Monday, March 23, 2015

Exploring Hong Kong: Part 2

During my second day in Hong Kong I decided to indulge my inner history nerd and make a visit to the Hong Kong Museum of History.  This is a HUGE museum and covers the entire history of Hong Kong from how the land itself was formed up to the present day.  I honestly didn't know much about Hong Kong's history at all, so I learned a lot during this visit.

After I finished at the museum, I grabbed a quick bite, then made my way to Victoria's Peak. The Peak gives an amazing view of the city, and my original plan was to get to the top around sunset.  Of course, when I arrived at the tram station, there was yet another HUGE line.  I had to wait at least an hour to buy my ticket to get on the tram.

At the top of Victoria's Peak there were TONS of people, but the view was beautiful.  Although it was a bit hazy, I still got a pretty good view of Hong Kong's lights.

To get to the top of the Peak I had to go to the top of this building that had tons of shops and restaurants, so after I finished taking in the view I stopped for dinner before getting in yet another super long line to take the tram back down.  I waited about an hour again to go back down, but this time I was standing next to an Italian guy who had just finished living in Shanghai, so at least I had some interesting conversation to keep me entertained while I waited.

Right by my hotel was a night market, so I decided to check it out on my way back before calling it a night.

The next morning I woke up and checked out of my hotel.  Luckily, my hotel held my back for me for the day, so I was free to do a bit more exploring.

There wasn't much I still wanted to do in the city, so I decided to check out Wong Tai Sin Temple.  This temple is located in the heart of the city and is surrounded by tons of huge buildings.  It was also packed with people, many of whom were burning incense and praying.

I'm guessing that these bows were decorations for the approaching Lunar New Year

After I finished looking around the temple, I decided to head back to the harbor to get a glimpse of the skyline during the day. Unfortunately, it was pretty cloudy so the view wasn't as great as it would have otherwise been, but it was still nice to hang out by the water for a bit.

 Next I decided to make my way to the Lady's Market, one of the famous markets in Hong Kong.  However, as soon as I got off the subway there were so many people everywhere that everything was moving VERY slowly.  I thought Seoul had crazy population density, but Hong Kong is in an entirely different category.  I didn't stay long at the market because I was going crazy being in such a huge crowd.

In the subway...see that huge crowd of people just ahead?


At the market

I walked around for a little while longer, hoping to find a cafe to sit at for a while.  I have to say, I've never missed Korea's millions of coffee shops so much as I did when I was in Hong Kong.  There was a Starbucks, but it was super crowded, and besides that I didn't see any other coffee shops anywhere.

By this point in the day I was exhausted, tired of being around so many people, and had a huge headache.  Since I had already checked out of my room and I couldn't find any place to just chill out for a while, I decided to go back to my hotel and get my bag and head to the airport, even though my flight wasn't until much later.

Originally I had planned to take a red eye flight back to Korea because I was supposed to be hanging out with my friend.  However, she never made it back to Hong Kong in time, so I ended up being by myself for this part of the trip as well.  Although I'm glad I saw Hong Kong, I think I was never quite able to shake the disappointment of not being able to see Jackie.  Laos and Cambodia were great places to solo travel, but I hadn't planned on being by myself in Hong Kong, so my experience there was just not at all what I had expected it to be.

Nevertheless, I'm glad I saw Hong Kong, but I was very happy to finally get to the airport, where I finally found a nice cafe to sit at and relax.  When I was trying to describe Hong Kong to my friends, I said it's the "citiest" city I've been too.  Everywhere you go, there are tons of people, SUPER tall buildings, and huge signs reaching out into the streets.  There's obviously a lot I didn't see there, but being in a city that busy made me exhausted.  However, I should say, the city is extremely modern, easy to navigate, and the people there speak really good English.  Hong Kong is a great city, I'm just not much of a city person.

It was crazy to be back at the airport, knowing I was only one flight away from the trip being officially over.  In three weeks I went to three different countries, met people from around the world, and saw places many people only dream of.  Those three weeks were some of the best of my life, but it certainly did feel good to know that I would soon be back in Jeomchon, reuniting with my friends and sleeping in my own bed.

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