western goods. In fact we discovered some brands were much cheaper back in the UK. The highlight of our stay was afternoon tea at the Peninsular Hotel – a throwback to the old colonial days of high tea in the splendour of rich surroundings of this traditional hotel. 

While the tea was delicious, the queue to eat was long and we waited for more than an hour, all the while standing alongside showcases of beautiful jewellery and watches! The staff, however, didn’t seem to be in too much of a hurry to clear tables and seat waiting customers.  However, the tea itself didn’t disappoint – and there was a wonderful selection of teas from which to choose, as you would expect! 

The whole of Hong Kong area consists of Hong Kong Island the Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories, and more than 200 offshore islands, of which the largest is Lantau Island. but our visit was relatively short, so we merely scratched the surface, which was a real shame, but probably a good reason to return some day if we can.

The buildings are an eclectic mix of those old colonial style buildings, modern skyscrapers and back streets – all teeming with busy people rushing around.  The pace seems frenetic and the traffic never ceased.


We visited the Ladies Market – a colourful explosion of higgledy-piggledy stalls selling fake designer goods, craft work, luggage, T shirts, fabric, clothing and toys – to name just a few.  Then there’s the Temple Street Night Market, a  bizarre bazaar selling fake watches, trinkets, electrical goods, jade and antiques.  But you might find yourself wandering into an opera or theatre production, or stumbling into one of the many food stalls selling everything from fish balls to noodles and stir fries no some kind of fried insect which bears no resemblance to anything.

As these are local markets, English is not necessarily spoken, but many stalls have photographs if you are a little particular about what you eat. Also we were warned not to eat any food which was luke warm – ensure it’s piping hot – and another tip is to go to a stall/restaurant where there are plenty of other people – the locals are usually good at knowing the best places to eat. Food in the malls was reasonably priced though, so lunch cost what you would pay at home.  However, I don't think Starbucks had quite got the genders correct!

The menu in our hotel was extensive –  with a huge choice for breakfast and dinner – with the opportunity to mix and match different foods (rather like a banquet tapas!!) which was cooked right in front of you.There was also a huge buffet and cost something like £50 for an ordinary two course meal – without wine.  However, after dinner there were cocktails and a small comfortable lounge with a pianist so it wasn’t too painful.



  1. Hi Heather - yes typical Hong Kong! Daytime city shots and designer shops could be anywhere!

  2. Great photos! Looks like fun :)

  3. Hi Julia - we can honestly say it was pretty much the best holiday ever!


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