My first day in Hong Kong was amazing. After getting off the plane I found the Hong Kong Tourism Board in the airport. I talked to a woman who told me everything I needed to know about the city. She gave me a list of hotels and wrote down which bus to take and which bus stop I needed to use. She told me about the Octopus Card to use the city’s transit system and showed me where to get one. She gave me a map of the city and a subway transit map and told me about 6 different places to visit and which train stops to use. Everything I accomplished today went smoothly because of her.
I took a bus and found a hotel. The first hotel I found was fully booked because of the Chinese new year. The second hotel was pricier than I wanted. So I started wandering down the street and walked into a nook in the wall hotel. I asked the man on the first floor if they had any rooms available, but he didn’t understand English. I think the first floor was apartments. I walked up to the second floor but the hotel was locked. Each floor has signs for a hotel on the next floor. On the 3rd or 4th floor I asked a man about a hotel (each hotels door was locked and I was worried that they were hostels that you had to book online or with the man on the first floor. And that they were all booked too which was why he was telling me he couldn’t help me). He pressed a button by the door and a woman let me in, but she doesn’t speak English. With his limited English he helped interpret my requests to the receptionist who was able to give me a room for $500 HKD per night (about $65 a night). This is more than I wanted to budget, but I was ready to set my bags down and explore the city.
After taking a quick breather in my hotel room, I set off for my first destination. The 10,000 Buddhas Monastery. The people here are incredibly friendly. When I ask for directions everyone is accommodating and polite. Hong Kong is very easy to navigate and pretty soon I don’t need help asking for any help to find my way around.
The Monastery is incredible. The pathways are lined with hundreds of tall golden Buddha statues. No two are alike. At the top there are numerous temples, and the main temple has over 12,000 miniature Buddha statutes lining its four walls. This is where the monastery gets its name.
After leaving the monastery I went to a small restaurant to get lunch. I got chicken with seasonal vegetables and a bowl of rice. I also got an iced milk tea of some sort that I really liked. The restaurant was busy and every seat was put to use, regardless of whether or not someone was already at that table. This gave me a great opportunity to start conversations with people and I was able to get to talk to a man from Norway who was volunteering nearby. His mom was here visiting him and we had some great conversation.
After lunch I took the subway to a garden and then to a temple. Then I took the subway back to my hotel area.
By the end of the day my feet have gotten pretty tired. Despite my best efforts to break in my new hiking boots before my trip, I’m starting to get some blisters and will need some moleskin tomorrow before I go to the Giant Buddha and do some more hiking.