Wednesday, 27 June 2012

A day in Hong Kong: Stanley, Aberdeen, Victoria Peak, and some great dim sum

Stanley and Aberdeen

Everyone says you should visit Stanley and Stanley Market. On day four, my final full day in Hong Kong, I decided to. From Central Hong Kong, the best way to get there is via Bus 6, 6A, or 6X.

As a village, Stanley is interesting and pleasant enough. There are some nice beaches, a temple or two, and some interesting buildings including a beautiful Wellcome supermarket in the old Stanley police station across from the bus depot. Stanley Market, however, is a major disappointment, and can be described as nothing more than a tourist market, selling mainly souvenirs and silly tchocthkes primarily to old, white tourists.

Relaxing at Stanley
Relaxing near Stanley Market.

Altar at Stanley
Small covered altar near Stanley Market.

Bus 52 runs from Stanley to Aberdeen.

Aberdeen is well-known for its seafood and fish market. There are floating restaurants in the bay that are also quite popular.

Aberdeen altar
Altar at Tin Hau temple in Aberdeen, near where the bus drops you off.

Through the temple doorway
Looking out from Tin Hau temple.

There's a fish market on the Hong-Kong side of the bay, a short walk from Tin Hau temple. It's a bunch of warehouse-style buildings willed with huge tanks of fish. I don't know when the selling goes on, but there were very few people or workers there when I was, and you could just wander around from building to building.

From just east of the market you can catch a ferry across the channel to Ap Lei Chau island for a couple of HKD. The ferry will dock at an interesting park.

Fishermen displaying their catch
Next to the ferry pier on Ap Lei Chau island. Lower some money in a basket to these fishermen, and they raise some fish for you.

To get back to the city from Aberdeen, take Bus 70 or 4C. From Ap Lei Chau, take bus 90 from the main road in front of the park, Ap Lei Chau Bridge Road.

Victoria Peak

You can't visit Hong Kong without visiting Victoria Peak. The typical way to visit is by taking the Peak Tram funicular, but you can also take the bus. Tickets for the Tram are 28 HKD one way, and 40 HKD return. You can take Bus 1 (minibus) or 15 (double-decker) for about 9 HKD, and you can catch Bus 15 from the Star Ferry pier. I prefer to walk down to HK via the Old Peak Road (there are stairs that lead to it just behind the Peak Tower).

After returning from Aberdeen, I stopped by Hong Kong MTR station for some dim sum at the much-heralded Tim Ho Wan, then took the bus to Victoria Peak. The tram really is much more scenic.

Michelin-starred dim sum
There's a branch of the Michelin-starred dim sum place, Tim Ho Wan, located in Hong Kong MTR Station. No lines or waiting at this location, and even if the food is a bit better at the main location I was extremely impressed by the food and prices. I came back later and bought some for my train ride to Shanghai.

The peak is dominated by two large buildings that are essentially shopping malls. They don't hold much interest for me, as I prefer to walk around outside. Unfortunately I've never been up there by day, as I believe there is decent hiking available. The city is very scenic by night, when smog and haziness is less of a problem.
There's a pedestrian pathway, Lugard Road, just outside the peak observatory that leads northwest along the side of the mountain, offering great views over Central Hong Kong and Kowloon across the bay.

Victoria panorama
The view from Lugard Road.
Panorama with bushes
The farther you go along Lugard Road, the farther west you see.

View through the trees, just behind the peak tower.

After walking down from the peak, I took one of the old-fashioned, double-decker trams back to my hostel in Causeway Bay.

Causeway Bay streets from tram
Traffic in Causeway Bay.

Causeway bay pedestrian crossing
View from the tram at a pedestrian crossing in Causeway Bay. My hostel was just off to the left.

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