Hong Kong Journals

Hong Kong Rocks!

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A January 2004 trip to Hong Kong by Mr. Wonka

Pedestrian Mall Photo, Hong Kong, China More Photos
Quote: Five nights in this vibrant Asian metropolis flew by like an MTR train at rush hour. Stalking through street markets, stumbling upon a fireworks and light show on Victoria Harbor, and catching a ferry to Lantau -- all of this and seeing the best (cheesiest) lounge band in the East.

Hong Kong Rocks!

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Overview

Pedestrian Mall Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
I felt like Charlie Bucket drinking fizzy-lifting drinks as I strapped on my kicks and zig-zagged through the streets, alleys, and markets that fill up Hong Kong Island and Kowloon. Despite struggling to conquer sleep deprivation caused by the trip over the International Dateline, not once was I at a loss for energy or wide-eyed bravado during the trip (okay, I was not down for going out one night in SoHo, but c’mon! I was really tired!). With so much to see and so little time to squeeze it all in, like Blain in Predator, "I didn’t have time to bleed" (or, in my case, to sleep). In just five days' time, we managed to dart around the area faster than nauseated moviegoers running out...Read More

Newton Hotel

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Hotel

Newton Hotel Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
"I could come here every day for the rest of my life." After my friend uttered those now-famous words as the Worst Cover Band Ever butchered classic after classic in the Newton Hotel’s Sangria Lounge, I knew we had found the best accommodation for our visit to Hong Kong. I love the Newton! This classy little joint is located towards the eastern end of HK Island, which was great because it allowed us to retreat each night to an area generally bereft of tourists. It’s also close to the MTR, not to mention a local bakery that serves up the tastiest sweet rolls, coconut rolls, etc., for a mere HK$2. As the smiling bellboys open the front doors of the Newton and nervously usher you in, don’t b...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 23, 2004

Newton Hotel
218 Electric Road
Hong Kong
(852) 2807-2333

Good Luck Thai Cafe

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Restaurant

Good Luck Thai Cafe Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
The Lan Kwai Fong area is known for a popular cluster of bars that jockey for position on these crowded, narrow streets, but Good Luck Thai Café deserves a visit even if you don’t dig the British pub scene that surely attracts healthy hordes of ex-pats. This little spot with outdoors seating is more than a place to soak up the alcohol after a night full of strong libations. In fact, we came here during the afternoon for lunch, and though we did miss out on laughing at all the drunks after the sun goes down, we did get to enjoy some uber-tasty Thai food at a leisurely pace. Dishes ranged in price from HK$20 to $120, with vegetables, chicken, beef, seafood, and tofu all featured on the menu...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 24, 2004

Good Luck Thai Cafe
13 Wing Wah Lane
Hong Kong
2877 2971

Lotus Thai

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Restaurant

Lotus Thai Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
Don’t throw all your eggs in one guidebook. We planned on hitting up what sounded like the perfect spot to appease our Thai craving, but found it had closed since Time Out Hong Kong had been published. And so, with nose in book, we wandered around the streets of Wan Chai in search of a suitable replacement, and unfortunately found ourselves on what has to be the grossest tourist strip in the city. I’ll never understand why people come halfway across the globe, only to frequent those areas most similar to where they came from. My stomach already turning from hunger, we felt a little violated as we walked down Lockhart Road and were faced with strip club after bar after restaurant catering ...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on February 25, 2004

Lotus Thai
43-07 Lockhart Road
Hong Kong
2866 0228

Joyful Vegetarian

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Restaurant

Joyful Vegetarian Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
Exploring the packed streets of Kowloon sometimes felt as tiring as a hike up the side of a mountain. After hours of dodging pedestrians, cars, and pushy tailors in front of Chung King Mansion, we needed some hardcore nourishment. We wanted to sit down, catch our breath, and have a long lunch, but the only problem was that we were in an area mostly dominated by small noodle kitchens, which are not the most appealing places to chill for a bit. Just before we were about to turn around and head south, we spotted Joyful Vegetarian across the way. Perfect. No questions asked. Let’s eat. A smiling, friendly host beckoned us to sit at one of the circular tables near a wall of mirrors. A tea set ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 26, 2004

Joyful Vegetarian
530 Nathan Road
Hong Kong
2780 2230

Hong Kong Park

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Attraction

Hong Kong Park Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
Though the labyrinth of small side streets in Hong Kong Island seems to squeeze the city like a vise, it doesn’t take much searching to find one of the many meticulously manicured parks and gardens that dot the island. Some are strictly used as space for practitioners of tai chi, while others include jogging tracks, basketball courts, and flower gardens. Located at the base of Victoria Peak, Hong Kong Park is far and away the most stunning of the lot. Smiles seemed to be permanently etched on everyone’s faces as they strolled through this well-laid-out park on a breezy Saturday afternoon. I moved aside as a newly married couple hurried by, and watched as children gazed, rapt with a...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 21, 2004

Hong Kong Park
Cotton Tree Drive
Central Hong Kong

Victoria Peak

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Attraction

Victoria Peak Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
Go ahead and be that guy for an afternoon. Be that tourist with the pulled-up socks, the knee-length khaki shorts, and the camera band around the neck (okay, don’t go that far). I usually shy away from those attractions that tend to pull in my fellow tourists, but I couldn’t help but succumb to the magnetic force of Victoria Peak, the highest point on Hong Kong Island, affording breathtaking views of the city below, even on hazy afternoons. As we made our way through Hong Kong Park towards the western end, we suddenly stumbled upon an influx of white people—yes, there it is, the tram st...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 23, 2004

Victoria Peak
128 Peak Road.
Hong Kong
+852 2807 6543

Man Mo Temple

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Attraction

Man Mo Temple Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
Though the building itself is an afterthought in the grand scheme of the downtown Hong Kong layout, Man Mo Temple is hardly forgotten by the religious people of this vibrant city. Built in the 27th Year of Emperor Daoguang, Qing Dynasty, around 1847 AD, Man Mo is a smoky, colorful, crowded place of worship that was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. About the most bizarre religious ceremony I’d seen so far is a Catholic baptismal. The temple is dedicated to two gods: Mo, the god of war, and Man, the god of literature and civil servants. This struck me as a rather odd coupling of gods, but if Rob Base says it takes two to make a thing go right, and that it takes two to make it outta sight...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 25, 2004

Man Mo Temple
Hollywood Road & Ladder Street
Hong Kong

Brecht's Circle

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Attraction

Brecht's Circle Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
Honestly, excluding the Sangria Lounge at our hotel, we went to one bar during our visit to Hong Kong. After reading so much about the lively HK bar and club scene, I was anticipating some crazy, late nights out on the town. It just didn’t shake down like that, though. After wandering around the area all day, doing as much as we possibly could, by the time 11pm rolled around, we were ready to stone-cold crash. A few beers or a bottle of wine back at the Newton, casually watching some bowling on the Asian version of ESPN. . .that’s how the majority of our evenings ended up (which was totally cool). It was actually a pretty soothing end to the day—these bowling broadcasts were devoid of announcers, so a...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 29, 2004

Brecht's Circle
123 Leighton Road
Hong Kong
+852 2577 9636

Wellcome Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
#1 - I love the crosswalks in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon! Not only are the pedestrian signals equipped with the normal lights to indicate whether to walk or not, but also a "clicking device" that gives you a clear auditory signal of when to cross. A slow click with medium-long pauses in between basically means "don’t walk," while a rapid click means it’s safe to cross. The clicking starts off very fast, gradually slowing down until it’s time to hold back. Does it get any more high-tech than this? CLICKING CROSSWALKS!? #2 - Wellcome rules the Hong Kong grocery store world like the Detroit Red Wings have dominated the NHL since the mid-‘90s. There isn’t a flashier (if a grocery sto...Read More

Street Markets of Kowloon

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Story/Tip

Mini-buses Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
It felt like we were advancing through levels of street markets in Mong Kok like Super Mario advances through game stages. Once you hit the Ladies Market at the corner of Dundas and Tung Choi Road, you’ll plunge into a veritable canyon of stalls that pretty much stretches all the way up to the old Kowloon–China border. No guidebook that I’ve read successfully conveys what an incredible experience it is to wander these streets, even if you aren’t intent on making lots of purchases. It’s pretty hard not to, though—the prices are just ridiculous. Make Mong Kok your first stop in Kowloon, and once you’re ready to check out the markets, go ahead and start at the Ladies Market. With stalls lini...Read More