Photo Diary: A Long Weekend in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is an island of dichotomies. A long weekend trip revealed gritty quarters co-existing with sleek skyscrapers. I wandered through urban landscapes and lush, natural ones. And I discovered a culture steeped in both deep Chinese roots and colonial British influence.
Man Mo Temple
Built in 1847, Man Mo Temple tributes the God of Literature (Man) and the God of War (Mo). The complex was also used as a center for community meetings. It offers a sacred yet eerie atmosphere: burning coils of incense hang from the ceiling, producing swirling clouds of smoke that are illuminated by strewn, red lanterns.
The block west of Man Mo Temple is a section of Hollywood Road where many antique shops can be found. Cat Street is one of the alleys that juts off it and is the place to find bric-a-brac and cheap souvenirs. Shoppers can peruse reproductions of Bruce Lee movie posters, Oriental collectibles, and, well, a lot of junk. Nevertheless, the small street is photogenic and has lots of Old World ambiance.
Edward Youde Aviary
We arrived early to our reservation at LockCha Tea House and decided to stroll the surrounding grounds of Hong Kong Park. By accident, we stumbled upon the Edward Youde Aviary: a free and public 3,000-square-meter covered canopy. The complex features 600 birds that are indigenous to the Malesian rain forests. Half an hour passed by quickly as we made new feathered friends.
Hong Kong Vegetarian Food
Vegetarians and vegans will find a wealth of choices in Hong Kong. We relished veggie dim sum, buffets, and creative fare from restaurants like Grassroots Pantry. From budget to upscale, there are selections for every kind of herbivore.
Vegetarian dim sum from Lock Cha Tea House.
Tofu for sale at Shau Kei Wan MarketLemon chia seed pancakes for brunch at Grassroots Pantry.
Across Victoria Harbour lies Kowloon, a vibrant and densely populated peninsula of Hong Kong. We hopped on the Star Ferry (for a whopping $2.70 USD) and ventured across the bay to Mong Kok, a neighborhood chock full of specialty markets. It has districts dedicated to just about everything: goldfish, toys, kitchen equipment, street food, and shoes. While the bags of hanging pet fish seemed cruel, I did enjoy seeing the stacks of hanging signs that littered the streets. Hong Kong was famous for its layered neon signs during its heyday, but now most of them have now been replaced by more energy-efficient LED ones.
Dragon’s Back Trail
Before visiting, I didn’t realize that Hong Kong had a rural side. Despite it being a gray day, I took an easy subway and bus ride to Shau Kei Wa to conquer Dragon’s Back. The undulating trail follows the ridge between Shek O Peak and Wan Cham Shan. The three-hour trek ends at Big Wave Bay, a surfing beach where hikers can cool off with a dip when the weather is nice.
Have you visited Hong Kong? Share your questions and experiences for other travelers.
Lara was infected with the travel bug at an early age. Her mother’s job as a flight attendant enabled a childhood of discovering the world. She recently relocated to Seoul, South Korea, for her husband’s job and hopes to explore much of Asia while there. In addition to being the founding editor of En Route Traveler, Lara also works as a freelance graphic designer. In her spare time, she contributes as a Local Expert to AFAR, is an ambassador for FIG Clothing, enjoys vegetarian cuisine, instructs Zumba, practices yoga, dabbles in photography, and of course, travels as much as possible.