Gong Hey Fat Choy

Sunday, 17 May 2015
Like many people these days, I have a bucket list of things I would like to do within my lifetime. Most involve seeing the world. Chinese New Year in China was one. I know that Hong Kong isn’t Mainland China but Chinese New Year in Hong Kong is still pretty freaking awesome. 

Year of the Goat/Sheep/Ram
Depending on who you asked, this year is either the year of the goat, the sheep, or the ram. Some places would even go as far as to say 'Happy Year of the Goat, Sheep, Ram' (Apparently it can be translated into one of the three animals). Regardless, everywhere in the city was decorated! It was amazing to see. Red was used EVERYWHERE! The colour symbolized good luck. Red envelopes with money will be handed out to family and workers as well. You could walk into shopping centres and find red envelopes hanging from trees. Simply amazing!

Big Buddha
Big Buddha (Tian Tan Buddha) is a breathtaking, massive statue of Buddha sitting near the Po Lin Monastery. Considering the statue is fairly close to the airport and I wasn't travelling with any luggage, this was the perfect first stop in Hong Kong. If you're travelling to Hong Kong as a backpacker, stop at Big Buddha after your flight lands (if it's still light out). It's worth it! 

There are a few ways to get to the Big Buddha: cable cars, bus, taxi, ferry, or the hike. *If you're going to hike, you're going to need quite a bit of time and it's not for the out-of-shape.* We took the cable cars and I highly recommend it! The ride is about 25 mins and you get amazing, breathtaking views of Hong Kong! 

There are plenty of shops and restaurants in the village before you get to the steps to Big Buddha. Once at the steps, its just a short, 280-something step walk up to the top. Definitely worth the trip up! 

What would I do different next trip? Get there earlier to spend more time exploring! I feel as though I rushed through the Monastery (seriously, I had to go back through pictures just to see if we actually made it there). I also would like to do SOME of the hike. Maybe not all of it, but just a bit. I'm thinking that spending some more time exploring around the monastery and Big Buddha would make it feel less touristy. Less like we only went to snap a few pictures and leave. 

Related Post: Angkor Temples: Temples to See When Touring the Small Circuit 

New Years Parade
I was beyond excited to see the Chinese New Year Parade. We got some pretty awesome seats to see the parade as well. While most were standing along the side of the streets, we decided to sit on the wall of a park, giving us prime viewing of the parade. Shortly into the parade, I realized this was going to be closer to a Western parade than I previously expected. I thought there would be heaps of lion and dragon dancers and other things relating to the year of the goat/sheep/ram. Most were local dance studios and floats of local businesses. The finale was also quite anticlimactic. But with the seats we had, it really was a great experience. 

Junk Boat Fireworks Show
So contrary to my initial belief, the boat is a junk boat, not a drunk boat! But... we did our darnedest to make it a drunk boat! Thanks to Cathy, we had prime viewing of the New Years fireworks from the harbour. This consisted of dinner, drinks, and a boat ride around the harbour before parking the boat in the middle to view the fireworks. It honestly was the most memorable part of my trip to Hong Kong! I enjoyed it so much! If ever you have the chance, this is the way you need to view the fireworks!

Chinese Food
Let's be real, I'm allergic to pork and fish so I was very hesitant to eat a bunch of different foods in Hong Kong. Positive: There's a massive variety in the food selection! And a majority of people speak English (Yay for not having to learn "I'm allergic to pork and fish" in Cantonese!). 

Related Post: Adventures in Hong Kong

Negative: I wasn't feeling too hot whilst in Hong Kong so I didn't venture too far in my food selection. But Chinese food in Hong Kong is definitely NOT Panda Express or Pick Up Stix (thank God!).

Ocean Park
This is the Hong Kong version of Sea World (plus there are rides on the top of the mountain!). Be prepared for lines, upon lines, upon lines. There were lines for everything! Even walking! Now I don't always do the best with crowds, especially big crowds. Not only were there heaps of people running or slowly, very slowly, walking around the park, but there were also railings guiding people in the way that they could walk. Some of them made absolutely no sense what so ever and you ended up walking way out of the way, other times it did actually help with the flow of traffic. By the end of the day, I felt like cattle being herded. 

Related Post: Chiang Mai: Volunteering at the Ran-Tong Elephant Sanctuary

But oh the animals!! The pandas are super adorable (who doesn't love pandas). Go see the dolphin show as well! It was really entertaining and I had to resist the urge on multiple occasions to get up and jump in the pool with the dolphins. There is also a pretty cool roller coaster up on the top of the mountain. It looks like you're walking into Luna Park and then the roller coaster is dangerously close to the edge of the cliff but gives you a pretty fantastic view (if it isn't cloudy). On non-windy days, you're able to take a cable car up to the top of the mountain but unfortunately, they were closed the day we were there.

Due to our short trip, I did not get to see all of Hong Kong. We did explore of some Hong Kong Central, went shopping, explored one of the markets and made a short trip up to the Peak. Exploring more of the culture is definitely on my to-do list for the next visit. There was so much that I didn't get to do on my first trip! Definitely visit Hong Kong if you ever get the chance! You won't be disappointed!

Until next time...
Stay Curious!

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  1. We lived in Hong Kong when we were first married. It was a long time ago now but, surprisingly until recently Hong Kong had hardly changed, especially the Island. If you ever get back there I can highly recommend that you go to some of the outlying islands. They are easy to get to. The main ones all have regular ferry services and you'll get a taste of old Hong Kong before the 21st Century came barging in.