The alarm buzzer sounded around 8am, and after sleeping for more than 8 hours, we were ready to take on the day. We took the elevator down and noticed that we were practically the only ones there and the breakfast buffet looked like a foodie’s dream. We sat alongside each other, looking out to the views over Victoria Harbor, and you could feel the vacation excitement in the air. The breakfast menu was extensive, such that it would cater to most people’s dream breakfasts. We spent over an hour at the breakfast table, enjoying the great view and great food, whilst we planned out our day.
Getting around in Hong Kong is very easy unlike many other cities I have visited. Like with everything else in the city, the subway works impeccably well. With its long and frequent stops, combined with the many “signal failures” and other issues, Stockholm's subway feels like it is made out of Lego in comparison.
Taxis in the city are cheap and easily found; a tip, however, is to use the Metro instead of a taxi if you intend to go between Lantau Island, Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. This is due to the heavy traffic in the tunnels between the islands.
What is a trip without sightseeing? Divided on our days in Hong Kong here is some suggestions for you:
Nan Lian garden
Not as frequently visited as other sights in the city but oh so beautiful! The garden is located in Diamond Hill, a short taxi ride from Kowloon Bay. It consists of about 4 acres of gardens, temples and bonsai trees.
I highly recommended this place if you are keen to capture a beautiful and colorful temple in your photo albums. It will take about an hour to see everything in the garden depending on how many pictures you would like to take.
Next to the garden we found the Plaza Hollywood shopping centre. We walked in hoping to find some food but were surprised by a shopping mall different from others in the city. There were no luxury boutiques with marble floors - here you only found domestic brands, and besides a Starbucks, there was nothing else we recognized.
Unfortunately, we did not look through the shopping centre too carefully as we wanted to get up to Hong Kong's favourite viewing spot Victoria Peak before dark. The Peak was located on the other side of the river, and a Metro tour had therefore been the optimal choice, but with the lack of time, we took a cab. After four attempts to get a taxi prepared to take us to the next island in rush hour, we managed to convince car number five that the trip would be worth his time.
Stunned by the landscape, the taxi managed to pass the actual viewing point, and we (read me) decided that we would walk the last bit due to making good time and the fact that the sun would set in around 30 minutes. The last section proved to be much further than I expected and when we arrived I realized I had guided us to the wrong viewing point, the Victoria Peak garden.
With my tail between my legs, we went down the mountain to the right viewing point and did not arrive until the sun had already disappeared.
We took in a great view, but considering our excellent hotel choice, we were already quite spoilt with a beautiful view. A nice summer day without a cloud in sight, it's probably a great place, but considering we had rain, 10 degrees and darkness it was natural to take a couple of pictures and then move on to the next destination.
Another taxi ride later we were back at the hotel after a long day. A bath in the luxurious bathtub, some dinner in the room and a Netflix movie later, we fell asleep, not to wake up until eight hours later.
We woke up around 8am and headed for breakfast. Almost two hours later, we had gotten more than we needed, and a longer nap was required to process all the food we ate, before testing the Ritz-Carlton gym facility.
The gym felt luxurious with quality machines, lots of free weights and lemon-cucumber water giving it that extra edge. The great view no doubt helped too! :)
For those who have not tried working out whilst on vacation, I recommend that you do. You will be more alert in the long run, and will feel better during the day as long as you eat well.
After a shower and some snacks, we walked into town for some serious shopping at several of Hong Kong's massive shopping centres. I was looking for new sneakers, but soon realised that the prices in Sweden a bit better, so instead, I focused on finding something I did not have in Sweden. Some good purchases during the day and I felt that is was worth it at the end of it.
Several hours later, when darkness arrived in Hong Kong, we walked to the famous Temple Street Night Market after numerous recommendations.
From Man Ming Lane in the north to Nanking St. in the south, Temple St. is carved in two by the Tin Hau Temple and the market that has been housed here since the 20th century, when salesmen gathered to sell everything the world had to offer to the temple visitors.
A fun experience, rather than serious shopping, this is where you go if you want to buy everything from homemade sweaters to high-end Rolex and Louis Vuitton replicas.
After the shopping, we returned to the Ritz-Carlton to try the hotel's Michelin-star restaurant Tosca, with the hope it would fulfill our hunger needs for the evening.
An ‘Old Fashioned’ served to perfection, champagne and well-composed wines made the dinner a pleasant experience.
Tosca's Carpaccio was superb and the restaurant's Gnocchi and Sea Bass as well, but when the dessert was served I was impressed. It looked more like a piece of art than a dessert, and it tasted like heaven.
The service was extraordinary, with professional waiters wearing white gloves. I’ve eaten better food before, but the overall experience was as expected, and I would definitely like to revisit Tosca.
We rounded off the evening in the world's highest rooftop bar, the nightclub Ozone, which is also located in the Ritz-Carlton. However, we were not there to go clubbing but rather to test if Ozone could mix drinks or not. We tried drinks with names like Dragon's Back, Lion Rock, Joy in the Sky and Tropical Cyclone, but the favourite one became the bar's signature drink. To describe it, I have to quote the menu:
"Finest rum from 2300 meters up combined with fruitiness & Champagne foam. Enjoy our timeless journey in the sky with a sip”.
A 23-year-old Zacapa, a splash of absinthe, some lime and grapefruit along with Imperial Oolong Syrup. The drink was also served with foam made from Dom Perignon in a glass cup containing lavender smoke as well as edible stones on the base of the cocktail. For a cocktail lover like me, it will not get much better than that, and it felt like the perfect way to end our night.
Last day in Hong Kong
A little bit hungover, we took an extended breakfast and then went to the gym to be able to sleep well during our late flight to Australia.
Before leaving the hotel, we had one last dining experience booked at the Ritz-Carlton, an afternoon tea at The Lounge and Bar. We had already sent someone else's Instagram picture of the table we wanted to the Ritz, and of course, they did not miss a thing and seated us exactly where we wanted to sit. I usually do this if I have a special seating request for a restaurant or bar. Most of the time your request is granted if you ask in advance (a little tip!). ;)
An exquisite afternoon tea with incredible pastries along with amazing views, awesome memories and the love of my life by my side. We fare welled one of my favourite hotels in the world and let them know that we wouldn’t stay anywhere else if revisiting Hong Kong!