Talk about throwing yourself in the deep end!
I did it, I went on my first solo trip to the very far east, to Hong Kong. I figured if I was going to learn how to do this solo traveling thing, I might as well get on and do it.
I was on my way to Japan and thought two day stop to Hong Kong would be a good way to kick start this.
More on Japan trip coming soon.
I always say, when it comes to solo travel – you are stronger than you think and it is easier than you imagine it to be.
Just enjoy the ride…. Here is how my ride went 🙂
I arrived 8ish in the morning in Hong Kong time, haven took a day flight from home, so really according to my internal clock, it was midnight.
Weary eyes and tired shoulders I made my way to the Grand Kowloon Harbour hotel.
The transfer journey from the airport was straightforward, the driver kindly helped me with my bags. I walked up to the reception desk (9ish am) crossing my fingers and toes they’ll have my room ready.
The receptionist regretted to inform me that the room wasn’t ready and that now
I had about 6 hours to kill till its check-in time.
I decided to make the best out of the time, even when I haven’t slept, I was determined to make the best out of it.
After a quick refresh at the hotel fitness center, I set off walking along the harbor to Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade and then to the Avenue of Stars for a selfie with the Bruce Lee statue and all the way down to the Clock Tower for a bit of a sit down before I walked back to the hotel.
I elected not to ride in any vehicles despite the hotel being very well connected (a few steps away from Whampoa metro station, bus stops, and of course taxis) because I didn’t want to risk falling asleep and getting lost on day one of my trip – that wouldn’t be cool.
1ish in the afternoon, I’m back at the hotel.
Receptionist: No Ma’am your room is still not ready.
By that point, I was nodding off while standing so I went up to the hotel fitness center and laid down in the Jacuzzi enjoying a lovely view of the bay in front of me. I also snuck in a little nap on the sun beds by the pool.
Quick refresh once my room was ready and I was out to explore the city again, this time more awake!
No trip to Hong Kong would be complete without seeing the iconic HSBC building, temple street night market, and the peak tram. You can get the most spectacular views of the city at the peak, really worth waiting in the queue to take the tram up there. Go early or book online, it’s a quick ride up, you’ll find plenty of shops and restaurants and you can go out to the terrace and take all the selfies your heart desires.
Within the shops and restaurant collection, you can find an awesome cheese toasties place which definitely hit the right spot for me after such a long day @kalatoast.
P.s. If you don’t intend to do shopping or you simply don’t have time I would say skip the temple street night market. There are plenty of stalls selling all sorts of home and exported goods. The food around that area is okay but I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit it if you don’t have much time or not looking to do some serious shopping (just being completely honest here).
Tian Tan Buddha and the wisdom path occupied most of my second day in Hong Kong. The Ngong Ping 360 Cable car was closed for maintenance when I was visiting, which made my trip to the Big Buddha all the more complicated.
I made it up there via tram and then bus (the buses only accepted cash and never give you change back! Do account for that).
The Buddha, the village nearby, and the wisdom path are all definitely worth going to. You can see amazing panoramic views from the top, ones that no camera lens can capture.
The rest of Lantau island is also worth exploring if you have time, plenty of hiking trails, and beaches to relax upon.
The trip down was significantly more interesting than the way up or what I saw up there. I spent my cash on some street food kind of lunch, thinking I’ll definitely find an ATM in the village nearby. I wandered around the trendy shops in the village looking for one and couldn’t see any. I stopped at the customer help desk and they looked at me baffled: no there are no ATMs here.
My heart sank at that moment because no cash means no bus/taxi down which means walking roughly three hours down the mountain. I wasn’t exactly fancying a hike at that time.
The customer service guy pointed me to the Ngong Ping 360 customer service in the hope that they can help me.
I went up to them and explained my predicament, the guy there was equally worried about how I’ll get down back to the city. He kept scratching his head and then he eventually went into the office and came back with a 20HKD back (enough for the bus ticket).
He insisted I take it and refused me to pay him back by bank transfer or even buy him lunch on my card. He was ‘paying it forward’ for someone who met him with kindness when he was traveling.
It was a heart-warming gesture that got me back to the city in a reasonable time with feet blister-free!
Its always good to arrive at your destination during the day light hours, even if it means you’ll be tired. Get to your accomodation, settle in and then you can explore the attrcations. It’s safer that way.
You have to be mentally prepared to the fact that things are not always going to go toplan. So have a plan B up your sleeve.
Have your wits about at all times, it doesnt mean you cant let your hair down and have a good time. It just means observe your surroundings and if something doenst feel right, chances are they aren’t right.
Don’t carry too much money but at the same time carry enough for that day! I think my bus story gave you a good example!
If you havent already , check out the 5 essential steps you need to know to travel solo safely and leave the anxiety bnehind.
The guide is just below this.
Did you get some value from this post?
I hope you did because each week I put my heart into making sure you get some good tips so you can rock it in your travels while creating a life you love.