Hong Kong 2016

When you think of Hong Kong, what’s the first thought that comes to mind?

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Yeap, for most people, thoughts of FOOD and SHOPPING would undoubtedly appear. While Hong Kong is a food and shopper’s haven, did you know that it is also home to lush vegetation and some very amazing scenery? In fact, Hong Kong is home to some very unique geological wonders, collectively known as the Hong Kong Global Geopark. It’s a UNESCO Heritage Site that is a wonderland for fauna and flora, and houses some of the most astonishing geological formations you will ever come across. More details here.

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Ninepin Island

(Photo credit: Hong Kong Global Geopark site)

We were absolutely intrigued when we learnt about this side of Hong Kong, we just had to plan a trip around the GeoPark! So that was the focus of the bears’ virgin trip to Hong Kong.

(Psst… All our photos are unfiltered – we want to keep our experience real for you!)

Here’s what we did:

Day One: 16th June (Thursday) – Day trip to Sai Kung Island

We landed at Hong Kong International Airport at approximately 5am in the morning, and made our way to our accommodation that we booked via Airbnb. Getting to the city centre from HK International Airport is really easy. You just have to take the express MTR, or one of the many buses that connects the airport to the city centre. The only downside was that the ticket counter opens at 6am, so we had to wait quite a bit to get our Octopus Cards. That aside, everything else was pretty smooth.

This is where we stayed – an apartment at Fortune Court, located along Fuk Lo Tsun Road.

The price of the accommodation was pretty decent, and while it was not within walking distance to any MTR station, it was really well connected by bus. There was also a range of good eateries nearby. The place was snug – just nice for two, and it had absolutely everything we needed – kitchen area complete with utensils, working desk, maps of HK, drinks, food, condiments, TV… Absolutely everything. Our host even provided us with a mobile phone with data connection that we could use to help us get around HK at no extra cost!

Accommodation
Address: Fortune Court, Fuk Lo Tsun Road
Verdict: paw.png paw.png paw.png paw.png

Tired as we were, we were famished (and it was time for breakfast!) so we skipped across the road to a random Dim Sum Restaurant that caught our eye. Not because it looked fancy or anything, but rather ‘cos there were so many local aunties, uncles and grandpas entering the restaurant with newspapers in hand. We bears love stoking out places that locals hang out at – that’s where you get the best food/bargains and a true taste of what’s considered ‘local’! The place we dined at is called 意 (Chun Feng De Yi), which when translated simply means “Proud of one’s success”. By the way, you have to be able to speak Cantonese to converse with the Hong Kongers, though many do speak Mandarin and English as well.

True enough, we entered dim sum heaven – the first of a series of amazing dim sum restaurants we were about to set foot in. For the uninitiated, dim sum (点心) is a style of Chinese cuisine (typically Cantonese) prepared as small bite-sized portions of food, served in small steamer baskets or plates. We’ll let the pictures do the talking:

Clockwise from top right:

1) 春风鲜虾饺, or har gow (Shrimp Crystal Dumpling) – The shrimps are HUGE. Thrice the size of those you’d find in Singapore’s.
2) 每菜肉饼饭 (Minced meat rice with pickled vegetables) – You pour some light soy sauce over it and dig in when it’s piping hot. The meat was SO succulent.
3 & 4) Char siew bun (Barbecued pork bun)
5 & 6) 春风得意肠 (Rice vermicelli roll stuffed with fried dough and radish): The HK version of Sg’s chee cheong fun. (We love this!)
7) 烧卖 (Siew Mai): Prawn and minced meat paste wrapped in a layer of wanton skin, topped with prawn roe

Our first dim sum meal in Hong Kong did not disappoint. The food was amazing. We loved the very local crowd. And to top it off, it was pretty affordable. We spent HKD105.00 (SGD18+) and left with very happy tummies.

意 (Chun Feng De Yi) Dim Sum Restaurant
Address: 20-22 Fuk Lo Tsun Rd (九龍城福佬村道20-22號地下A鋪)

Verdict: paw.png paw.png paw.png

After napping the morning away, we got ready to embark on our first outdoor adventure to the outlying islands of Sai Kung. Back in Singapore, we had made arrangements with a certified GeoPark guide (we call him WS) to bring us around the parks. He was really nice to meet us straight at our apartment to help us orientate ourselves. We then took a minibus (小巴) to Sai Kung (After our many小巴 trips, we’d say this is a must-do in HK. It’s like reliving everything you see in the HK dramas!). Anyways, the trip took us approximately 45 minutes. 

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The bears’ first wandering adventure in a minibus! 

At the pier, we took a Kaito (local ferry) around the Inner Sea of Sai Kung. This is our guide explaining to us about the history and geography of the place.

We disembarked at Sharp Island for an easy hike. The place was lovely – rustic and peaceful. It was drizzling so we were happy we were in our rain gear. Nevertheless, we managed to walk across a tombolo connecting Sharp Island and Kiu Tau, a smaller island. We even hiked to the ‘summit’ of Kiu Tau, which wasn’t very high but still offered breathtaking views! A pity it was dampened by the rain. 

Clockwise from left:

  1. One of the many landforms we saw from the kaito
  2. Floating fishing village that now also houses a recreation centre for wakeboarding. The waters here are crystal clear and you can see the corals on the seabed! Absolutely lovely.
  3. View from Sharp Island – the tombolo connecting it to Kiu Tau

 

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Lovely view from the summit of Kiu Tau. This is a leisurely 20 minute walk from its base.

After about two hours, we took the kaito back to the main pier. We then explored Sai Kung Old Town, New Town and Kwun Mun Fishermen Village by foot. WS provided us with the history of the place, and it was an enjoyable afternoon of learning. 

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If you ever are at the Sai Kung area, look out for the mobile softee truck. This. is. the. bomb! The ice cream is creamy, soft, thick and flavourful. We loved it!

Needless to say, we were famished by evening. We headed to Jordan Street and treated ourselves to a bowl of wanton noodles and beef brisket noodles at Mak’s Noodle (Jordan).

Left: Wanton noodles & Right: Beef brisket noodles. The noodles were springy, and the broth was flavourful. It was really crowded and as in most of HK’s restaurants, diners eat quickly and leave once they are done.

Mak’s Noodles (Jordan)
Address: G/F, No.55 Parkes Street, Jordan

Verdictpaw.png paw.png paw.png 

After the satisfying meal, we decided to end the night on a sweet note by heading to Hui Lau Shan (許留山) for dessert. This place is famous for its mango desserts. However, we’d also say that if you are a fan of durian, you have to try their fried durian pastry!


Hui Lau Shan (許留山)
Address: 24A-26 Jordan Rd

Verdict: paw.png paw.png paw.png paw.png

 

Day Two: 17th June (Friday) – Day trip to Lamma Island

On the second day, we woke up extremely early and trudged to Australian Dairy Co. We had heard so much about it and we just couldn’t give it a miss! So despite the fact that we were catching a ferry to Lamma Island at 9-ish, we arrived at Australia Dairy Co. (澳洲牛奶公司) at 7am, hoping to be the first in queue. Alas, there were people who had arrived way before us! *gasp*

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True enough, the food here is worth queueing for. However, the staff were impeccably rude.

Clockwise from left:

  1. Scrambled egg on toast – there are different versions of this. I loved this.
  2. Steamed egg pudding and milk pudding – nice, but a tad sweet.
  3. Milk tea – silky smooth, and you add sugar to your liking.

Australia Dairy Co (澳洲牛奶公司)
Address: 47 Parkes St, Jordan

Verdictpaw.png paw.png paw.png 

After a full and satisfying meal (we were done in 15 minutes), we proceeded to Central Pier, where we boarded the ferry to Lamma Island. The amazing thing about Hong Kong is you can use your Octopus Card for every form of public transport – including ferries! That made it so convenient for us to get around. We trekked for about 2.5 hours from one end of the island (Sok Kwu Wan Pier) to the other end (Yung Shue Wan Pier). It was a very easy hike.

We stopped by the famous Ah Po Beancurd en route to the other end of the island. That’s Ah Po’s husband in the picture, scooping us a bowl of beancurd goodness. Ah Po Beancurd has been around for many years (decades?) and it’s been visited by famous HK stars too. If you want a taste of old school beancurd, this is a place you shouldn’t miss.

Ah Po Beancurd
Address: Lamma Island 

Verdictpaw.png paw.png paw.png 

Lamma Island offered us a respite from the busy city life we’re so used to back in Singapore. It was definitely one of the more leisurely and relaxing treks, but it was beautiful nonetheless. It took us back to Singapore in the 1980s/1990s – such nostalgia! If you want to spend a tranquil afternoon away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the bears strongly encourage you to plan a trip here for a day 🙂

Back on Hong Kong Island, we proceeded to the famous Tai Cheong Bakery, where we munched on yummy egg tarts and sugar twists. No photograph here for we gobbled the pastries down in seconds. This is definitely worth a visit.

Tai Cheong Bakery (泰昌餅家)
Address: 35 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central

Verdictpaw.png paw.png paw.png

The bears are history buffs as well, so we spent the afternoon at the Hong Kong Museum of History. And boy were we in luck – we managed to catch a special exhibition on Pompeii.

If you’ve not visited this museum, we strongly encourage you to. In fact, you could spend a whole day here. The museum is very well designed and houses everything from exhibits of Hong Kong’s history to its natural environment. The bears were impressed, and it was a pity we couldn’t take photographs in the museum.

Hong Kong Museum of History
Address: Science Museum Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui East

Verdictpaw.png paw.png paw.png paw.png paw.png (this is what TWBs love)

Alas, the museum had to close, so we made our way to dinner at the now famous One Dim Sum. We both agree that this comes close to being the best dim sum restaurant we’ve ever been to – for most of dinner, we were silent. (Too busy eating, lah!)

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We arrived at 6pm, and got a table within 15 minutes. Guess we were lucky! 😀

From top left:

  1. Fried dumpling with salted meat (item #019 on menu)
  2. Steamed minced beef ball (#025)
  3. Steamed vermicelli roll with deep fried flour roll (#033)
  4. Close up of #3
  5. Steamed vermicelli roll with barbecued pork (#037)
  6. Meat roll of beancurd in fish soup (#022)
  7. Mango custard roll (#052)

While everything was absolutely to-die-for, we highly recommend items 1, 3 and 7 (!!!).

One Dim Sum (一點心)
Address: 15, Playing Field Road, Prince Edward
Verdict: paw.png paw.png paw.png paw.png paw.png (no doubt about it)

 

Day Three: 18th June (Saturday) – Day trip to Tung Ping Chau

We started the third day bright and early with breakfast at Kam Wah Cafe at 630am. Crazy, you say? Well, we had to catch a ferry to Tung Ping Chau that morning. :p 

Everyone around us has been raving about the Pineapple Polo Buns (菠蘿包) here. We’re just gonna add to that. The pineapple polo buns here are truly legendary. The rest of the food we ordered was good, too! And the service was way better than Australian Dairy Co. We also had ample time to chew our food and savour every bite.

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Awake too early? Nah… not if it’s for good food! 😉

From left to right:

  1. The legendary pineapple polo bun (must try!)
  2. Iced milk tea (the best we tried so far in HK)
  3. Egg tarts (flaky crust, smooth and soft filling that melts in your mouth)
  4. French toast

Kam Wah Cafe (金華冰廳)
Address: 47 Bute St
Verdict: paw.png paw.png paw.png paw.png 

After a rewarding breakfast, we headed to Tung Ping Chau for a full day guided hike. To get there, we took a 45 minute kaito from the ferry pier located opposite University MTR station. If you love nature, you might want to consider a trip here. Bring along adequate mosquito patches though, there are lots of mozzies there. We also recommend you wear good hiking shoes, as the paths can get really slippery when wet (we fell a few times!)

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Tung Ping Chau is amazing, and it’s a nature lover’s haven. You’ll get to see different types of geological landforms all on one island. We spent the whole day exploring this place. If you prefer gaining more insights into life on the island and its history, we strongly recommend you hire a Geopark guide. It was a day of rich learning for us.

There is no food available on the island, but there is a cafe that is open at times. Our guide made all the arrangements for us, and we were spoilt with yummy food for lunch.

 

Day Four: 19th June (Sunday) – Day trip to East Dam High Island Reservoir & Exploring the City

All too soon, we were down to the last day of our trip. We met a longtime friend who lives in Hong Kong for breakfast at a market near our accommodation. It was pretty much like the hawker centres in Singapore, just that it was air conditioned. 

We then took a mini-bus and taxi to the East Dam High Island Reservoir, part of HK’s GeoPark. The view was stunning, but no amount of sunblock could shield us from the sun. Sadly, we left with peeling arms and scalps (eek!)

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Thanks to the excruciating heat, we were absolutely exhausted by the end of the half-day trip. We took a cab back to Fuk Lo Tsun Road (where we stayed) and settled for wanton mee and beancurd nearby. We later incidentally found out that the beancurd stall was touted to be one of the best in HK (such luck!).

Kung Wo Soy Bean Factory
Address: 67 Fuk Lo Tsun Road
Verdict: paw.png paw.png paw.png paw.png 

Our flight was at midnight, so we did a city check-in in the late afternoon. This is definitely a plus point – you can check in your luggage at Kowloon/Hong Kong Station and spend time exploring the city without worrying about lugging your baggage around town! We had some cake at Agnes B Cafe at Central – something we’d always wanted to try for the longest time. The desserts were light and fluffy – not too sweet; and the ambience was lovely.

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Agnes B Cafe
Address: Podium Level 3, IFC Mall, Central
Verdict: paw.png paw.png paw.png  

With some space left in our tummies, the bears decided to have one last meal before departing HK. Something thick, creamy, cheesy and sinful, maybe? So imagine our delight when we stumbled across this gem of a find!

We had pork jowl cheese ramen – it was SO, SO GOOD. This place is apparently very popular with HK stars. A large blinking signboard at the entrance of the mall pointed us towards the eatery, which was tucked away in a corner of an old shopping mall.

Sun Kee Cheese Noodle (新記餐廳)
Address:  Champagne Court 16-20, GF 13-14, Kimberley Rd Tsim Sha Tsui
Verdict: paw.png paw.png paw.png paw.png  

And this marked the end of our 4D3N getaway to Hong Kong! It was truly an unforgettable experience. The next time we return, we’ll be conquering the Dragon’s Back Trail and Pat Sin Leng (Ridge of the Eight Immortals), and going on many more hiking and food trails. Can’t wait!

xoxo,
The Bears
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