Covered or mentioned in this post:

Local street markets, Dragon’s Back, Stanley and the Gold Coast Hotel.


Day 5 – and rather than rest up after a hectic four days Gina has decided to take us on a hike and I suspect that being called Dragon’s Back we’re not talking about a stroll on the flat and level here. It is Saturday so Andy isn’t working but has wisely decided that a two hour trek in 30+ degrees isn’t what he needs for his day off and is staying in the air conditioned comfort of the boat.

We catch our bus to the city, which as always turns up at the bus stop a few minutes after we arrive. They really have the bus system sorted here.

We pass this Chinese cemetery on a hill. The combination of height and a view of water make locations like this high demand final resting places.

We pass this Chinese cemetery on a hill. The combination of height and a view of water make locations like this in high demand as final resting places.

Our trip takes us through the city and drops us at a MTR station for a quick final train trip which will drop us close to some weekend markets where we are to catch a local bus for the final climb to the start of Dragon’s Back.

Many stations have this useful map as you exit, which shows you the relationship of the station to local attractions and landmarks. Great for orienting yourself.

Many stations have this useful map as you exit, which shows you the relationship of the station to local attractions and landmarks. Great for orienting yourself.

The markets were a short distance from the MTR station. I always enjoy visiting the “everyday” places as it gives one a far better feel for real life in a foreign country than all the shopping malls put together. I have a good friend who makes sure she does a cooking course in every country she visits, which is also a great way to connect to the local culture, make new friends and get a good feed as well.

Colourful, crowded and noisy everything you'd expect of a true Hong Kong market.

Colourful, crowded and noisy everything you’d expect of a true Hong Kong market.

Plenty of fishy choice.

Plenty of fishy choice.

The real action at ground level overlooked by the new Hong Kong.

The real action at ground level overlooked by the new Hong Kong.

Jumping on the local bus Gina asked the driver to give us a shout at the stop where we needed to get off for the starting point of the hike.

Eating taken care of one's thought turn to other needs!

Eating taken care of one’s thought turn to other needs!

Meeting a pretty obvious need.

Meeting a pretty obvious need. This photo taken in the flower markets the previous day.

Back to topic – Dragon’s Back is described as:

Not only does the Dragon’s Back score high for its cool name, it has also been voted the ‘Best Urban Hiking Trail in Asia’ by Time (Asia Ed.). A short hop from the bustle of Hong Kong East, the trail provides stunning views of Shek O, Tai Long Wan, Stanley, Tai Tam, and the South China Sea.

A map showing the trial. from the relationship of the hike to the sea you can get an idea as to why this is such a popular walk.

A map showing the trial. from the relationship of the hike to the sea you can get an idea as to why this is such a popular walk.

We did this walk in reverse to that shown on the map but I think it was generally the same otherwise.

Straight off the bus there are a long set of steps to get you warmed up and then the path starts seriously once you leave the concrete. The walk is shaded for the first third and you could be hiking an Australian bush track.

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Not all people on this hike are here just for the walk. These guys were taking their electric off-road cars for a run. How sweet. At least they were outside and enjoying themselves and not stuck in front of a computer.

Two of the guys had no problem but one must have been a newbie because he was struggling getting his truck through the course.

Two of the guys had no problem but one must have been a newbie because he was struggling getting his truck through the course.

At this point of the hike you only got glimpses of the views through the trees giving you a taste of what was to come once the path opened up on the headland.

Looking out towards Stanley.

Looking out towards Stanley – the left side of the map above.

After a while, just after I said to Gina that this was a nice easy walk because it was cooler in the shade, the path opened up and both the views and the sun came into full prominence. Luckily there was a light sea breeze which made it feel cooler so we got the benefit of a clear sunny day without being too overwhelmed by the heat.

Looking back towards the entrance to Hong Kong harbour - the right side of the map.

Looking back towards the entrance to Hong Kong harbour – the right side of the map.

You can get the feel from these photos as to how much the path has opened up. Low shrubbery as you’d find on headlands around the world where they are more exposed to the weather.

The city in the background. An amazing contrast.

The city in the background. An amazing contrast and once again showing how much of Hong Kong is greenery. Over 70% is undeveloped and 40% locked up in parks.

Sign your kids up for that golf course when they are born. It has a 25 year waiting list and costs $1 million to join.

Sign your kids up for that golf course when they are born. It has a 25 year waiting list and costs $1 million to join.

A large cruise ship coming in.

A large cruise ship coming in.

Gambling is illegal in Hong Kong so there are ships available that will take you into international waters so you can lose your money there. This looks more like a cruise ship but who knows.

Heading into the harbour.

Heading into the harbour.

Considering the money you pay for a small condo can you imagine what one of these coast houses would set you back?

Considering the money you pay for a small condo can you imagine what one of these coast houses would set you back?

A closer view of that golf course. Bob are you reading this!

A closer view of that golf course. Bob are you reading this!

The view of

The view down the coast with Stanley on that peninsula – this is the left side of the map.

This is the small village od

This is the small village of Shek O. Gina tells me that this beach being open to the ocean is clean and OK to swim.

The final part of the walk takes us back into shade.

The final part of the walk takes us back into shade.

Overall a great experience and gets one away from the concrete and shopping, which wouldn’t appeal to some, but I would recommend it. Make sure you take all the usual protective gear and water. The exit point for us provided us with a taxi very quickly and it was a relief to have that cold blast of air conditioning. There is only so much nature one can take!

Our next destination was Stanley for lunch, a twenty minute ride alongside the coast. Stanley itself is a smart beachside suburb and the restaurant area could be from anywhere in the world.

One of the cafe areas. Beach on the right.

One of the cafe areas. Sea on the right.

Could be Sydney.

Could be Sydney.

Stanley pier.

Stanley pier.

A bit pricy for a pensioner like me.

A bit pricy for a pensioner like me. Divide by 7 to get Aussie prices.

But I could afford these excellent fish and chips with a cold beer.

But I could afford this excellent fish and chips with a cold beer – well two beers actually.

Walking further along the seafront towards the Stanley markets.

Walking further along the seafront towards the Stanley markets.

The markets are a permanent undercover affair and are good quality with a small but classy range of goods. Reviews of the market can be found HERE.

The main part of the markets. Stalls opening off the central walkway.

The main part of the markets. Stalls opening off the central walkway.

Well presented.

Well presented.

Nothing is cheap here. Maybe you get more variety in choice.

Nothing is cheap here. Maybe you get more variety in choice but you won’t find a bargain.

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Heading out of the markets towards the bus stop.

Heading out of the markets towards the bus stop.

Some serious money involved here.

Some serious money involved here. That’s getting around A$50 million.

The best way to quickly get a feel for this part of Hong Kong is to take the bus and get on the top deck at the front if you can. From there you get to look over walls and hedges and get some great glimpses of what you get for your housing dollar. Also some sweeping views over places like Repulse Bay.

Repulse Bay from the top deck of our bus.

Repulse Bay from the top deck of our bus.

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A city beach. Not sure I would be swimming there.

A city beach. Not sure I would be swimming there.

Just on the subject of swimming. I have made mention a couple of times about swimming at city beaches. This is based on Gina’s advice that not much of the sewage is treated here. It is just pumped into the ocean. For example although the marina where Gina and Andy have their boat require the use of onboard storage of waste, when it comes to emptying time it is pumped out and then the truck takes it around the corner and dumps it straight into the sea! Now I don’t know about you but that sort of behaviour would slightly put me off swimming anywhere within the harbour area.

The road hugging the coast.

The road hugging the coast.

Another city cemetery. Most Thais are cremated so you only see cemeteries in Thailand for Chinese Thais.

Another city cemetery. Most Thais are cremated so you only see cemeteries in Thailand for Chinese Thais and maybe a few of us farangs.

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I liked that headstone of Mary holding Jesus. A serious bit of stonework.

You can tell we are now back in the city can't you.

You can tell we are now back in the city can’t you.

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Day 6 our final day in Hong Kong before we flew back to Chiang Mai on the Monday. It involved no buses, taxis, trains and almost no walking! Instead we settled in for a wonderful buffet and all you can drink champagne at the Gold Coast Hotel next to the marina where we were staying. All I can say is that we slept well that night! The following photos give you a sense of the event.

Gaun excited at the prospect of neverending food.

Gaun excited at the prospect of never-ending food. Also loving the flowers, which are real.

The buffet area.

The buffet area.

Me getting excited about endless dessert.

Me getting excited about endless dessert.

The yummy dessert counter.

The yummy dessert counter.

Gaun loaded up.

Gaun loaded up.

Happy in Hong Kong as well as Thailand.

Happy in Hong Kong as well as Thailand.

Our kind hosts Gina and Andy.

Our kind hosts Gina and Andy.

The view from the hotel towards the marina.

The view from the hotel towards the marina.

How can you tell that this photo was taken as we left after three hours of unlimited bubbly?

How can you tell that this photo was taken as we left after three hours of unlimited bubbly?

The ten minute walk back to the marina clubhouse worked up a thirst so we had another bottle here listening to some live music.

The ten minute walk back to the marina clubhouse worked up a thirst so we had another bottle there listening to some live music.

This is my final in a series of stories about Hong Kong. Thank you Gina and Andy for hosting us and Gina for your sterling effort in showing us around the place so efficiently. Gina has had to play the host for so many visitors that I am surprised she agreed to let us come and stay. We are pleased she did and look forward to returning the hospitality when she comes over to help us establish our garden in Si Bun Ruang come the time. I guess she is missing getting her hands dirty in the earth. Not much chance of that living on a boat.

Thanks for reading and I will now change channel back to Thailand and our travels there.