Golden Week Travels: Hong Kong

Golden Week Travels: Hong Kong

Last week was Golden Week in China. It’s the week around the National Day and the whole country gets a week-long holiday. Like it is the case for many holidays here, part of the time away from the office has to be made up by working on a Saturday or Sunday. For this Golden Week we had to work from Monday to Saturday and then we had time off from Sunday, October 1st until Sunday, October 8. Not a bad deal really, especially since office already closed at 2:30 on Saturday.

We were warned that traveling is crazy during Golden Week, that everything is super expensive and really crowded and just a big hassle. 8 free days and you don’t have to use a single day of vacation time, so of course we still went. I booked the flights in July already and they were twice as expensive as usual but hotel prices were pretty normal. We originally just wanted to go to Taiwan but because it was a bit cheaper I booked Shanghai – Hong Kong – Taipei – Shanghai. 2 destinations for the price of one, why not?

Hong Kong

We’ve both been to Hong Kong before so I didn’t plan much ahead of time. I just made a note where to buy the Octopus card (can be used for public transport including ferries and can be bought at the airport) and downloaded the metro map. We only had 2 full days and for the second day I booked a Hong Kong foodie tour. Like almost every time we go on vacation one of us got sick. In Beijing it was me, in Hong Kong it got to Thorben (and I was still coughing a bit) so besides that tour our itinerary was really light.

Hong Kong Skyline

Our hotel was on the Hong Kong side of the harbor and we took the ferry across twice to see the skyline, once by day and once by night. I love the Hong Kong skyline, it just goes on and on and on …

At night we went to the “Symphony of Lights” which is a light show they do every night at 8. I don’t think it’s really worth it unless you happen to be there at that time. The buildings are lit up anyway and except for a bit of music and some lasers there isn’t anything extra to see, so I wouldn’t wait around for it again. The skyline by itself at night is really impressive, so any time is great to see it 🙂

Flower Market

We also wanted to check out some of the markets and did the flower market. It’s a street with lots and lots of stores and booths which sell tons of plants and pretty flowers. If we lived in Hong Kong I think our apartment would now have orchids on every window sill. It also smells really good, I didn’t want to leave. Here is the colorful picture overload:

Foodie Tour

I booked the “Central & Sheung Wan Foodie Tour” which wasn’t too far away from our hotel. We had 6 stops on the tour and the group (there were 9 of us) was a mix of people from the UK, US and Australia and Germany of course. Besides eating lots of food, it was fun seeing a bit more of Hong Kong and hearing some interesting stories about the local life and crazy rent prices. The wet market visit was not for the faint-hearted – we saw some freshly butchered fish and the cut up parts were still twitching. Our guide said that to get the freshest fish you buy the parts where the heart is still beating …

We tried Wonton Noodle Soup, barbecued pork with rice, preserved fruits and candy, Dim Sums (which included different dumplings, buns and spring rolls) and Egg Tarts. I really enjoyed the tour and the food. Most of the places we went I wouldn’t have gone by myself and it was great to have someone point out all the goodies I would have missed. So overall it was a fun way to spend an afternoon and it was so much food I couldn’t even think about dinner.

Traveling during Golden Week really wasn’t bad. On Sunday we had no trouble taking the metro and maglev to the airport and the lines at the airport were also normal. Hong Kong was fine as well, it didn’t seem any more crowded than during my last visit. The mystery were everyone was, was solved by our friend Ellie: Everyone was stuck in traffic on the way to the Great Wall 😉

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