We left the Guilin hotel about 7am and walked to the train station. It was one train to Guangzhou for three hours, then we had 20 minutes to connect to our other train in what is surely the largest train station in the world, bigger than most airports. Thankfully we made it as we could just transfer straight to the right platform we need for the next 30-minute train to Shenzhen. Then it was a metro across the city for 30 minutes to the border between China and Hong Kong, we got stamped out of China, walked a little, then entered Hong Kong at the other side then it was another metro train for an hour in Hong Kong to get to the centre.
So after about six hours on five different trains, lots of transfers and some walking we weren’t too impressed when we arrived at the hostel in Hong Kong and were told to wait in a queue of people to check-in. It was one check-in desk for many hostels, so lots of people waiting, but it didn’t take long thankfully and we were soon out in Hong Kong, a little more civilised than we had for the last three weeks and we were actually really happy to be here.
We had a great time in China, but culturally and socially it is a world away from what we know, and can be difficult at times. We can definitely see big differences culturally between China and Hong Kong, just a few hundred metres over the border.
We headed straight out to the island, got some food in the Dim Sum Restaurant we went to the last time we were in Hong Kong, then went to look for some affordable wine. We had read about some happy-hour places online, because drinks in Hong Kong can be crazily expensive (£7 for a beer, £10 and up for a glass of wine), we found a really nice Vietnamese restaurant / bar that had a free-flow happy hour on for 2 hours for £10 each, so we had quite a few glasses of wine, then got the ferry back over to the mainland side for the hostel but we were both really hungry.
We walked in to a Pizza Hut, but a small pizza was about £15-20 so we walked straight back out, and went to a McDonald’s instead, this was actually the first time we have eaten western fast-food since we left home 5 weeks ago so I think we have done great to last this long. Surprisingly to us, the McDonald’s was actually really nice, but maybe any food is nice after a few drinks. 🙂
The next day we went to a place recommended to us by Manuel in Shanghai, a small fishing village called Tai-O on Lantau Island. It was about 2 hours away on public transport so we went early, and we were glad we did because later in the day lots of tour buses turned up, but we had seen it by then, it was really amazing and completely different to what we all picture Hong Kong to be.
The place we had been recommended to go was actually about a one hour walk away from the village up in to the mountains, so we headed up there guided by some walking instructions on the internet that he told us about. We found it without getting lost and it was truly stunning. It’s a waterfall that falls in to a catch basin that supplies water to the town below, but because of how secluded it is, there’s nobody there, the scenery is stunning and it appears as if it’s an infinity-pool up in the mountain side.
We loved being back in Hong Kong, we appreciated it much more the second time when it wasn’t as busy and would definitely come here again. Now it is on to Vietnam! We’re just a little bit excited, we’ve got about five weeks in Vietnam to travel overland all the way from North to South, we’ll keep you updated on how it’s going.