Paris to Hong Kong:
My plane ride to Hong Kong from Paris was about 11 hours long, most of which was spent sleeping, as I wanted to conserve as much energy as possible for my full day in Hong Kong.
Because the flight from Paris had been delayed by an hour, it meant that I had 13 hours to kill in Hong Kong, rather than 14, so in the end, it wasn’t too bad.
Once arriving in Hong Kong I went through customs and headed to the luggage hold where I could store my carry-on suitcase while I left the airport. I then went to go find the public bus that would take me to the Ngong Ping Cable Car Terminal. I was quite nervous about going out and about in Hong Kong by myself. Although I had been on my own in London and Paris, London was a place where people all spoke English and I had lived in France for three months so I felt like I was quite familiar with the place. Hong Kong on the other hand, although a place I had visited before, was a completely different culture and a language that I knew next to nothing of.
Luckily there were signs everywhere in English, and the bus stop was really easy to find. The bus driver was also really lovely, I didn’t have the correct change for the bus so he let me on for free.
I caught the S1 Express Bus that went around Lantau Island, one of the stops being the Cable Car Terminal that goes across to Ngong Ping village. The weather was quite cool, something I hadn’t expected, so I wasn’t really dressed for the weather, wearing shorts and a t shirt.
I lined up for the standard Cable Car and hopped in with another group of people for the ride across the valley. The weather wasn’t great, so there were a lot of low lying clouds which made the experience quite eery, as you were completely surrounded by clouds and couldn’t see anything around you except a cable car coming from the opposite direction every now and then.
Once I got to Ngong Ping village I headed to the restaurants and cafes to find somewhere to eat because it was lunch time and I was starving. I opted for the Hong Kong style cafe where I just had a bowl of Won Ton noodle soup and a hot cup of kumquat tea. Both delicious, but pretty boring compared to what I could’ve eaten, but after being in the UK and eating next to no Asian food, anything was sufficient enough for me.
After gobbling down lunch I headed further into the village. To be honest, the “village” was more like a tourist attraction, lined with shops. My main reason for going to Ngong Ping was to see the giant Tian Tan Buddha, which is one of the five biggest Buddha statues in China. The walk up to the Buddha was tiring, but totally worth it. Not only did you get to see the magnificent Buddha up close, but you also got a beautiful view of the surrounding areas.
I spent quite a lot of time walking around the top and inside the Buddha before heading down to have a look at Po Lin Monastery. The architecture of the monastery was beautiful, and in the lower courtyards were rows of some of the biggest incense offerings I had ever seen. It was a really lovely atmosphere.
After a look around, I took a leisurely stroll back to the village and had a peek in all of the shops before heading back to the Cable Car Terminal, for a ride back to the Lantau Island terminal. This time, the cable car ride was a lot more scenic, as the clouds and parted a bit, so it was really cool to get the opportunity to have two completely different kinds of rides.
Once I got back to the terminal, I hopped onto the S1 Express Bus again, got to the airport, picked up my bags and headed to the check-in where I checked myself in and then headed to the private flight lounge where I hung out for the next 5 or 6 hours before my flight home.
Hong Kong to Auckland:
The flight home was quite uneventful. I slept, watched movies and ate. Arriving home was very surreal. After seven months of not seeing my family, it was definitely great to see everyone, but at the same time it was a pretty bittersweet moment, as it meant that my first big adventure had come to an end. Despite this, if I was given the opportunity to do it all again, I’m not sure I would, because everything about the trip was perfect (even when it didn’t seem it at the time,) and I wouldn’t change anything, even if I could!