Arriving in Hong Kong I was instantly surprised by the mountainous landscape that confronted me, the airport is set apart from the main city and so you get a feel for the landscape that the city was originally built on. There are actually 261 islands in Hong Kong, not just the famous Hong Kong island, where several worldwide company headquarters are based. Hong Kong also has the most skyscrapers of any city in the world, boasting over twice that of New York city. It also has the most expensive real estate of any city in the world.
Our hostel was in Tsim Sha Tsui, a district in Kowloon, on the mainland. This area had its fair share of skyscrapers too (including our hostel which the photo above is from), but also had a night market and felt like an inner city Chinatown with all of the oriental food and laterns dotted around but with a huge amount of fast-food chains and 7-Elevens around every corner.
On our first day we went exploring around Kowloon including the old police headquarters, a beautiful building with a mass a flower arrangements decorating it, the peninsular hotel a large flamboyant hotel with a high tea service every afternoon. We also visited Kowloon park a compact park that made great use of the space it had with a leisure centre, maze, ponds and even an several aviaries!
The second day in Hong Kong we decided to go to the Ocean Park theme park/aquarium with good roller coasters, a dolphin show, a few aquariams and stunning surrounding scenery that we took a gonadala across near the end. The trip was well worth it and a good day out.
Another day trip out we went to see the Tian Tan Buddha, the largest bronze statue in the world, set against an ancient monastery in the mountains. To get there we took a ferry from Hong Kong island going through a lot of the islands in Hong Kong and a bus up a mountain to see it. The Buddha was gargantuan and begged the question of how on Earth the Buddhist monks managed to create such a giant statue and then move it to the top of a Mountain. The area that the Buddha was in was incredibly beautiful with fantastic views which made me yearn to explore more of China's mountainous rural areas if they were anything in comparison.
The next day we explored Hong Kong island itself which was mainly a business district with plenty of shopping malls but did have a traditional Buddhist temple and blended East and West in both architecture and food available. There were several interesting buildings and parks on the island which made for a decent day of sight-seeing. The fireworks display for Chinese new year were not a disappointment and lasted nearly 25 minutes with all kinds of shapes and colours being presented all the time to keep the next stage more interesting than the last. On the same night we walked to where the Union Square project happened in West Kowloon and went up the 118 storey International Commerce Centre, 7th tallest building in the world to the OZONE bar, the highest bar in the world.
On our last day we went to a Michelin starred restaurant and had a delicious 3 courses each as well as traditional Chinese tea for the overall cost each of about £13 which can surely be found nowhere else than Hong Kong.
My one regret from a near perfect trip was that we didn't stay longer to have a day trip to Macua or explore the city more!