As Dorothy once said “There’s no place like home”. Too true, and it was wonderful to Back on the Back of the Ferry with a full turnout of the Foundation members – illiards, Lamb0, pommy_ch, oomploloompa and yours truly. It might have been dark, but the air was mild and the view as always spectacular. The Rhapsody of Seas let off a few blasts and for a moment it looked we’d be blocked for a run, but the MV Narrabeen claimed home town privileges and we were given an inside passage. We were rewarded with a marvellous view of the cruise ship silhouetted by the coathanger. Great to catch up with the lads – with my first Australian beer in 11 days – the go-to Coopers Green Pale Ale.
This latest trip to Hong Kong was my best yet. It was longest trip I’ve done, during the week I had great night time buddies supplemented by the local knowledge and I’d done some research to make days as a tourist pretty interesting. A highlight of the trip was a visit to the centuries old fishing village of Tai O, which on the far west of Lantau Island. Lantau Island is best known for the Big Buddha, its cable car Hong Kong Disneyland and that Hong Kong airport adjoins it. There’s plenty more to it than that. Despite the towering apartments of Tung Chung, the majority of Lantau Island is mountainous forested mountains with a number of beaches that apparently go off in the hotter weather. There’s a few villages and larger towns like Mui Wo and no shortage of Westerners live on Lantau and do the daily commute to Hong Kong Island. Despite its relatively isolated location Tai O is easily accessed by bus or taxi. Tai O is a village where a view of the water is key. There are tight little lanes, lined by restaurants, dried fish shops and souvenir shops. The smell of fish pervades the air. For $25HKD ($4ish aussie) a covered, elongated punt takes you up the river past the stilt houses and then out to sea to look for pink dolphins. You also see planes coming into land and the start of the Hong kong-Macau-Zhuhai road bridge. Despite being surrounded by the modernity, Tai O retains a lovely quiet charm.
The more times you visit HK, the more there is to discover. The ferries and the islands to which they take you will be re-visited. The New Territories are a little piece of China without having to get a visa (just need to co-incide the visit with bar opening hours). There’s more to Honkers than Central, Wanchai and LKF. Causeway Bay will be re-visited and the dark-side of Kowloon offers plenty of adventures. Best bar of the tour had to be the Roundhouse. Looking forward to taking a crowd there. Made it back to the Hong Kong Brewhouse for a third time and enjoyed a very good Sevens Stout. Best beer was Young Master Ales Rye Old Fashioned. Worst beer – Watermelon Wheat. Most unexpected beer – 961 Red Ale from Lebanon. Best feed was the Beijing Restaurant. Worst feed. No such thing as a bad feed in HK. Funniest moment was going to X-Bar – four floors above the Beijing Restaurant, getting into an intense game of darts and then realising that we were in a fairly intense gay bar. Still – I doubled out on 16 – so I was happy. Best view – Sugar. Best island – Cheung Chau.