Sometimes you just have to zoom out a bit, just a tiny bit. If you do just that, you’ll notice how something chaotic and wild can be tranquil and harmonious. If you take a look at every single street in Hong Kong, it seems chaotic, stressful and ugly. But if you zoom out you see a homogenous city, which weaves its way through day and night in an effortless dance in the bright city lights with the tunes of the red taxis and the countless shop keepers yelling to you in the street, while the nuances from the world kitchen plays a spell on your every sense.
At first glance it seems weird. Mogens, why would we want to be in a stressful environment with so many people pushing you in the metro station, invading your comfort zone and yelling to you on the streets?
My answer to you would be: I really don’t know. Something about this city is so charming, despite it’s foggy appearance and air that tries to suffocate you the minute you walk into its street.
But sometimes, if you see it from a distance, you’ll get the bigger perspective.
Me and the guys went to Lion’s Rock as described in the last blog post. I thought Dragon’s Back was hard, but I then learned that the locals see Dragon’s Back as an intermediate hike. Therefore I was a bit afraid of Lion’s Rock to start with. With it’s 500 meters above sea level, it is a colossus that looms over the Kowloon Part of the Hong Kong, with an amazing 360 view of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island to the South and New Territories to the North. If you ever come to Hong Kong and want to experience something truly amazing, then go hike the Lion’s Rock hike – it is worth the struggle and fight, and you will be rewarded with one of the best views in Hong Kong.
We started off by trailing around after getting off at the metro station. The start of the hike wasn’t very easy to find, despite it being a popular tourist attraction. With a little help from the locals and the ever trustworthy Google Maps, we found the trail.
Here began the ascend and two hours agony. Before we began the hike, I got a notification from Google saying “Air quality unhealthy”, which should’ve been a clear warning for staying home. But we went and we did it. At the 2nd peak all was well, energy was still high even though most of us had sweat enough to fill a bottle each.
As we slowly and safely ascended towards the peak I could feel the pollution in my lungs. Together with the slowly thinning air, I could feel the small particles from the factories from Shenzhen and cars from Hong Kong slowly placing themselves inside my throat. Determined I wanted to keep going, mostly from not getting mocked by the other guys for not finishing.
What awaited at the top was something taken out of a David Attenborough-dubbed episode of a great nature show. Nothing could’ve prepared me for this stunning view, that lures behind the rocks on top. With an amazing fall 500 meters down, it sits as the one of the highest peaks in Hong Kong. Lion’s Rock is for Hong Kong, what the Alps are for Italy and the countries north of the mountain range. Lion’s Rock and the hills that it entails separates Kowloon and Hong Kong Island with the northern New Territories.
CHEUNG CHAU ISLAND
There is something for everyone, and I believe that everyone can feel at home in Hong Kong, no matter what their background is. Me and my Finnish companion Jaakko took towards Cheung Chau Island, which is an island south west of Hong Kong Island that reminds more of a Mediterranean island, than something that would be in a metropolis as Hong Kong. The island has a beautiful dock, that serve as home for all the fishermen, which is the main source of the livelihood of the islanders.
This island, which is separated from the Hong Kong mainland is one of the largest islands in Hong Kong and is very special, cause you get a sweet escape from the cars and the fast paced life of the city. The main way of transportation on this island is on bikes or through walking.
The island can serve you a lot of beautiful pictures, and has many contrasts as for example this old temple with a basketball court just in front of it.
A visit to this island also calls for a small hike to the islands main attraction, which is its North Lookout Pavillon and the mini Great Wall of China. The Pavillon is a great way to see the small islands that are scattered in the South China sea as the Pavillon rewards you with a 360 view of the Island.
At the same time the island offers a lot of secluded beaches, that gives a nice escape from the loud city life.
Without a doubt one of the greatest tourist attractions in Hong Kong, this peak is one of the most visited and sought after spots. Countless of pictures has been taken of the view from this peak and one would understand why, when you arrive at the top.
We took the old tram system, that drives almost vertically up the hillside in an old tram that had the design of the early British trams.
Everything along side the railroad is British design – benches, lamps and signs.
As for for the rest of the Hong Kong, a tourist attraction wouldn’t be complete without a shopping mall. Therefore at the top of the tram you end up in Peak Galleria designed by British architect Terry Farrell. The Galleria consists of a shopping mall, an exhibit showing historical pictures of the peak and Hong Kong together with the sky terrace.
The view at night from the peak is one of the most amazing sights and also candidates as one of the most amazing skylines on earth.
Here you can see the cluster of the tall buildings, which serves Hong Kong the right to call itself the city in the World with the most buildings over 150 meters with the ICC tower as its tallest with 469 meters.
If you go up, go higher, and look you will see something that can’t be described by words. No matter if it is hiking the trail of Lions Rock or taking the tram to Victorias Peak, you will be amazed at the top. You will see beauty in what close up seems like chaos and confusion. You will see the homogenous city, that is like a giant, that tries its best to dazzle you and draw you in with its breathtaking views, secluded back alleys that can hide the most beautiful motives or its contrasts between old and new, nature and city, land and ocean, that seemingly works together in perfect harmony.