Can you believe it? I have survived 30 days!
Despite travelling alone in Hong Kong this time around it turned out to be pretty awesome because I was able to meet up with old friends and meet new ones as well.
Tim Ho Wan
To start off the morning I met up with high school friends, Queenie and Lesley, at a 1-Michelin Star dim sum place called Tim Ho Wan. I also got a chance to meet Queenie’s husband Jonathan and his friend, JB, who was also visiting HK.
We waited altogether 2 hours till we finally got our table and during that time we caught up and ran over to the nearby 7-Eleven for popsicles since it was also getting pretty hot.
I have to say the wait was definitely worth it. The restaurant is incredibly tiny when you go inside and can probably fit at most 25 people at a time. The dim sum menu is also very basic but everything we ordered was delicious and you can tell all hand-made. My favourite has to be either the sponge cake or the flaky pastry BBQ pork. By the time we finished it was almost 1:30PM. Now I understand why this place out of all dim sum places in Hong Kong got 1 Michelin Star. Now I can say that I’ve eaten at the cheapest Michelin rated restaurant. For the 5 of us it was only 293 HKD.
Some Shopping in Mong Kok
After dim sum, Queenie, Jonathan and JB dropped me off in the area of Mong Kok with all the electronics since I figured I could do some shopping. From there I wandered around some of the more legit stores like Fortress, Suning and Broadway and then eventually this 4 story building with smaller camera shops called Sim City. I spent a bit of time and soon realized that there were a ton of things that I could buy here including a new carbon fiber tripod, point and shoot camera, underwater case, lens filters, polaroid camera…the list kept growing. I got all excited until I realized that I should do some proper research so I promised myself that I’d come back the next day after doing some price checking online.
From there Queenie gave me some tips beforehand about how to get to Stanley. To get there I took the subway to Causeway Bay and then from there I looked for a number 40 bus across one of the exits (on Tang Lung Street near Times Square). This was way cheap at only 9 HKD.
Stanley was a lot smaller than I had thought but it was definitely a nice way to get away from the city. And that’s really the beauty of Hong Kong. The city is the city but literally less than an hour away by bus you can be out on the water, at the beach or doing any outdoor activity you want to do. I walked a bit of the Stanley Market first which after doing Ladies Market there was nothing really special here except for some postcards that I bought. The area by the water was nice to take some photos but it was really smoggy that day. The rest of my time I walked to Stanley Plaza and chilled at the Starbucks for a bit. Again Starbucks card FTW in HK. I did get approached by a two guys while I was there. They were doing some recruiting for their Abercrombie & Fitch store. I didn’t know I was A&F material LOL.
Altogether I only spent around 3 hours at Stanley and I think that was enough. There didn’t seem to be much else to see other than the bay, some rocks to climb on, Stanley Market and Stanley Plaza.
Aftewards I took the bus back to Causeway bay and met up with Queenie, Jonathan and JB at a Japanese restaurant (forgot the name though..i’ll get it later). It was about on par with a good Japanese restaurant back home so I would say it was pretty expensive in HK terms but the food was quite excellent. Tako Wasa…*drool…and their home made doughnuts + ice cream was an awesome combination. Sake and beer was a nice touch as well. It’s definitely great to know people in the city because a restaurant like this is impossible to find. It was in some nondescript street in a random narrow entrance high rise where you then had to take the elevator to the 12th floor.
Happy Valley Racetrack
From there the night got even more interesting as we made our way to the Happy Valley Racetrack and also met up with another one of Jonathan’s work friends from Apple. I’ve only ever been to the Woodbine racetrack which is so incredibly dull compared to here. The track was packed with what seemed to be mostly foreigners and a ton of beer tents. Because we came to the track late, all the gates were open to get in so there wasn’t any cover either.
We spent the next hour and a bit drinking a few pitchers of beer and betting on the last two horse races of the night. I had no idea what I was doing but Jonathan was able to set us along the right course. I think the complicated part was figuring out how to fill out the forms you’re supposed to hand to the cashier but the lady we got was uber nice and was able to correct what we wanted. What seemed to be the safest thing to do is bet on a few horses that don’t exactly have high probabilities of winning (based on a fact sheet that you can pick up) and bet to place (placing in the top 3) instead of betting to win. The first race I actually won 322.50 HKD from my 50 HKD bet which was totally unexpected.
Watching horseracing I realized is also quite deceiving because really what you see up to 90% of the race is completely non indicative of a winner until the last few seconds when it really counts. None of the horses that took the lead at the beginning could sustain their lead and would simply lose at the end. For the second race I actually walked down to the ground and took some photos there which was cool.
To round it off we ended the night at a “members only” club somewhere random in Causeway Bay on the 27th floor called b.a.r. Executive. When I say “members only” you really become a member once you walk in. Jonathan was saying that this is the only way a bar like that can get a license in a commercial building. Some sort of work around. The bar is really tiny but what it lacks in size it makes up with incredibly unique and top quality drinks plus tasty complementary snacks.
It ended up being an awesome day to reconnect with old friends and meet new ones. Thank you Queenie and Jonathan for allowing me to hang out with you for the better part of the day.
- If you’re going to be in Hong Kong and you like dim sum you have to check out Tim Ho Wan. The original MK location is the one to go to.
- One of the awesome things about Hong Kong is that there’s practically free wifi everywhere. There multiple occasions when I really needed a connection and I was always able to find one called ‘PCCW Free’.
- Take bus 40 from Causeway Bay to get to Stanley.
- If you’re in HK check out this store called Homeless which I randomly discovered. It has a ton of cool gifts and home accessories that I think any one of you would love. Apparently it’s pretty popular right now so you should be able to find a store close to you.
- I would definitely recommend checking out the Happy Valley Racetrack if you’re around on a night when a race is going on. I was luckily there on a Wednesday so they usually have one on that day. Gambling is cheap (you can bet as little as you want…1HKD?) but I can see being addictive. Atmosphere is great and comfortable because it’s almost all foreigners.
- b.a.r. Executive is a really nice bar to lounge around with some friends. The snacks you get are awesome and each drink is meticulously made by the Japanese owner. Apparently he has his own container that allows him to bring in things fresh from Japan. 27/F Bartlock Centre, 3 Yiu Wa St., Causeway Bay.
- Brunch at Tim Ho Wan for dim sum
- Walk around Mong Kok for electronics
- Dinner in Causeway Bay
- Happy Valley Racetrack
- b.a.r. Executive
Check out the Next Day
To read about my next day exploring new parts of Hong Kong, check out Day 31 – Hong Kong – Exploring.
Curious what else I did on my trip to Asia? See the full itinerary and all 89 days.