I took my first solo trip to Hong Kong this past weekend. I loved Hong Kong, and travelling alone was surprisingly fun!
The first thing I did in HK was what anyone with a right mind would do when they first arrived: eat dim sum. I found a dim sum restaurant called Federal Palace at a mall near the airport. I was impressed by the fancy decor and expected the food to have high prices; I was pleasantly proven wrong when the bill came out to 8 USD!
When I sat down, they gave me a big black bowl and a kettle (which I assume had water). I read something online before that you are supposed to clean your dishes in it before you start your meal. I had no idea how exactly I was supposed to do this. Since I didn’t want to embarrass myself, I just left it, and they just took the bowl away after seeing that I was a dim sum noob.
I spent the rest of the day exploring Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok. It didn’t take long for me to realize why Hong Kong is called “shopper’s paradise”.
I had originally signed up for a ziplining tour for this day, but it got cancelled due to rain. So instead, I used this rainy day to do a lot more walking around, shopping, and eating! I also checked out the Hong Kong Science Museum in Tsim Sha Tsui, which was actually really fun and educational.
For lunch, I found a noodle shop and a dessert place right beside each other.
Both of these places seemed to be quite popular. There was a huge line in front of the second restaurant, but the line moved really fast. I was really impressed by the efficiency of the service (though it would not be considered good service). What I thought was the most interesting, is that they filled up every seat in the restaurant, even if it meant multiple parties sitting together at one table. I was by myself, so I sat at a small table with some other random family of three. I’d never experienced these communal tables before, so it was a fun experience!
After lunch, I spent most of the day checking out the Central area.
I took a day away from travelling solo by meeting up with a friend, also studying abroad in HK. We went to Tim Ho Wan for dim sum, which is known as “the cheapest michelin star restaurant in the world”. It was cheap indeed – I was so stuffed after a delicious brunch costing 11 USD.
After dim sum, we checked out Sha Tin Racecourse. Unfortunately (or fortunately), we had no idea how to bet. The racecourse was just filled with old men carefully concentrated on their newspaper (which I assume had all the stats of the horses and races). There was one race every half hour, and it was amusing to watch the old men get so excited and/or angry after each race! The races themselves were quite entertaining as well; we even got to see a wipe-out!
There were eleven races in total that day, but we only watched four or five. I ended the day with some more shopping. (:
I woke up early to check out Victoria Peak. I took the tram up, and got to the top at 8am. There weren’t many people at the peak at this time, so it was really peaceful and refreshing. The only downside of going early was that there were many shops and restaurants at the peak that were closed. I guess it was nice to not have the temptation to spend more money!
I did the Peak Circle Walk, which took me 45 minutes with my slow, strolling pace.
The last thing I did before I flew out of Hong Kong was to check out Ngong Ping. I was half-considering skipping this activity, since I only had 3-4 hours before I had to head to the airport for my flight; but I’m really glad I did it! The cable car takes you up to Ngong Ping Village on Lantau Island. I initially thought the cable car was very overpriced; however, the ride was incredible! The ride took a whole 25 minutes, and the views from the ride were amazing.
At the top, the main attraction is Big Buddha. I was initially worried that I wouldn’t have time to walk to the top since I had to catch my flight; however, it actually only took me around 20 minutes from alighting the cable car, to reaching the top to Big Buddha.
I ended up spending less than an hour at Ngong Ping Village. If I had a whole day, I would have explored other parts of Lantau Island. But I made the best out of the couple hours of free time I had before I headed out to the airport to catch my flight back to Singapore!