Our accommodation in Kowloon is at the Hotel Panorama and we are located on Level 36 so our room and bathroom have great views of Victoria Harbour.
The hotel has a room on the 39th floor that we are invited to use, The Rhombus Club, here we get free wi-fi and use of the bar for breakfast and drinks and nibbles of an evening. The views are even better from here and we enjoy the Light Show whilst sipping a drink and eating canapés
The rain in the morning brings out the humidity full on , so walking along the harbourfront is a little cooler but still hot, damn hot, and so many people were out in the heat. We joined everyone and used our umbrellas for shade, they are probably the most used item in Asia, as it is needed when it rains and when its not raining they used for the sun. The humidity and heat zaps the energy so a rest back in air-conditioning is welcomed
After a rest we familiarised ourselves with the local surrounding streets and stumbled across a Vietnamese Restaurant that local were at, it was nice to sit in air-conditioning and have a noodle soup and rice for under $20 for 2 .
The coolness of the trees at Kowloon Park was welcomed and the flamingos and tiny turtles were a highlight and so was the sculpture garden, especially the shell sculpture with its intricate patterns.
The street life was hectic both day and night with the Indian tailors the most annoying, the ethnic chinese were all very polite and didn’t hassle at all.
There is a fascinating mix of old and new buildings and at last there is some effort to preserve the heritage of the colonial past.
Buddha’s Birthday Fri 21st May. We thought we would be clever and avoid any temples etc today as it is a public holiday and big celebrations for Buddha’s birthday, and decided to go to Macau instead. To our dismay when we got to the ferry terminal many locals had the same idea. We had to wait for over an hour to get on a ferry with vacant seats, but decided we were there so what the heck, go with the flow.
It was an easy fast ferry ride for about an hour and a bus ride up to the old town where the Portuguese architecture and street paving abounds. We wandered with the crowds and also found a few back streets that were much quieter, so we took the path less travelled but joined in with the crowds to see the ruins of St Paul’s Church.
A break for a Chinese lunch of noodles and rice and we then went and looked at some of the Casinos as the heat of the day was getting to us and the air-conditioning was calling once again. First went to the Grand Lisboa Casino as the architecture had us baffled and John was keen to check out the building. We found where most of the people from the ferry were, the gamblers were everywhere at the tables, it was mind boggling.
As John is not a gambler at all I had a flutter on a couple of poker machines and lost a whopping HK$50, –around $8 Aussie. We then went to the original 60’s building Lisboa Casino across the street, this was a classic building inside, just like the old casinos in the movies. We stopped for a cocktail at the Wynn Casino, which is a replica of the one in Las Vegas, a very classy building and we felt a bit out of place inside.
Saturday saw another hot day and I was feeling in need of a massage with aching neck and back. We caught a train up to the new Elements Mall and the W hotel. We booked in for a massage at the W but could only get a booking for the 2 of us later in the day, so we wandered the Mall and had some sushi train (the one at the Warringah Mall is so much better!!) and then saw a Movie to while the time away before our massage, We had time after the movie to enjoy a high tea at the W and then had a blissful 75min massage at Bliss. The massage was just what we both needed, but give me one from Beth any day, she is hard to beat.
We caught the train across to Hong Kong Island and had a cocktail at the 4 Seasons Hotel Bar, there were free appetisers too and the satay sticks were great!! We trained back to Kowloon and stayed down at the harbour to watch the Light Show from there. It was a very cloudy and hazy evening so the laser show did not work as well and we were glad we had a fine evening when we watched it from the Sky garden of our hotel.
Our train pass got more good use today and John has the trains wired so we connect trains to see the Big Buddha on Lantau Island . It was raining on and off all morning but we were lucky and it held off for us on the cable car up tothe site.
We made our way to the steps first to beat the crowds coming up behind and this was a good move. Looking at the steps was a bit daunting but they disappeared easily as we made our way and stopping for photos gave a breather in between. It was a very special experience and one I’m so glad we did.
The rain started up again on our way back down the stairs but we didn’t get too wet and then we stopped for some food. The Monastery was our next stop and this was ideal to spend some time watching the visitors and also snapping with the camera the many photographic subjects.
There were so many decorations and flags everywhere for the Buddha’s birthday celebrations that added to the overall experience.
The Temple complex was very peaceful exept for the massive dinning room for the visitors, the biggest vegetarian restaurant you will ever see.
After our cable car ride back down we connected trains through to Kowloon and thought we’d try to have high tea at the Peninsula Hotel. Unfortunately lots of other people had the same idea, so we waited in a queue for a while but gave up, we thought we’d then try the Sheraton at their SkyBar but John was refused entry as his socks were showing, as he was wearing shorts so we had a laugh that if he’d had thongs on he would have been ok!! He was good enough for the Pen but not for the Sheraton.
We wandered back to our local K11 shopping centre and had a Japanese lunch and then had a half hour foot and leg massage that was excruciating but hopefully will help the aching feet and prepare us for the flight to Rome.