would give us a ride into the city because she was going that way anyways…. For a small fee, of course. Us, being the savvy travelers that we are, did not fall for her crap and walked away towards the actual taxi drivers after her trying for a solid 2 minutes to get us into her car (kind of creepy). So, if you ever go to Shanghai, watch out for these “friendly airport employees” – trust me, it’s a scam. After finally getting an actual taxi, we got to our hotel at like 2am and went straight to bed. We were exhausted from 4 days in Hong Kong so trying to catch up on some sleep was necessary.
Important thing to know is that my boyfriend and I are fairly relaxed travelers. We don’t really wake up early to get a super early start to our day, as we wanted to relax during this mini vacation. Our first day, we woke up in-time for the breakfast the hotel offered and went back to our room after to hang out for a little bit longer before exploring the city (we probably fell back asleep). Around noon, we started our day, first stop being The Bund, the waterfront where you have an amazing view onto the skyline of Shanghai. It was superrrr windy and super cloudy (pollution) but the view was incredible. I never thought I would see this skyline in real life, so this was one of the most exciting things of this city trip.
After taking the usual millions of pictures, we walked along the waterfront towards the Yu Garden. We didn’t really know where we were going, making it a good way to explore all the little streets in that part of Shanghai. We walked through this tiny bamboo forest with a bunch of cats everywhere -- it was literally full of cats eating catfood.
We both decided on the Jing’an Temple, being one of the more popular temples in Shanghai (I think). We took our time as we explored the gorgeous temple, trying to see every part of
After snacking and shopping at Tianzifang, we had dinner in the French Concession which I am pretty sure is a very popular neighborhood for expats because that’s basically all we saw there. After 5 months of only Taiwanese and other Asian foods, I didn’t feel that bad for not fully taking advantage of the Chinese food Shanghai had to offer – that night, we had nachos at an Irish pub…. In China haha.
Victoria Harbor is one of the first things I always go see in Hong Kong. The harbor gives you a beautiful panorama view of the Hong Kong Island skyline and is a perfect way to start your stay in Hong Kong (as you kind of get a sense of how big and how insane it is). You can walk around the waterfront and enjoy the gorgeous skyline. Avenue of the Stars is also at the waterfront of Victoria Harbor, where you can walk through and relive some of the most celebrated moments in Asia’s movie industry with sculptures of a bunch of famous stars (while still enjoying the view of the skyline).
Symphony of Lights
Perhaps my favorite time to go to the waterfront to see the skyline of Hong Kong island is at night when all the lights are on. To make it even better, every night at 8pm the skyline of Hong Kong lights up to perform one of the world’s best light shows. With the help of LED screens, search lights, lasers, and lighting, the beautiful light show is performed. In my opinion, I was a little disappointed in the two light shows I saw. It was definitely cool to see and would recommend it to any first-time visitors in Hong Kong, but I was expecting something different.
fun at the time…) and walking through the woods towards our end-point. We ended our hike at the cutest little local beach called Big Wave Beach. Local surfers were surfing in the water while we, more specifically... me, were just relaxing on the beach after our 3-4 hour hike. Dragon’s Back is not the only hiking trail Hong Kong has to offer, but definitely one that should be on your to-do list.
clothes or souvenirs. If you are used to night markets in Taiwan (like me), these are a lot different… no food, no drinks, just cheap clothes and souvenirs – so we did not stay very long. Popular night markets people visit in Hong Kong are the Ladies Market and Temple Street night market.
Ready to explore the night life Hong Kong has to offer?? Take a taxi to Lan Kwai Fong and explore the streets filled with bars, restaurants, and clubs. Going out in Lan Kwai Fong was one of the highlights of my first trip to Hong Kong. The streets were packed with people and music. Being in this amazing country, with these amazing people, having drinks with good music – again, priceless!!! We started our night at this little bar located on a street corner that had great deals on shots…😏 After, we headed to a club where we stayed for the rest of the night, enjoying each other’s company and loving life. The atmosphere in Lan Kwai Fong is one I hope everyone will one day experience.
This location is a little bit more for those who are into taking photos and like cool, unique, and more local spots. In this estate, on top of some random parking lot, there is one of the coolest photo spots I have ever been to. I really don’t know how to describe it or what it is used for (besides instagrammers trying to get the perfect picture). On top of this parking lot you also get a nice view of typical Hong Kong apartment buildings; colorful and a lot of apartments in one building. If you want a cool picture and have some extra time -- take an Uber to the Lok Wah Estate.
The Chi Lin Nunnery was a very peaceful and calming place. The nunnery is in the middle of the city and high-rise buildings, but it is a super quiet place. While exploring, you will see visitors pray and worship the Gods, so another place to experience this part of the Hong Kong culture. When you have seen everything, you can head down to the Nan Lian Garden to walk through another quiet and calm place in the middle of busy Hong Kong. The garden is a decent size, so take your time to enjoy it fully.
Hong Kong is one of my favorite Asian cities I have traveled to, so I recommend it to anyone looking for their next destination! This lists only a few of the many things to do, so I hope to add to this list in the future when I visit Hong Kong again!
PS: check out my video montage of my last trip to HK at the top of this post :)
It was a 3+ hour drive there, so we didn’t really get to see the little beach village in the daylight on our first day, but the vibes in the evening were nevertheless amazing! We stayed in the area of Panagsama beach (incase anyone cares). After arriving at our Airbnb, we went out right away to go explore. There were little restaurants, bars, massage places, souvenirs shops, etc. about 5 minute walk from our house, so it was perfect. We had dinner, some drinks, and later went for a much needed massage (that only cost 5€..). A very nice, relaxing night after a whole day of traveling!
Regardless of the occasional slipping off of a rock, or getting carried away by the strong current and having your tour guide grab your arm (aka life saver), it was a lot of fun. I don’t think I have done anything this “thrill seeking” in a while. I honestly felt like we were on an episode of survivor and we had to find our way back to civilization by hiking and climbing through the jungle. After 5 hours of “canyoneering” and two scratched up and blue knees, we made it out of the jungle alive. 💪🏼🐒
However, like 20 minutes later the rain started to really come down. Being on a public beach, there was no place to sit with a decent roof, so we hid under a tree, which still got us as wet as just standing in the open rain. The thing I hate most about rain is having my clothes get soaked and not being able to properly dry them, and because we were traveling to the next location a few hours later, this was going to be the case; traveling 2 hours with a bag of wet clothes. Putting my drama queen attitude aside, I knew everything was going to get wet regardless so we enjoyed the remainder of the morning and went into the ocean; enjoying the warm water while outside of the water it was getting pretty cold.
Before heading for lunch, we went back to our airbnb and got into some clean, dry clothes. Then we were picked up by another one of those tricycle motorcycle taxi rides to bring us to where we could get some food and also take a bus later to go down south to Oslob.
Getting a bus took foreverrrr, and whenever one passed us it was always so full that people were even standing where the doors usually close. Luckily, these two taxi guys started talking to us and offered a private ride down to Oslob for a certain price. After some negotiating (which you really have to do in this country because they might take advantage of the situation if you don’t play hard) our HUGEEE (limo) van arrived and drove us down about 2 hours.
During dinner, we had made the plan for the following day which would require us to wake up around 6am. At the time, we didn’t really look forward to waking up this early, but wow… it was so, so worth it.
Getting a very, very early start to today, we also started the day with a very, very exciting activity. We had signed up to go swimming, in open water, with whale sharks!!! These animals are super safe for humans and (I don’t think) can do any harm to us, which makes it a little less bad-ass for swimming with them but WOW, I DON'T CARE - IT WAS AWESOME.
Today, we would leave Oslob and go back north to the city of Cebu. This being our last day, we thought it’d be best to go back closer to the airport so we didn’t have to leave at 2am with a bus to catch our flight early Tuesday morning.