Day 3 started off sunny, so I planned to head to the Big Buddha, aka the Tian Tan Buddha on the Ngong Ping island in Hong Kong. I really wanted to go across on the cable cars, as the views look amazing, but while I was there, they were closed for maintenance for a few months. So I had to catch the underground and then the bus.
The journey was quite a trek away, and by the time I had finished my 45 minute journey on the underground, I was welcomed to rain and thunder. Lots of it. The kind that gets you soaked within 2 seconds. I was stood in shorts and a vest, as the skies were completely blue in the centre of Hong Kong when I left the hostel, with no signs of rain coming at all. Luckily I had my lightweight rain jacket in my bag, incase of emergencies, but even that was soaked after 5 minutes, the rain was that bad. It’s safe to say when it rains in Hong Kong, it rains. I hung around for half hour, debating whether to bother getting the bus up to the Buddha. It had gone really foggy, so I couldn’t see much point in going up if I wasn’t going to see anything. Plus I couldn’t see the point of getting completely soaked. After half hour, it was getting worse, so I decided to give up and head back into the city, with plans to do other things I had planned to do on other days. I planned to head back to the Buddha another day.
By the time I had got into the city, the rain and thunder was there too. Typical! I headed back to the hostel to edit some photos, hoping the rain would eventually pass. A couple of hours later, it was still there with no signs of stopping. And according to my weather app on my phone, it was going to be there all day. Not wanting to waste a day, I decided to get out in it, and just get wet and suck it up. On the plus side, it had cooled down a little, as before it was so humid.
I headed across to the central district to see the Hard Rock Cafe. I have a thing where I try to visit a Hard Rock Cafe in every city I visit. So far Prague had been my favourite. They’re expensive, but the drinks are nice, and they play decent music, so it was a win win on a rainy day. I wandered through the tiny streets in the district, and I ended up getting lost. But this paid off. I got to see all the tiny street food places where the locals hung about. Not a tourist in sight, apart from me of course. Barely any of the people spoke English, which was nice, as this is the kind of Hong Kong I wanted to see. I eventually got back onto the tourist route, and found the Hard Rock Cafe. It’s safe to say it’s not the usual impressive Hard Rock Cafe. But the drinks were just as nice as always. It cost me $85HKD for a mocktail, which is nearly £9, which is a lot for something that has no alcohol in it, but Hard Rock Cafe’s are always expensive.
I looked what was around in the area, and it turns out the Man Mo Temple was nearby, which is something I wanted to see while in Hong Kong. It’s not a popular tourist spot, and many people don’t know about it. But I had seen it on instagram before heading to Hong Kong, and it looked like it was worth a visit. I got there to be surprised that it was free to get in. They have a donations box if you do want to contribute anything. The temple is a lot smaller than I expected. Literally in 5 minutes, you have walked all the way around it. It’s impressive with the cages on the ceiling, but I would say it’s not worth a visit, unless you have some spare time and are nearby. I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit this temple. There’s a reason it’s not well known on the tourist route.
Man Mo Temple
With the temple visit not taking up a lot of my time, and it still raining, I decided to get back on the underground and head over to some markets at the other side of town. I had heard about the flower, bird and goldfish market. Again, I had seen these on instagram, and with me not wanting to sit in a hostel dorm all afternoon, I decided to go pay them a visit. I headed to the flower market first, as this was the furthest away. It’s basically a street with lots of florists. You do see some impressive, unusual flowers, but if you’re not into that kind of thing, it’s not worth the trek, as it is far away from everything else. Luckily it was near the bird market, so I was able to see that at the same time. This was a lot smaller than I expected, and is the only occasion in Hong Kong I felt like I wasn’t welcomed by the locals. They clearly knew that I was there just to see what it was all about, rather than buy anything. They also weren’t keen on me standing there and taking photos. The birds are locked up in cages, with lots of other birds. It’s not exactly comfortable to see, if you’re an animal lover like myself. But I was in China, it’s not exactly known to be forward on animal rights, so surprisingly, I wasn’t surprised.
Bird Market, Hong Kong
Clearly not being welcome there, I quickly headed out and towards the goldfish market. This was even more uncomfortable than the bird market. Fish in tiny little bags, that were far too small for them, lined up in the sun. I also came across little boxes with loads of turtles in. Again, they were climbing all over each other, and it wasn’t exactly animal friendly. Already feeling uncomfortable, but again, not surprised in the slightest, I came across the worst thing I saw that day. Tiny puppies and kittens, packed into glass boxes, in the sun, with no food, and little water. It was horrible to see. Being a huge dog lover, I wanted to buy them all, just to get them out, it was that bad to watch. Unfortunately, this is the reality of buying a “pet” in China. Again, the locals weren’t too happy that I was taking photos, so I had to be sneaky about it. They clearly knew it was wrong, which is why I was taking photos, but were still happy to carry on doing it. The worst thing is, people were actually in the shops buying them as pets. The locals weren’t baffled about it at all. They were even more baffled when I asked if one of the dogs could get some water, as he looked like he was passed out in the glass box, and had none left. The boxes had a tiny hole to get air in, which is nowhere near enough. It would be bad enough if they were all in cages, never mind a glass box, which must have been boiling with the humidity.
Puppies kept in glass boxes
For the first time in Hong Kong, I began to hate it. As much as I really want to explore China in the future, I don’t think I would be very comfy with seeing that on a regular basis. Which is a given in China.
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