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30/10/2013

What is Lucky Buns of Hong Kong

After a fairly gruelling day yesterday, I thought a slightly slower pace was called for today, so took John off to the Outlying Ferries Terminus for a ferry to Cheung Chau Island (houses some famous Hong Kong scenic spots). For the princely sum of £2.30 pp return we had an hour’s quiet ferry ride sailing out of Hong Kong Harbour, past the docks and bridges linking some of the closer islands to the mainland, including Lantau Island where the airport is now situated, eventually leaving the skyscrapers behind. When I say it was quiet, it would have been had it not been for the schoolchildren, many of whom were on their first outing on water judging from the theatrical way they were clinging to each other when we first set off on the calmest sea you could wish for. Unfortunately, they got used to it fairly quickly and their natural enthusiasm bubbled up and over ... it was fun to watch and chat to them, but oh, it was so good when we arrived and they chattered off elsewhere!

 

I have always loved Cheung Chau - it’s like taking a tiny step back in time, and provides a lovely break from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong (more via guide of travel to Hong Kong) and Kowloon. Firstly, there are no high rises, although there are some newer apartment buildings which look to have a few floors, most buildings are 2 or 3 stories. There are no cars, so transport is by bicycle or foot ... although irritatingly builders seem to have got round the rules (as they do world over!) and were using rather noisy trailers in which to zap along. There are also fire trucks and ambulances, but you don’t see them very much, and there aren’t many roads as such. Getting around is fairly easy as the ferry comes in to the ‘town’ which you can walk across in 5 minutes to arrive at a wonderful beach.

 

I’m still surprised that Cheung Chau remains a relatively undiscovered gem, with its fishing boats and seafood restaurants - although there were more tourists around at the moment as the island is gearing up for the Bun Festival which will be held on Friday to celebrate the Bhudda’s birthday. The whole place seemed to be in a frenzy of preparation - many lucky buns were being cooked and sold - and many were being built into bun towers, which would be scaled by young men on Friday trying to grab the most buns. There were also the preparations around the temple, with huge paper statues of the deities ready for marching through the streets.

 

We had a wonderful time ambling around, stopping occasionally to sit by the waterfront for a drink and to people watch - we watched the old lady pulling on the ferry rope to get across to her boat house, we saw the fisherman throwing a rope over a bollard to pull his boat in, we watched the fishermen pulling up their net of tiny fish and preparing them for their customers. A little bit of shopping meant that we now have our lucky bun Christmas decoration! We also had the most fantastic dish of minced pigeon in lettuce, which goes down as one of our favourite meals on the trip.

 

A much quieter return ferry trip saw us back to the frenetic activity on the mainland. Another attraction that has become a tourist must is the Symphony of Lights held every evening at 8pm - this consists of music being played whilst the lights on various buildings on both sides of the Harbour flash and blink and various lasers dance around the sky. It was a little worrying to see the clouds rolling ever lower as 8pm approached - in fact they started to creep around the top of some of the higher buildings - luckily they didn’t come any lower until the show finished. Would I recommend it? Hmm - I used to think that just standing looking at the buildings at night was pretty fantastic, I can’t honestly say that this added much to it for me. [For my part, I’d say it’s worth a visit, however, if you go with high expectations, you may come away a little disappointed.]

 

And finally, we were off to Temple Street Night Market (don't miss it for your Hong Kong tour packages)- not just to see what new and quirky items may be on sale in the UK at the end of the year (recordable dolls was my favourite), but also for something to eat in one of the many street stalls - another wonderful meal of smoked duck with fine slivers of ginger and some steamed prawns with enough garlic to ward off a host of vampires ... delicious!

Don't miss Hong Kong for your affordable China travel packages.

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