Hong Kong Highlights

When you touch down in a city for a mere handful of days, it’s tough to get a true sense of the place. Many have told me how much they love Hong Kong and yet, I can’t say I feel strongly about it one way or another.

Having spent a fair amount of time in India now as well as in New Zealand, I’ve experienced first hand the difference that time makes. Each day affords another opportunity to learn or see something new, observe and engage with people, discover local customs and foods. It all slowly seeps in when you’re able to stay longer and do more than just visit the top tourist attractions.

That said, the experience of walking around Hong Kong felt like Times Square in Chinatown. It felt more crowded than Tokyo – especially in the subways – there’s just a huge volume of people. The subway system is impressive though and it’s easy and convenient to use.

Hong Kong is a great place for seafood lovers and adventurous eaters – we saw some seriously strange food on menus and in the streets. There’s also a ton of high-end shopping as well as electronics and jewelry stores.

The skyline is impressive, with skyscrapers and absolutely enormous apartment buildings. We learned that Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated places in the world.

We escaped the crowds to enjoy the Chi Lin Nunnery, a large Buddhist complex.

We also enjoyed a stroll through the Nan Lian Garden, a beautiful Chinese garden built in the classical style of the Tang Dynasty.

Inside the Man Mo temple, worshippers light incense sticks and place them in bronze urns to bring good fortune.  

Lanterns with wishes and giant hanging incense coils, at the Man Mo temple.

I loved the artwork on the ceilings of the Great Hall, a temple built in the 1920's that is part of the Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island.

At the Center of the Great Hall are three Great Golden Buddha images.

The Central–Mid-Levels escalator and walkway system are the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world. It changes direction at rush hour to accommodate commuters.

{video} Central–Mid-Levels escalator 

One of the "junk boats" sailing in Victoria Harbor, just before we saw the nightly "Symphony of Lights" show.

We saw some interesting things walking around Temple Street and the dried seafood markets. Dried seafood is a common ingredient in Chinese cuisine and traditional tonics.

Peking ducks and poultry hanging in a shop window.

Restaurants display seafood in buckets like these, allowing you to select your meal and have it cooked to order.

Oh my, this was delicious. We treated ourselves on Valentine's Day to lunch at Tim Ho Wan, famous for their dim sum and for being one of the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurants in the world.

An open window to the kitchen allows guests to view the chefs at work.

The historic Western Market shopping complex.

Temple Street Night Market

Foot massage spas are everywhere.

Decorations around the city celebrating the Year of the Horse.

A cute love-themed lantern display as part of the Lantern Festival, marking the end of the Chinese New Year. This year it coincided with Valentine's Day.

BIG BUDDHA! Hong Kong has one of the largest seated Buddha statues in the world at 34 meters high (112 feet). We took a long (and steep!) cable car ride up over a mountain to get to the island where it sits.