Sunday, May 20, 2012

Island Life of Hong Kong

There are over 200 islands that make up Hong Kong.

I lived on Hong Kong Island which is the second largest of the islands. This is the most urban area of the city-state. The landscape is skyscrapers alongside green mountains. There are several beaches, but most of them are quite developed.

Hong Kong Island - the western side. I lived across the street from the skyscraper with the sphere on top.
I've hiked up from my apartment, near the water, up to Victoria Peak (see the big green mountain above). The incline is steep, the Hong Kong humidity is brutal, and the climb takes about an hour and a half... but the view is worth it.
Foggy view from Victoria Peak.
South Bay Beach was my first beach experience in Hong Kong. It was a pleasant surprise when I found out Hong Kong isn't all commercial buildings, traffic, and pushy pedestrians.
South Bay Beach at sunset.

I visited Cheung Chau Island during the famous Bun Festival. The main highlight of the festival is the tall towers of stacked dough buns. Trained, professional bun tower climbers race to the top of the tower to reach the luckiest bun. We got to the island and took in all the sights of the festivities. It was packed, so we strayed from the crowd by climbing up and over a mountain to the other side of the island. We were pleasantly surprised to find an empty beach. We took in some fresh air before returning to the festival, eating some buns, and waiting in line for the ferry home.


Bun towers.

Our path up and over the mountain.

A Cheung Chau beach.

Casey found a giant jellyfish.

Boats near the ferry port.

Lamma Island is the third largest island of Hong Kong. It is known for hippies and the laid-back atmosphere. There are no cars on this island- everyone travels by bicycle. I went during the week, and there were hardly any tourists. I walked about half an hour through the island to the beach and only passed by three or four people. The water was warm and part of the beach was shaded- perfect for a nap before lunch. I grabbed a cheap lunch from one of the many seafood restaurants near the ferry port before taking the 25 minute ferry ride home.

Lamma Island beach.

Island life. Trail through the island.

Seafood restaurant near the pier.

The largest island of Hong Kong is Lantau. Disneyland and the airport can be found here. My memorable experience on this island was my first beach trip. We grabbed some groceries to bbq and took a cab through the mountains to a deserted beach. It became very foggy and by the time we fired up the grills, it was night time. We drank sangria, took a dip in the ocean, and enjoyed the solitude before heading home. When we got to the main road (which was empty- not a taxi in sight) there was a herd of water buffalo waiting for us! They could have cared less that we were there. Apparently they roam all over the area. A lone taxi finally drove by and we hopped in to experience the scariest drive through the densest fog I've ever been through. Usually I am surrounded by millions of people, loud construction sounds, and the smell of car exhaust, so that day trip was one of the first times I felt peace and quiet. It motivated me to see more of Hong Kong's other islands.

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