Day 1 (night) in Hong Kong: Tsim Sha Tsui

The walk to Temple Street Night Market proved to be quite lengthy, but there were shops along the way to keep us busy. We passed by our first batch of bamboo poles – used extensively in construction in Hong Kong, due to being lighter, easier to set up and more typhoon-resistant than steel poles. There were hordes of people crowding on the streets, and we knew immediately why Hong Kong was a city that never sleeps.

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Eventually we hit Temple Street, and the market sprawled out in front of us. Most were selling counterfeit goods, t-shirts or bags, and we finished walking through its narrow alley in about 10 minutes, without seeing anything of interest. We expected that though – we read enough opinions that Temple Street could be done in 5 minutes to tell us there wasn’t anything worthy there.

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We were feeling hunger pangs after leaving Temple Street, so we decided to walk back to the vicinity of Stanford Hillview, where there was a bing sutt famous for their tomato soup noodles – Star Cafe! To our disappointment, we were told they were closed on Sundays, something we didn’t know and thus didn’t take into account! As we were in dire need of dinner by then, we made do with a cha chaan teng nearby called Aberdeen Fishball Restaurant.

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Man, the food was bad. Especially when it came to my Taiwanese pork ball hor fun. It threw my foolish assumption that one could dart into any establishment and still get good food out of the window. No, if there was one thing I learnt from this trip, it was the fact that where one eats matters. Perhaps those who love bland-tasting food would better appreciate the noodles and pork balls, but it was definitely not for me. Clara’s wonton noodles were a tad better!

Off to our next stop – 1881 Heritage! It also happened to be the final day of the Hullett House Christmas Market, so when we reached we skipped past the sparkling Christmas decor and headed straight up.

The Christmas Market was held in a courtyard of a building I presume was called the Hullett House, and consisted of shopkeepers in tents peddling their wares. The goods ranged from sweets and treats to nice postcards to jewellery to hipster-inspired scented items. The postcards caught our eyes but we decided not to pull the trigger so early on in the trip. Looking back, perhaps we should have!

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Exiting the Hullett House, we went on to explore the rest of 1881 Heritage. The festive mood was well in the air, and the Christmas decorations were well-done. There were snowmen in place in a number of nooks, soft LED lights dotted in the bushes, and a tree adorned with the lights. We climbed up the stairs to a ball tower. In the olden days, a ball would be dropped from the second floor to the first, and ships would recalibrate their clocks upon hearing the metal ball drop. We had a bird’s eye view of the entire compound through it’s tiny circular windows, and I imagined us curled up in a cozy cabin in winter.

We then made our way down to the main area, where a giant snowman was waiting. It was actually a pavillion where visitors could walk through, and dotted all around it were more snowmen in different poses and situations. All of them served the people’s photo needs well haha. Once again, I struggled to centralise a shot of the entire compound from the front, the same problem I faced three years ago.

We made a U-turn and walked back past The Peninsula, off Nathan Road and to K11 Art Mall. It was my first time inside there despite having snapped a photo of it from the outside before. The mall was decked with art on every floor, nothing quite like any mall I’ve seen before. We whiled our time away capturing all of them (well, almost)! It was almost closing time, so the ArtSpace was inaccessible – a pity! But we were thoroughly intrigued by the remaining artworks on offer.

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As we left the mall, we walked past Smile Yogurt and Dessert Bar, but gave it a miss. Down Cameron Road, past Granville Road, through Knutsford Terrace (which by then reeked of alcohol and was populated by Westerners) and into the hotel lift in the basement that took us back to our room! We collapsed on the beds and chairs in tiredness. Our legs were aching so badly!

It’s not a stretch to say that we walked more in Hong Kong than in South Korea, I think.

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