The bright lights of Hong Kong

I’d really wanted to visit Hong Kong ever since I’d seen pictures of the beautiful skyline and the bright lights in the busy streets – and of course since I’d discovered there was a Disneyland there! It happened to be fairly close to the Philippines, which was our next destination, so we thought we’d make a quick stopover.

Hong Kong was another major culture shock – especially for a vegan. There were animal carcasses hanging in every window, tanks of fish you could view to select your meal, and a strong smell of meat and fish throughout the streets. Beside this, it was also so different to anything I’d ever really seen before. I’ve never been to China, but I’ve visited a number of Chinatowns in capital cities like Bangkok, KL and Singapore. Everything was written in Chinese and the people didn’t generally speak fluent English, which surprised me as I thought there’d be a strong English influence with it only being given back to China in 1997.

I vividly remember watching the handover on the BBC when I was 3 years old, being fascinated by the ceremony and in particular the brightly coloured dragons. It was a childhood-dream-come-true to visit the site of the handover and admire the monuments which recognise the occasion in real life. I loved watching it so much on the TV that my Grandad video recorded it for me and I watched it over and over again. I’m not sure why I wasn’t watching Teletubbies instead!

As my ankle is still quite painful, we decided to visit the main attractions on an open top bus tour so I didn’t have to walk so much. It was a great (lazy) way to see the city.

We also went to Lantau Island, home to Ngong Ping and the huge Buddha which sits high on top of a hill, which I really enjoyed. I found Buddhism when I was struggling with my mental health back home, so I really like visiting the monuments and temples when we’re in new places.

On our last day, we went to Disneyland Hong Kong, which I’d been looking forward to the most during our trip. We got there for opening time and even the Disneyland metro train had Mickey Mouse windows and handrails! I turned into a four year old and I was madly running around meeting all the characters and screaming their names. I seemed to forget about my ankle pain but it made up for it later when I got back on the train home and could barely climb stairs again!

Alex particularly enjoyed Toy Story Land and the best rides were Space Mountain and RC Racer. It was difficult to find vegan options in the park (and in Hong Kong generally) but after settling for fries and salad in Tomorrow Land we later discovered a food court that served vegan dals, curries and samosas! If you’re vegan/vegetarian and visiting Disneyland HK, definitely head to the Explorers Cafe in Mystic Point – it’s the only place with suitable options.

After four nights in HK we moved on to the Philippines. We’re currently in Cebu City and are working out our itinerary for the next few days. I’ve wanted to come to the Philippines for years so I’m really excited to be here, and I can’t wait to tell you about our time here.

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