Covered or mentioned in this post:
Coffee, Flower Market Street, Bird Market, Sneaker Street, Brand Outlets, Harvey Nichols, Hong Kong Park, St John’s Cathedral, more malls, the harbour.
Day 4 was another test for our ability to navigate Hong Kong solo. This was to be another packed day exploring a real mixed bag of sights in Hong Kong city. Heaps of photos so settle in for a longer browse.
After a big day out at Disneyland a sleep-in would have been nice but we were to join Gina and Andy as they headed into work at a commuters’ time of 7.00 am. We caught the bus into town and then headed straight to Andy’s favourite cafe for a coffee and breakfast.
Gina dropped us off at the local MTR train station with her iPad loaded up with this excellent website HERE as our guide to get us to some of the markets we wanted to explore. We had the train system down pat now so it was no problem to get to Prince Edward station and our first market of the day at Flower Market Road.
Hong Kong flower markets are pretty tame when compared to say Bangkok or the garden nurseries of Chiang Mai HERE but still worth a walk through if you are into flowers. This is basically one short street of shops with most of the offerings located inside.
One of the main things I found interesting were the mini-gardens, which make sense considering the incredibly cramped living space most of Hong Kong experiences.
Our next stop was the bird garden described as:
A popular haunt for songbird supporters, the visually engaging Yuen Po Street Bird Garden is designed in the style of a traditional Chinese garden. The park has dozens of stalls selling exotic birds, beautifully crafted bamboo cages, porcelain water dishes and other bird-care paraphernalia.
I wouldn’t have gone there especially, as birds in cages doesn’t rock my boat, but the park was a natural flow-on from the Flower Markets so we included it in this part of our day.
Walking back towards the train station I was taken again by the amount of greenery hidden away in Hong Kong. This park linked two roads.
This part of Hong Kong was outside the CBD with its towering glass buildings. This was the sort of street scene we saw here.
A short walk from the flower/bird markets was an area that specialised in shoe shops, called Sneakers Street – link HERE, and a big street clothes market called Ladies market – link HERE. We weren’t in the “market” for buying but thought it was worth a visit being so close.
We missed out on the clothes because they were setting up maybe for an afternoon/evening trade. By now it was getting close to lunchtime and we were to meet Andy and Gina to try a local Chinese restaurant close to their city office. Stomach catered for the afternoon was to be a mix of sights under the direction of Gina, who had resumed her tour guide duties.
The first planned destination was to be Hong Kong Park but to get there Gina took us through a couple of shopping malls and they were worth some photos which I share with you below:
There is nothing in this mall that isn’t a foreign brand outlet.
Hong Kong has a department store called Harvey Nichols, which I knew I couldn’t afford just from the outside.
One of their trademarks are the remarkable shop window displays, which show off the talents of whoever designs and builds them far more than the products themselves. The displays are built using massed objects in a very striking way. Some of my favourites were these:
A few more photos just to emphasise the brand name centric shopping in the malls here:
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Heading back into the real world we made our way to Hong Kong Park.
This is a wonderful oasis situated right in the middle of the city. A clean and tranquil place to get away from the bustle and concrete.
The mix of trees and the surrounding high rise resulted in some great photos:
The park incorporates a conservatory with different components, which is worth a quick look. I especially loved this little reflection of Australia:
They thoughtfully included a desert section, which was hotter than outside so we passed through that very quickly:
We came across this memorial to the medical staff who died as a result of the SARS outbreak in one corner of the park. I found it quite moving, How quickly we forget.
We completed our park tour by visiting the aviary, which is supposed to have over 600 birds in it.
Our next stop was to be St. John’s Cathedral, which is situated close to Hong Kong Park and accessed via this lovely little pathway
St. John’s Cathedral is the oldest surviving Western ecclesiastical building in Hong Kong, and the oldest Anglican church in the Far East, with its first Sunday service on Sunday, 11 March 1849.
Next to the church is the old Court of Final Appeal, which I believe has now been closed and moved elsewhere.
Leaving gardens and churches behind we rejoined mainstream Hong Kong life, which was gearing up for the end of day rush.
I have said a few times how unexpected I was in the openness of much of Hong Kong business district. As you can see from my photos that although there are many huge towering office buildings there is never a feeling that you get in downtown Sydney of being in a shadowed canyon hemmed in by buildings.
Can you guess what our walk back into the centre of the city took us past?
Our final objective of the day was to take the ferry across the harbour from Central Pier and then the train home. Gina had one last mall to show us as we hadn’t seen a large Apple store in action. A cuppa was looking pretty attractive too.
The ferry terminal was very close to this mall and getting there involved a walk alongside the harbour. Circular Quay in Sydney is better but this had some good scenic moments.
We passed this building on the other side after our ferry ride. It used to be the Marine Police HQ and is now called 1881 Heritage and is one of the four oldest surviving government buildings in Hong Kong. Now redeveloped as a hotel and shopping area.
A train and a bus and we were safely back at our luxury floating accommodation after a huge day out. A day of rest was looking pretty attractive by this stage but Gina was determined that we got the most from our visit. A gruelling hike across Dragon’s Back was planned for the next day. I will tell you about it in the next post.
Thanks for reading.