Outside Terminal 1 at Dubai Airport on a Wednesday afternoon, ready to start our trip to Hong Kong.
In the Marhaba lounge airside grabbing some dinner.
Qatar Airways had one of their regular sales back in March and we had booked cheap $400 fares from Dubai to Hong Kong via Doha. With the Qatar diplomatic crisis however meant we would have to find an alternative way of getting to Hong Kong.
We elected to get a refund and book on Jet Airways who had flights via Mumbai for $440 each. I had never flown on Jet before but the flight timings were good and figured as they are part owned by Etihad they couldn't be too bad.
The Jet Airways 737 for our flight to Mumbai. We were originally flying via Delhi, but 3 weeks out Jet had rebooked us on a later flight to Delhi, arriving 3 hours after our connecting flight to Hong Kong! Luckily after a quick call though it was all sorted.
Looking down on rush hour Dubai traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road just after take-off.
Although there was no seatback IFE, there was TV and movies accessible via an iOS/Android app, distributed over the in-plane wi-fi.
Dinner being served.
Unfortunately they had ran out of the chicken option by the time the trolley cart made it to us. The vegetarian option wasn't too bad though and I had had plenty of protein earlier in the Marhaba lounge.
Disembarking at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM) sometime after 11pm.
And heading upstairs to connect to our onward flight.
The last time I had been to Mumbai Airport was back in 2010, and it was interesting to see a Burger King now in the food court. The options for burgers included 'The Boss' Whopper, available in either vegetarian, chicken or mutton.
After picking up some Starbucks, we then boarded the waiting A330 for the flight to Hong Kong and promptly passed out just after take-off.
Dawn somewhere over Myanmar.
Half-decent airplane omelette and orange juice for breakfast.
Watching the comedy, The House. Not great but perfect for passing the time.
On approach to Hong Kong International Airport, with a ship looking a little too close to a rocky islet(?!).
After a short queue at immigration we were off to get some HK dollars and to buy a ticket on the train into the city.
We had spent 12 hours in Hong Kong while flying back for a trip to Vietnam 2 years ago and were keen to head back for a longer stay and see some more of the city.
We arrived at Central just after 11am and bought some Korean latte cookie sticks to fill the gap until lunch.
And then headed to the MTR station for a one stop ride to Sheung Wan.
Above ground in Sheung Wan and looking west along Des Voeux Road Central, named after the 10th Governor of Hong Kong.
Looking across to the historic Western Market. The four-storey building was built in Queen Anne Revival style and up until 1988 operated as a food market. After renovation in 1991 it is now a shopping complex filled with shops selling arts and crafts.
At the harbour side Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park, named after the the first president and founding father of the Republic of China.
A ferry crossing Victoria Harbour.
A panoramic view with the 118 Connaught Road West Building centre.
Looking down on the Rumsey Street flyover.
A few of the distinctive red and white Hong Kong taxi's passing below.
And a cute kid who decided to make friends with Rianda.
Bride. We then walked back through Sheung Wan to check into our hotel.
And our room for the next three nights on the eighth floor of the Citadines Mercer Hong Kong. At $160 per night including breakfast it was very reasonable for Hong Kong.
It was close to 1:30pm so we headed out to Viet Thai on Connaught Road for lunch.
Cà phê sữa đá and a coconut smoothie to start.
Followed by some chicken and rice.
Vietnamese beef and noodles.
And finally some spring rolls and chili sauce.
Connaught Road Central. We then wandered back through Sheung Wan back to our hotel and promptly crashed out for a nap.
At about 4:30pm we headed underground at Sheung Wan MTR Station.
Looking up at the 108 storey high International Commerce Centre after disembarking at Kowloon Station in Union Square.
The entrance to the Western Harbour Crossing Tunnel.
A container barge docked inside Yau Ma Tei Typhoon Shelter.
More barges and tugboats parked inside the shelter.
The International Commerce Centre with Hong Kong Island in the background.
The sun beginning to set over the South China Sea.
The container barges are used to transport cargo up and down the Pearl River in mainland China.
Coming back to shore with under construction West Kowloon Culture District in the background.
Five tugboats, a ferry and a patrol boat.
We then headed down Jordan Road in Yau Ma Tei.
Then on to bustling Nathan Road.
And outside exit A1 at Yau Ma Tei station to meet up with our guide Danny for our Kowloon Food Safari.
Also joining us on the tour was Lisa from the USA but who lived in London. She worked for HSBC and was visiting Hong Kong on business.
After waiting 10 minutes for another couple that never arrived, we headed to the first stop of the tour, a nearby food stall.
Danny showing us some of the more interesting cuisine available, including Sang Cheung (生腸), or pig fallopian tubes!
After passing on the Sang Cheung I settled on some spicy and plain fish balls.
We then walked through the busy streets of Kowloon.
Danny leading us to MD Mochi for a sweet fix.
Some of the choices available ranged from sweet mango to deathly durian.
We decided to be adventurous and try the durian mochi. Definitely an acquired taste! Kind of sweet and creamy but with a strangely bitter finish.
We then continued our walk on to Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market.
The market was situated on Reclamation Street, named as such as it was built on the reclaimed western shore of Kowloon Peninsula.
Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market was founded in 1913.
Freshly peeled tangerines. Known as Chenpi, sun dried tangerine peels are used as seasoning in Chinese cooking and traditional medicine.
The wholesale market stocks fruit from all over Asia, and are busiest in the pre-dawn hours from 4 to 6am.
Danny showed us some peculiar fruit we had never seen before. Often called wax apple but also Java apple, Semarang rose-apple and wax jambu, the fruit was quite crunchy and juicy and with a sugar content about half that of a normal apple.
A public housing estate. Approximately half of Hong Kong's residents live in public housing with an average apartment size of 40m2.
Continuing our walk through the city.
A street fruit market further along Reclamation Street.
Danny said that sadly these street market stalls are being gradually phased out in Hong Kong, with stall holders only allowed to pass their stall license on for one generation and that the last new license issued by the government was back in 1974.
A gentlemen selling dried fruits.
After tasting a few of them we couldn't resist buying some dried limes, ginger and tomatoes for later.
Roast duck and geese for sale.
At a bakery for our next tasting where we had a pineapple bun (菠蘿包). A Hong Kong staple, it amusingly contains no actual pineapple, but the golden baked and checkered top of the bun resembles a pineapple.
Walking through Yau Ma Tei.
Outside our next food stop, Tai Hing.
Tai Hing is a chain restaurant in Hong Kong specialising in roast meat.
Danny running us through the different roast delicacies on offer.
First was the roast quail. A little bony but still plenty of meat.
Followed by an ample servng of roast goose.
And lastly one of their signature dishes, the mouth-watering barbecued pork.
A short walk away was our penultimate stop, Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop. There was a small queue just outside but luckily we were seated in 5 minutes.
Danny ordering a few dishes for us. Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop originally opened in 1957 as a dai pai dong (open-air food stall), it is considered a "must-stop spot" for their wonton noodles and was awarded a Michelin star in 2017.
On the left is prawn wontons and on the right is the prawn with black fungus and bamboo shoot wontons. Both wontons were stuffed full with prawn and had amazing texture with the soft wonton pastry with the slightly crunch prawn meat.
Accompanying the wontons were some dried noodles with spring onion and ginger.
And some Gai lan, also known as Chinese kale. A simple but surprisingly delicious meal and a great taste of Michelin approved Hong Kong cuisine!
After a short walk we arrived at our final tasting for the night, Kai Kai Dessert, which has been included in the Michelin guide since 2016.
Kai Kai Dessert specialises in classic Cantonese desserts such as red bean soup with lotus seed, steamed egg pudding and papaya and white fungus soup, all for less than $3 each.
From left we tried the stewed papaya with rock sugar, the sesame seed rice balls with sweet ginger soup, and the sesame and walnut syrup. After being awarded its first Michelin star in 2016, the restaurant's landlord more than doubled the rent from HK$100,000 to HK$220,000 a month and wanted to halve their amount of space! Fortunately one of their regular customers stepped in and they were able to move around the corner for only HK$90,000 per month.
A great end to the awesome and very enjoyable Kowloon Food Safari! We then thanked Danny and said farewell to Lisa and headed to Jordan MTR station to make our way back to Hong Kong Island.
And back in Sheung Wan after a great first day in Hong Kong.
After a good sleep we got up early just after 6am and went for a morning walk along the waterfront.
The Solar Star berthed at Pier 7. Built in 1958, it is one of the oldest Star ferries still operating.
Pier 7 (middle-right) is used for the Star Ferry service to Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon. Pier 8 (middle-left) is home to the Hong Kong Maritime Museum.
All ten of the Central Ferry Piers and the nearby Hong Kong Observation Wheel.
Towering above is the 88 storey high International Finance Centre.
The early morning sun now beginning to crest over the island to the east.
The International Finance Centre is the tallest building on Hong Kong Island.
And looking across Victoria Harbour to Kowloon.
Centre is the Central Government Complex.
The complex was designed to symbolise Hong Kong's "openness and transparency of governance" and to be accessible to the public and incorporates Tamar Park that passes through it.
The sun rising above Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and over the east of Hong Kong Island.
International Commerce Centre in West Kowloon with a Star ferry and a tugboat crossing Victoria Harbour.
A quick visit to Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon with the Hong Kong Cultural Centre just to the right.
The Tsim Sha Tsui Ferry Pier. The terminal was built in 1957 and is quite an interesting example of Streamline Moderne, a late type of Art Deco architecture.
Looking back at Hong Kong Island with the sun now reflecting off some of the many skyscrapers.
The Silver Star sitting idle in Victoria Harbour.
Built over 50 years ago in 1965, it was great to see a piece of Hong Kong history up close.
Back at Star Ferry Pier on Hong Kong Island.
Pier 9, one of the public piers at Central.
Nearby there was an On Sharks and Humanity exhibition.
The exhibition was to raise awareness of the the negative impact of the shark fin trade.
We then wandered back through the streets to Sheung Wan.
A row of red Toyota Crown Comfort taxis. First released in 1995, the iconic and slightly retro design finally ended production in May 2017 after 22 years in production.
And back at the hotel where we enjoyed some tasty sausage, eggs, dim sum and fruit to fuel up for our hike for later today.
After breakfast we headed undergound to head back to Kowloon.
Heading back above at Wong Tai Sin station.
Into a taxi for a short ride to Lion Rock Road to begin our hike.
And on our way to Lion Rock, the highest mountain in Kowloon at 495 metres tall.
Hiking up the peak is a favourite activity by Hong Kongers and the path up was in very good condition and made for an easy walk.
Looking out to the western side of the city with Lantau Island in the distance.
A short stop for a breather before the final stretch.
Looking out to West Kowloon and Hong Kong Island on the horizon.
And taking in the breathtaking views of Hong Kong!
Lion Rock just to the left with Tai Wai in the New Territories just behind.
Waterloo Road centre, stretching out toward Yau Ma Tei.
Public housing blocks at Tsui Chuk Garden on the city edge, being enveloped by the surrounding forest.
Wong Tai Sin is home to several Public housing estates built in the 1980's.
Wang Tau Hom.
The multitude of apartment blocks north of Lion Rock in the New Territories.
Looking down on the Lion Rock track with the steep stony cliffs on the south side and green trees and bush on the north side.
It was a great and not too taxing hike topped off with perfect weather and amazing views!
Back down the bottom at Lion Rock Park where school kids were out getting some sun and fun.
And some cool Oolong tea from a vending machine to rehydrate after the moderate exhertion.
Walking down Lung Cheung Road.
And back in Wong Tai Sin.
After the dose of exercise we decided next to get a fix of spirtuality at Wong Tai Sin Temple.
Wong Tai Sin District is named after the temple, which is in turn named after Wong Tai Sin, a Chinese Taoist deity.
Heading underground again.
And in Sham Shui Po in search of something to eat.
After a short walk we arrived at Tim Ho Wan.
The first Tim Ho Wan opened in 2009 when Mak Kwai-pui, the former chef of Lung King Heen, a three star Michelin restaurant, opened a 20-seater dim sum restaurant in Mongkok.
Now with 45 branches, the Sham Shui Po, North Point and Tai Kok Tsui restaurants have now received one Michelin star.
The front kitchen busy making their delicious award-winning dim sum.
It was almost 3pm and we were able to get a seat with only a short wait.
The vermicelli roll with pork to start.
Next was the Chiu Chow style steamed dumplings.
Their signature baked BBQ pork buns. Really tasty with the sweet exterior contrasting with the delicious pork inside.
Followed by the Shao Mai pork and shrimp dumplings.
And some sweet tonic medlar and osmanthus cake to finish.
All for a very cheap $HK110 ($14)! Tim Ho Wan is also known as the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world.
After the amazing meal we walked to Flower Market Road in Prince Edward.
Bright yellow sunflowers and other flowers on display. There seemed to be countless rows, stalls and shops all selling beautiful fragrant blooms, bonsai trees, fresh cut flowers and exotic plants.
Brilliant Carnations by the bunch. The market is open everyday (except Chinese New Year) from 7am to 7pm.
Rianda choosing a small bunch to brighten up our hotel room.
We then walked to Prince Edward station to catch the MTR back to Hong Kong Island.
Back in Central we went to check out the Mid-Levels escalators. The system is 800 metres long with a climb of 135 metres and with a total travel time of twenty minutes.
It was a very interesting and cool way to sightsee urban Hong Kong. Sharing a chocolate mint protein shake at nood food in Soho.
I wanted a tripod to take some shots at Victoria Peak tomorrow and as well as for an upcoming trip to Erta Ale and managed to get a good deal on a Manfrotto at Tin Cheung Camera on Stanley Street.
We then headed back to the hotel to rest up after a great day exploring the city.
Just after 6pm we headed out into the streets of Sheung Wan again.
After the late lunch we weren't too hungry so just bought a few buns at a local bakery.
Making our way to Central.
The Meridian Star waiting to take on passengers at the Star Ferry Pier.
At Pier 9, the departure point for our Chinese Junk harbour cruise.
A red sail Chinese junk approaching the public pier.
And our junk, the Aqua Luna, pulling up the pier.
The Aqua Luna is relatively famous, and has featured in everything from post cards, TV shows and on the cover of the Lonelyplanet Hong Kong guidebook.
The International Finance Centre looming above as we pull away from the pier.
The Symphony of Lights cruise was timed to coincide with the daily light and sound show of the same name and cost $HK295 ($38) each.
It was a great way to see the Hong Kong skyline all lit up from the middle of Victoria Harbour.
Enjoying our complimentary drink as the show begins.
The crimson red sails lit up against the night sky.
The Star Ferry evening harbour tour cruising in front of the lit up Bank of China Tower.
Cruising over to the Tsim Sha Tsui Pier to drop off passengers and pickup more for the next cruise.
Passing the Star Ferry harbour tour as we head back to Hong Kong Island.
Walking back through the Central Elevated Walkway at the end of the very enjoyable harbour cruise.
And back at our hotel after a great second day in Hong Kong.