Day 5 (afternoon) in Hong Kong: Stanley

Clarification with the counter staff confirmed the dreaded thought – our flight was delayed by a whole 3 hours! Thank you Jetstar (no really, that was a blessing in disguise)! So many thoughts ran through our heads, as we scrambled to assemble a plan to utilise the spare time on our hands.

First, we dropped off our luggage at the conveniently-situated luggage deposit at Kowloon station itself, then went to the bus terminal to take a free shuttle bus service to Marco Polo Hotel. From there, the Star Ferry pier was within an arm and leg’s length. We proceeded to cross the harbour (for the sixth time). Once on Hong Kong island, we found the Exchange Square bus terminal and hopped onto the upper deck of bus 6X, which would take us to Stanley on a (supposedly) scenic route!

Yes, we were heading to Stanley, where the rich of Hong Kong reside!

Since we had been to Kowloon, Lantau island and north of Hong Kong island, the remaining must-see area in Hong Kong would arguably be the south of Hong Kong island, where the name of Hong Kong (fragrant harbour) originated in the first place, in Aberdeen! Of course, the north of Kowloon, with Diamond Hill, Lion Rock and the New Territories can be considered important too, but given time considerations, and since Stanley was already on our itinerary, we might as well.

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We felt a little disappointed by the scenery along the winding way, but that was due in large part to the tall trees, in spite of us already sitting on the upper deck. Regardless, it was an intriguing experience, for even I do not have an impression of being on the particular route before. The driver appeared to manoeuvre the bus expertly and fearlessly through the hair-raising bends. We spotted Ocean Park on a mountain in the distance, and passed by many a landed property. Eventually, we reached Stanley Market.

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The place did not give a snobby vibe at all. It was just like any other street market in Kowloon, except this one was near the sea. Even the goods sold were similar. We walked through a row of shops to arrive at the promenade, from which we could get a good view of the ocean. Further to our right was the Murray House, full of heritage. We did not go closer to it. Behind us was Stanley’s own iconic Blue House, but it had already been repainted yellow!

Time was running out for us, and we had to get back to Kowloon station soon! In front of the Blue House was a taxi. We got in and asked the driver to take us to the Central Star Ferry pier!

The driver complied, and we ended up having a conversation with him the entire journey. He spoke of the exorbitant housing prices in Hong Kong’s main areas, and even pointed out the Happy Valley Racecourse and a cemetery to us! He was probably the closest thing we had to a tour guide on the trip. When we neared the pier, he asked us why we wanted to stop at the Hong Kong island side, and not the Kowloon side. I have no reply to that; maybe we wanted to take the Star Ferry for the seventh time! On hindsight, maybe we should have asked him to bring us over – we would have experienced crossing the harbour on three different modes of transport!

Rushing back to the Marco Polo Hotel, we waited for what must have felt like the longest 12 minutes ever before the free shuttle bus came. Reaching back at Kowloon station at breakneck speed – though not fast enough to avoid incurring extra charges for our luggage storage – Clara got her cute dog and rabbit sweaters from Baleno and we boarded the Airport Express! It was rather similar to the KTX and took roughly the same route our Cityflyer bus took on the first day. Our bad luck made us choose backward-facing seats again. We were whisked to the Hong Kong International Airport in 23 minutes flat!

It was the usual routine of checking in while we bade goodbye to Hong Kong. I got stopped because I completely forgot about the two bottles of water in my bag, and when I denied that I had anything suspicious they looked my in the eye like I was a terrorist! We bought our dinners in advance from Starbucks, and not long later, we were on the Jetstar flight back. Farewell Hong Kong, and till next time!

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