Kung Hei Fat Choy!
I can’t believe it’s my third Chinese New Year in Asia. Partly through lack of learning centre holidays and partly through choice, I’ve actually spent my first one in the city. I was a little apprehensive at first as all of my friends were booked to jet off to foreign lands and I was worried I would be craving the Thailand beaches I’ve spent the last two CNY festivities on. Turns out, I had a pretty awesome time.
As it was my first time in town I thought it was only right that I should attempt to do ALL of the traditional tourist activities. One of my close friends was kind enough to lend me her snazzy apartment while she’s out of town and I was fortunate enough to have some company as a seasonal tourist.
First stop was Lam Tsuen and its famous Wishing Tree. It’s a little far out of town but I managed to convince my travel companion to take the scenic route via 3 buses to see the sights of the New Territories. Turns out one of said buses spent most of the journey in a tunnel and the other was always so full we had to walk.
Eventually we made it to the site and fought our way through the crowds to chuck our oranges bought from the local market with our wishes at the tree. We forgot we live in Hong Kong. What should be an organic, biodegradable tradition is now an experience where you have to pay $40 for a wishing card and a plastic orange to throw into the branches of a beautiful tree. They say it’s because real oranges are too heavy but if I know one thing about Hong Kong it’s that wasting plastic is something that they’re very good at!
The highlight of the visit was probably escaping round the back of the venue to check out the views, eat a picnic and hang out with this guy….
A little disappointed with this Hong Kong tradition we moved on to the next one with slightly wary expectations. I’d heard good things about the evening parade but, alas, it was another HK stereotype with every other float being an advertisement. Three beers later it wasn’t getting any better or warmer so we decided to call it a night.
The next day the weather was absolutely stunning so we spent the day hiking on Lamma Island in the sunshine. This place never fails to amaze me. For a seemingly small island there are so many different routes and views to explore and we had a sunny afternoon of walking, stone throwing, eating and drinking. Heading back to Hong Kong a little sunburnt and woozy we made our way to the fireworks. The shows here are incredible. Lasting a full 30 minutes (who even needs that many fireworks?!) the sky was filled with colour and shapes – including the Hong Kong flower and some monkey faces.
Our final day was a little more miserable, weather wise, and in order to make the end of the holiday feel as long as possible we decided to try and do all the boring things I haven’t got round to doing yet. Ironically we only got round to doing one because I enjoyed it so much that we spent hours there. The Museum of History is actually pretty great! It’s very interactive and immersive and I learnt a load about Hong Kong that I probably should have known for the past three years. I was lucky to have a history nerd tour guide but the museum itself was packed with interesting info. Highly recommended.
Happy Year of the Monkey!
Rest of my HK photos here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rebecca_hunt/albums/72157653018433868