Beautiful yes, spectacular views, absolutely. Easy going? Well the jury’s still out on that one. It was pretty steep in places and not a walk I’d recommend to someone who wasn’t in the best of health or elderly as it was particularly hard on the knees and calves in places. Admittedly Melissa and I are on the wrong side of 35, but we’re both regular walkers and gym goers, in fact while in Hong Kong we walked 12miles per day on average, so we’re no lightweights when it comes to a bit of exercise, so I felt the Fodors guide cavalierly dismissing the walk down as easy going was a bit off the mark.
Nearing the bottom of the peak we passed luxury high rise apartment buildings that appeared to be chocka with western ex-pats and we consulted our map to locate the Midlevels escalators recommended by our numerous guidebooks as a sight worth seeing and described by Fodors as “a practical human mover, this is actually a 1-km-long (1/2-mi-long) combination of escalators and walkways that provide free, glass-covered transport up or down the steep incline between Central and Midlevels.”
It took us a while to find the escalators exactly due to a couple of critical roads being missing from our map, but we finally did and well…call us a couple of jaded New Yorkers if you will, but after the build up from Fodors I was expecting something much more impressive, something akin to the moving walkways at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas instead of something that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a 1970s British tower block. Hardly the 8th wonder of the world ;-)
After a wander around the Western and Central regions of Hong Kong Island we walked down to Central pier to take the iconic Star Ferry over to Kowloon. The trip takes a mere 7minutes and is as cheap as chips costing something like $2 Hong Kong Dollars for a single trip – about 30cents US. The only grumble for me was that Hong Kong harbour is well used – or it was that day - and so the trip was a bit rocky and despite such a brief trip I was feeling a bit queasy by the time we arrived in Kowloon, but nothing that a 5minute walk along Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade couldn’t cure.Next we hopped on the metro to the Diamond Hill stop to visit the stunning Chi Lin Buddhist nunnery which was built without any nails and instead uses a Tang Dynasty techniques to hold the structure together using wooden dowels and brackets.
Our next stop, the bustling Sik Sik Temple was a world of difference from the beautiful, serene Chi Lin Nunnery, a one stop shop for Taoist, Buddhist, and Confucianist temples where the air was thick with incense.
I probably should have taken this photo before we had eaten almost everything. You can see the gelatinous shrimp in the foreground.