I really didn’t plan anything coming into Hong Kong so I was really playing it by ear for these two days. I did some research and I decided to check out another market, perhaps buy some of my camera stuff and also visit Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden.
I slept in of course and for breakfast/lunch I just ate at Tsui Wah near my hotel. The Hainanese Chicken didn’t live up to my expectations especially after Singapore but the french toast is out of this world. From there, Queenie and Jonathan mentioned another market in Sham Shui Po so I decided to give that area a shot.
First order of business was finding the post office which there were signs pointing to from the subway but once I got out I had no idea where to go. I asked a bunch of people that weren’t very helpful until I finally figured it out. I realized that most places like 7-Eleven don’t sell single stamps so the only way to send out my postcards was through the post office.
So the next problem I had was that I didn’t bring a map with me and I couldn’t remember where the specific markets were so it took me some random wandering and going back to the subway to look at their maps to find the computer building. It’s a huge building with multiple floors that purely caters to people looking for computer parts. I spent a good hour there but only came out with a few card readers I needed for my camera.
I then tried to find this camera market place around the area but had no luck and instead landed on this interesting street where they seemed to only sell used stuff and lights. I walked around for a bit but didn’t find anything too interesting.
I originally planned on going back to Sim City to buy my camera stuff but realized that I should just do that at the end so I don’t have to lug it everywhere.
Nunnery and Garden
Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lian Garden was next on my list so I hopped on the subway and went to the Diamond Hill station. It had just stopped raining when I got to the area so it worked out. The nunnery and garden are pretty much adjacent to each other so you can easily do both. The garden was very well done and maintained. It’s in a somewhat ancient setting with a small pavilion in the middle and lush green trees and plants all around. There were a bunch of tea houses and snack bars too. I also walked into a building that exemplified various styles of Chinese wooden architecture which was interesting.
The Nunnery, which you take a bridge over the street below to get to, is pretty much a small temple with a few courtyards in front. The most peculiar thing happened once I stepped in though (and of course this has to happen to me). One of the guards started talking to me as I was shooting and asked a few questions about where I was from and what I was doing. I answered these and he started to try to get to know me by asking my name. Afterwards it got even more creepy. He asked me where I was staying and that it was too bad I was leaving so soon. He probed further by asking if I was free for dinner tonight and after I brushed that off he wanted to have my phone number. Why do all these strange things keep on happening!! I told him I disconnected my number back home but if he wanted to he could e-mail me. He said that wasn’t ideal but ok. So I wrote down my e-mail and then he goes he wanted to take a picture of me just so he could remember who I was. So there you have it…some strange temple guard has my photo and my e-mail. Maybe he just wanted to make friends…maybe he’s just creepy…who knows. His name is Alex Tong in case you ever go haha.
I took a tour around and after that there wasn’t much more to see so I hit the subway and went back to Mong Kok station to go to Sim City. This time I was a bit better prepared and it turned out that a lot of things I wanted were similar in pricing to Amazon.com which deterred me from getting most of what I wanted since you have to consider as well that products you buy here would only be covered by a China/HK warranty. My big ticket item was a new carbon fiber tripod by this company I’ve never heard of called Rollei but the design was really good and okay in price. A bonus with this one is that one of the legs can be detached to turn into a monopod and did I say it’s carbon fiber? So much lighter compared to my other tripod. Other than that I picked up a few filters for my lenses and that was it!
Dinner with Friends
I made a quick run back to my hotel to drop off my stuff and change because for the evening I planned to meet up with Cynthia, John and Madeleine’s friend that they introduced me to and Fred from my Waterloo Electrical Engineering class.
With Cynthia I went over to LKF (Lan Kwai Fong) on the Hong Kong side to have some drinks at this new Mexican themed bar tucked away in a small alleyway which was packed with in work clothes. Man this area is super hopping after work. All the bars are filled with the bankers that need some de-stressing. If I had more friends to call out this would definitely be the place to party it up.
After that Cynthia decided to tag along as I headed back to TST to meet up with Fred. I had no idea where to eat but Cynthia recommended this place called The Sweet Dynasty which had Chinese dessert and main course stuff.
It was great to meet Cynthia and also to catch up with Fred. I can see Hong Kong being pretty fun if you have a good group of friends to hang out with. There are a ton of restaurants to go to (almost all delicious) and a ton of places to drink/party.
From there it was time to turn in and head home but Fred and Cynthia added one last stop for me – Chungking Mansions. I hadn’t heard of it before but seriously once you step through the front door here it’s like you’re transported to some market in India or Middle East. All of a sudden you can’t spot any more Asians and you’re bombarded with curry restaurants and random Indian/Middle Eastern shops. Totally different world in there and also very sketchy looking.
- I am not afraid to admit that I got lost in MK a few times. The thing for me was that all the streets around there looked kind of the same and without a real way to figure out your orientation I was walking around in circles. Thank goodness Queenie came to the rescue. She helped me out after I texted her. What I would recommend is definitely bringing out a map. Have a pre-paid SIM with data I think is also invaluable especially if you’re going to be in Hong Kong for awhile. If not, do some preplanning so you know where you’re going. Once you’re out there it’s surprisingly not that easy to figure out your bearings.
- I would say that the nunnery and garden isn’t exactly a must-see if you’re short on time but if you want to escape the city to somewhere more serene and green and and you don’t want to travel very far, this is it.
- If you ever don’t know where to eat in Hong Kong and you see a Tsui Wah, just eat there. Good food for cheap.
- At a market like Sim City for camera stuff you have to bargain so don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price and walk away. I bought my tripod at DC Fever which is more of a legit store so I wasn’t able to there unfortunately.
- Brunch at Tsui Wah
- Sham Sui Po area for post office and markets
- Nan Lian Garden and Chi Lin Nunnery
- Sim City for camera gear
- LKF for drinks
- The Sweet Dynasty for dinner
- Quick stop at Chungking Mansions
- Back to Regal Kowloon Hotel for the evening
Check out the Next Day
The next post in the series takes you to my last day in Hong Kong before I head to Shanghai.
Curious what else I did on my trip to Asia? See the full itinerary and all 89 days.