A Travellerspoint blog



Last Stop - Hong Kong


Our third and final stop on our trip took us to Hong Kong. This is somewhere that my sister and I have always wanted to visit so we were very excited to get here. Also, our Uncle Tony is from Hong Kong so it was extra special to visit here. We had it in our heads that this was going to be the best place on our trip, however, due to bad weather it was slightly ruined. From the moment we got there, it rained and there was thunder storms - it was never ending! Actually, it did get nice on the last day when we were leaving - typical!

The main thing we were wanting to do on our trip was Victoria Peak. Victoria Peak is the highest point of Hong Kong and it involves getting a steep train up a hill (it was a bit like being on Oblivion at Alton Towers!) and then getting several escalators up to the top of a building. Once at the top, the views are fantastic. Despite the bad weather, we decided to go up anyway and see if we could see any of it. Unfortunately, once we got to the top we realised we had made a bit of a bad choice as we could not see a single thing. It was completely misty and the whole view was obscured by it. It was such a shame as we were really looking forward to it. We did still manage to get a decent picture as there was a man working there who took our photo and then use Photoshop to put the background in!

Again, another thing that we wanted to do was the Ngong Ping 360 Cable Cars and Big Budha. This too was slightly dampened by the fact that it was raining and it was misty. The cable cars take you over to a little Island where the Budha is - we did get some views but it was still pretty much obscured by the mist. The Budha itself we were actually very lucky to see as when we went up we could see it (although it did not show in any photos it just looks like a photo of a cloud!) but once we got back down to the bottom the mist got very bad and you could no longer see it at all - so we picked the right time to go!

We had plans to go over to Macau for the day but because the weather was so bad we did not end up doing this. Instead, we went to the Ladies Market in Mong Kok which was great. It had everything you need or would want to buy and all at reasonable prices. Most stores have exactly the same things and we found that if you wait for what you want until right down the other end, you will get this a lot cheaper as people tend to buy it straight away and not wait so they offer it at lower prices to get the sales. It is well worth visiting any of the markets - just remember to barter!

We stayed in a boutique hotel called Butterfly on Waterfront right near the harbour. One thing that they did which was great was provide a smart phone which you can use during your trip. You can use this to book things or, as we did, use it for the maps. It has a function which allows you to enter where you want to go and it will tell you which line on the underground you need and where to change - it was extremely useful! The underground itself it brilliant and easy enough to use - you do not need to go any other way! As we were staying on the harbour we were hoping for some great views across to Kowloon, but we could not see anything again due to the weather.

All in all, Hong Kong was a slight disappointment but this was down to the weather. I fully believe that it would have been very good and a lot more fun if only the weather was better. The things we wanted to do and see all involved views and being outdoors, so the weather did put a damper on this - quite literally! I would not hesitate to go again and plan it for a time when the weather is due to be a lot better.

One last point - on the way home our flight was delayed by over 9 hours (absolute nightmare) and when we got back we put a claim in for it. Lufthansa tried to turn this down due to it being "out of their control" (the plane was faulty) but actually faults with airplanes now falls under the control so they had to pay out in the end. If this ever happens to you do push back as it is well worth it financially!

China was a great experience and I am so glad that I have finally visited. Time to plan next year's trip...

Posted by LaurenF3 12:44 Archived in China Tagged china travelling Comments (0)



Next stop on our trip was Shanghai. I must admit, out of the three places that we were going to visit, I was least looking forward to Shanghai. There was not as much that I wanted to see and do and we even planned less days there because of this. However, it turned out to be the best out of the three! The atmosphere and liveliness of the city was brilliant and infectious and I just had the best time there!

One of the best things about the city was The Bund, which is the cities famous skyline. We walked down to The Bund on our first night and it looked great all it up - the Pearl Tower looks so nice at night! We also walked along this a few times in the day and it was just as nice of a view then too. We also took a taxi over to the tower and went up this at night, which was really good apart from the queues! It took quite some time to get to the top so I can only imagine how busy it must get during the day. The views from the top were great and you could still see so much even at night.

Another best for me was Old Town Shanghai. We went here when we were just going for a walk but when we got there we knew we wanted to spend a lot of time there. This is where the atmosphere was at the highest point - it was great! It was also possibly the busiest place I have ever been in my life! There was people everywhere and you could barely move. The little shops and side streets that led to different parts are inciting and fun. Right in the middle of Old Town Shanghai is the Yu Yuan Gardens. These are a must if you are in Shanghai - they are just absolutely phenomenal. They are the most beautiful gardens in the middle of a bustling city. When we got there we had a little walk around and we thought we were done and that it was pretty small. Then, we found a little path and realised they went on..and on and on! There is so much to see and all of it lovely.

Whilst in Shanghai we did take one of the City Sightseeing Tour Buses. It was very reasonably priced and we got to see a lot of the city. If you only have a few days like we did this is definitely a good option.

We had plans whilst in Shanghai to go to a roof top bar and had researched one online that we planned to visit. However, as with Beijing, not many people in Shanghai speak English so trying to get there was so hard. We tried on two different nights but both times we ended up giving up as it was just not happening!

I could definitely have spent a few more days here and it was a lot better than I thought. But we only have 4 days and then it was on to Hong Kong we went! :)

Posted by LaurenF3 13:27 Archived in China Tagged china shanghai travelling Comments (0)


First stop - Beijing


Anyone that knows me knows that for me, it has been a dream for some time to get to China! I have always loved the thought of it, from the people to the food to that pretty big wall, it all enticed me. I found it baffling that other people did not share the same ideals about China and, because of this, it has taken me some time to get there. However, FINALLY, around July last year I was talking (yet again) about how much I want to go and my sister, Morgan, comes out with the best words she has ever said to me..."I'll come with ya" - it is safe to say the flights were booked within a month so there was no backing out. China here we come!

Our first out of three stops was in Beijing. I was going to write this in order of what happened, however, I cannot wait to talk about The Great Wall of China. I know that, when you think of China, it is probably the most likely thing that you are going to think about and I really wanted something different and maybe a bit unique to be my favourite thing, but there is just nothing like it. We had decided to do a trip and, seeing as we were not likely to ever do it again, we wanted to go all out. So, we booked a 2-day trip which involved camping on the wall overnight. I had never heard of this before or knew of anyone that had done it, so I was so happy when we found this trip. It is only during the trip that we found out that this is actually illegal and that is why it is not really advertised, so we were lucky to stumble across it! The morning of the trip we were picked up in a minibus with our group for the day and set off out of the city. We got to the base and set off on a 3/4 hour trek along the wall. The biggest shock for me was how steep the wall was! It was close to vertical! It was a lot tougher than I could have ever expected but, my word, the views were phenomenal. It was really amazing and to be able to look ahead and see the wall going on and on and never ending, then turn back and see the same thing - just wow. The walk brought us around to the other side where we got picked up by the mini bus and taken back to the base.

We had lunch at the base then set off in the other direction to another part of the wall - this time with heavy bags on our back with our tents and sleeping bags etc. This did make the walk even harder and I swear it god steeper! This walk was around another 2 hours then we stopped near one of the wall towers and set up camp. What was amazing was that not long after we had set up camp, the wall was deserted. There was 7 of us in the group and we were the only people on the wall. It was so quiet and peaceful. We found a handmade ladder which was a little unstable but thought why not! We climbed up to the top of the wall tower and were up there as the sun set, it was beautiful. Best sunset I have ever seen! If you are considering going to see the wall, you need to camp on it because you will never do anything better!

Whilst in Beijing we also went to see the Temple of Heaven, which was lovely. I thought it was going to be just a temple, however, the park it was set in was huge and there was so much going on. We saw lots of people dancing around and a hall where everyone was just joining in singing - all sorts!

We also went to the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, which were both not really what I was expecting. I thought that the square was going to have a lot going on and be really busy, but when we were there that was really not the case. However, it is still great to see and to get around China's capital city.

There were a few things that stood out for me from Beijing. The first thing being the language barrier. I know it is probably very small minded of me to assume that people would speak English, but I did think that people would speak English - at least to some lever. However, I could not have been more wrong. Literally no one spoke a word of it. And, further more, they also did not read the Chinese words that we would attempt to say, only the Mandarin symbols! Once we got lost and it took ages for us to find our way back, despite asking people for help and even getting in a taxi to be told no he did not know where we meant. It was a lot harder than I expected, but in a way, this added to the idea of being so far away and travelling.

Another part of Beijing that stands out for me is the fact that I felt like a celebrity most of the time we were there! Because we were white and most of the tourists from inland China and had never seen white people before, we got asked for so many photos. At one point there was a group of around 12 young girls who wanted an individual photo with me and my sister - it took ages!

Also - if you do not like people spitting, brace yourselves!!

Beijing was great and, by far, the best part was seeing the Great Wall of China - get there!

Next stop...Shanghai!

Posted by LaurenF3 13:08 Archived in China Tagged china beijing travelling Comments (0)

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