Walking around Hong Kong especially during cold months is an exhilarating experience. I thought of Hong Kong as a perfect bonding place for me and my mom. On February (2011), I brought my mother to Hong Kong thinking it would be nice for her to experience traveling and getting a glimpse of this city I chose to come here on a Chinese New Year as I was thinking it would be better to visit HK during these dates. There’s a Filipino-Chinese community in Manila so I’m pretty familiar with how they celebrate their lunar year. But all I’m really hankering for is a real vacation with some action after covering a very busy election time in the Philippines.
I was here first in February 2010, covering a presidential candidate who went here to campaign. As you well know, there’s a strong Filipino community in Hong Kong as it is a popular and most sought after destination of Filipinos who wish to work abroad or simply want a lovely holiday. However, a lot of them are here to work as a household helper or caregiver. It was Sen. Manny Villar’s time to rally support from the overseas Filipino workers (OFW) based here and was met with a warm welcome from Pinoys. Coincidentally, Hong Kong was celebrating Chinese New Year when we arrived. Though we had a hectic schedule, we were able to squeeze a visit to Mongkok, ride a ferry going to Central, go window/shopping in Central and stroll along Tsim Tsa Tsui which was so crowded the night we were trying to find our way back to our hotel. It was because people were streaming through the streets to watch the Chinese New Year parade.
A visit to Mongkok is a must especially if you want to shop for cheap deals, rip-off items and a chance to savor popular Hong Kong street foods. There, you also get to see street performers such as the girl I saw playing an unfamiliar musical instrument. I was even unfortunate to get lost here. Good thing one of my friend, a fellow reporter, happened to see me at the corner of a Nike store.
After this sojourn, I resolved to come back here for a vacation. This time, with my mother, the trip was more relaxing and laidback. Walking along TST was fun as I found out more tourist attractions worth visiting.
It’s best to walk around Hong Kong’s major arteries by day. Mom and I walked along Nathan Road, also known as the Golden Mile, which is Kowloon’s major artery. At night this road glows with neon lights as shops beckon each traveler to come in and splurge their money. During Chinese New Year, you can count on huge discounts and you can even buy designer labels, high-end clothing at a lower, cheaper price. We hied off to the popular Kowloon Park. It’s one of the city’s most peaceful spot as it offers a variety of gardens. There’s a Chinese garden, a large aviary and walking trail that’s enveloped by trees.
It’s also nice to note that it’s taking a strong stance for environmental awareness and preservation. The park is also home to the Hongkong Heritage Discovery Center. We didn’t get inside though, and instead basked outside for some more pictures.
Following the pathway, we walked up to the Gateway Boulevard to see the city’s seafaring activities. The view is absolutely breathtaking. There are also 5-star hotels lined up here. Plus, it gives out that urban feel when you see star ferries, cruise ships and massive cargo boats glide past. My mom would gamely pose outside luxury brand shops at Gateway. However, we did not dare buy any items here as it’s expensive. You can find other shops nearby anyway where you can get cheap deals and bargain.
For upscale Chinese arts and crafts, duck inside the Chinese Arts and Crafts shop just near the Harbor. I think it’s opposite 1881 Heritage. If want to buy jade, you can rely on this store but count on it to be pricey. Or you can go to Jade Market at the Jade Plaza in Canton Road.
That day, Harbor City is abuzz with so many activities in preparation for the Chinese New Year parade. It’s a good experience to watch participants from different countries and cities eagerly prepare for the night. The stunning views of the harbor is really breathtaking.
We walked some more until we reached the Avenue of the Stars where you could find the plaques and hand prints of Hong Kong’s greatest and most famous film stars.
Truly, there is so much more to see in Hong Kong. And I know this is one favorite moment to remember.