Maxim’s Palace, Sheung Wan, and The Peak

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Woke up at 9ish to get ready for dimsum at Maxim’s Palace in City Hall. Wanted to beat the noon crowd. Doors open at 11am so we plotted to be there for door opening.

We planned to take the free hotel buses, but the 10:15 was an intense free for all kinda thing. Felt like might get herded on the wrong bus.

So we went back to the reliable #6 bus which drops you in Central and departs from the front of the Cosmo Hotel.

The octopus card is so useful–just tap it to board the bus and it deducts from your card. No need for exact change.

OL has the idea to get off near the Peak tram, so we do. Two steps off the bus and and older Brit asks us where we are going. We say City Hall and he asks why we are here. I throw OL under the bus and say it was his idea.

Brit guy has lived in HK 25 years. He just returned from a trip to Lake Tahoe. Tell him I lived in San Diego. He escorts us most of the way and then shows us the underpass and indicates where City Hall building is.

He told us that the new HSBC building had to have millions of dollars of renovations because feng shui expert said escalators were placed wrong.

He also pointed out a building under construction and said that it was office buildings which were torn down to build ritz carlton which was torn down to now rebuild office buildings.

Very interesting fellow. And super nice to help us out.

When we part ways, OL navigates us to City Hall. We make out way to second floor at 10:40. First in line. Lol.

The entry doors are made of glass and behind the green velvety curtains. The room is all crystal chandeliers, white wainscoting. Very elegant and posh. Overlooking Victoria Harbour.

The waiters are so attentive. The dimsum ladies helpful. All the carts have the food names in English and Chinese. The tea a flavorful jasmine.

And the dimsum. Steamed pork buns, baked pork buns pastries, sesame balls, shrimp noodle crepes, barbecued pork noodle crepes, sticky rice in lotus leaf, steamed eggplant with bean paste, taro puffs, shanghai dumplings, shrimp dumplings.

Stuffed. Six pots of tea and I can move again.

The dimsum place floods with people around 12pm.

The people watching is amazing. Group dynamics at their best.

By the time we leave, there is a line waiting for tables.

We waddle out and head to Des Voeux Rd Central, which is all fifth avenue shops. boring for me. Much of HK feels like malls and shopping. To Li Yuen St for street market.

Wander among stalls of Graham St. Which is like an outdoor alley of fruits and veggies. Got to see more of the old HK in Sheung Wan.

Walked through Soho on way to Man Mo Temple. Walked through antique stores before visiting the temple. The temple is the best one we saw in HK. Definitely worth a visit.

However, the tourists completely disregarded the no photo sign and used flash inside the temple, while people were praying and lighting incense. So freaking disrespectful.

We paused at the park across the street before continuing on to Hillier St. There were several restaurants and we decided we must hit Sheung Wan for food sometime.

Saw a bit of Bonham Strand and Wing Lok St. Main drags. Took subway from Sheung Wan to central, saw the Chater Garden which has some nice picture possibilities. We went inside the Bank of China Tower and got visitor passes to go to the 43 Rd floor observation area for nice views of the city.

Mist and clouds made visibility low, but we still enjoyed ourselves.

We continued onward, to The Peak Tram. Used our Octopus cards to ride the tram up. It’s a bit warm inside and not comfy at all. But a great HK memory. Especially since the tram almost goes vertical.

The place the tram stops, the Peak Galleria, is a tourist trap. And they had the dirtiest bathrooms I’ve yet experienced in HK. Don’t freak out at the squatter toilets, continue back a few stalls and there are toilets.

We went to the ground floor to exit and stumbled on the picturesque restaurant. From there, we meandered down a foggy one lane road that doubled as the Morning Trail. Total escape from the shopping.

We got to see the tropical wonderland that is HK’s heart.

We walked 0.6km and then returned, opting to take a bus back to Central instead of the tram. Once was enough for us.

The bus got a bit crowded, but dropped us in Central where we could grab a subway to Sheung Wan for dinner.

Weirdly, all the restaurants we remembered seeing didn’t seem so appetizing anymore. We went into one, sat down, and I just couldn’t work the menu. So we went to another. The food was so-so. The milk tea was wicked bitter. Sugar made it almost drinkable.

Another trip to McDonalds in Times Square.

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