Another misty morning, and an unusual hotel breakfast combination of Chinese dumplings and Scotch pancakes with maple syrup but equally tasty. Leaving our hotel we called in to the nearby Java Street market, a large indoor wet market over three floors selling fish, meat, fruit vegetables and flowers. The fish market was the most interesting as live fish swim in aerated tanks and early morning shoppers were busily selecting their catch of the day ready for the fishmonger to prepare.
Crossing the road to the North Point ferry pier we caught the New World Ferry across the bay to Kowloon City, the journey taking around 15 minutes and providing us with good views of our hotel looking back towards Hong Kong Island. From the ferry pier bus station we then caught a bus towards the Kowloon Walled City Park, the nearest stop being close to the Holy Family Primary School so our offline phone map came in useful working out where we were.
The park was an ungoverned densely populated settlement in Kowloon City. Originally a Chinese military fort, the Walled City became an enclave after the New Territories were leased to Britain by the Chinese in 1898 and at one point up to 33,000 people resided in its 6.4 acres. An eviction programme began in 1993 with demolition taking place two years later. The Walled City Park opened in 1995 retaining some historical artefacts and remnants of the South Gate. It’s a peaceful open space and we certainly enjoyed our short visit.
By mid morning the sun had come out, burning off the low lying mist. Unfortunately I’d left my sunglasses in the hotel but just about managed the bright sunlight without squinting too much. Near the Walled City Garden lies the Hau Wong Temple so we took a look inside. Visitors are welcome in all temples but we always try to be respectful by not disturbing anyone.
An uphill walk followed to the nearest MTR station where we alighted at Diamond Hill. The modern Plaza Hollywood Mall is located here so we popped in for cool drinks and a little look around before crossing the road to visit both Nan Lian Gardens and the Chi Lin Nunnery. The gardens designed in Tang Dynasty style with ornate pavilions and water features were a joint project of the Nunnery and the Hong Kong government, both opening in 2006.
I visited the beautiful Nan Lian Gardens last year but it was just as nice strolling through them again. Although the Chi Lin Nunnery is connected via a bridge and Lotus Gardens, for some reason I hadn’t visited there before but I would strongly recommend it as the Nunnery is equally attractive, surrounded by ponds of gorgeous flowering water lilies.
Before leaving Diamond Hill we stopped off for some lunch in a branch of Super Super and then spent the afternoon in the delightful town of Stanley in the south of the island which we accessed by MTR and then minibus. Stanley’s famous market is near the bus station so we wandered around there first but weren’t tempted into buying anything.
Next, followed a walk along the attractive seafront promenade to the picturesque, colonial Blake Pier and Murray House both of which were originally located in Central but were moved here in 2007. Further along the headland we visited the tiny Pak Tai temple and then followed a series of nature trails to a secluded beach and lookout point on top of the hillside.
These boardwalk trails looked quite recent and I hadn’t been on them before but they provided us with a pleasant late afternoon stroll and some fine views coupled with useful information boards highlighting the key features. More cold drinks followed at one of the promenade cafes before returning to North Point by a direct bus which took about an hour at 6.00 p.m.
After yet another action packed day we needed to put our feet up for awhile but managed to get over to the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade for 8.00 p.m. just in time to view the Symphony of Lights show across Victoria Harbour, shows take place each evening.
Despite the mist rolling in, we still enjoyed good views across the bay. Knowing that the Star Ferry would be at its busiest when the laser and light show ended, we looked round the vast Harbour City Mall before returning to Central on a quieter ferry. Do remember to sit on the left hand side of the boat when travelling from Tsim Sha Tsui to either Central or Wan Chai as the best photo opportunities are to be had from this side.
This evening we chose to travel on the lower deck which is slightly cheaper but as it only costs about 25p on the upper deck, cost saving wasn’t the real reason. As I’ve mentioned previously, the lower deck is open whereas the upper deck has sliding windows, so taking photos is easier lower down.
Returning to North Point by MTR we had not yet eaten so we opted for our favoured small restaurant where we had dined on the first night. This evening I selected pork with ginger and cashew nuts which tasted delicious, the soft tender pork with the crunchy cashews, a perfect combination.