It's been ten years since I last visited Hong Kong. It has grown a lot and new skyscrapers continue to fill the air space.
We were docked the first day and evening out at the new cruise terminal of Kai Tek, which used to be the old (and very scary to land at) airport. Tales abound about how you could look out the window of the plane and see someone shaving in their apartment, the landing strip was that narrow! Later in the evening the ship was going to move to the Harbour Cruise Terminal, a favorite among our passengers because of the prime location next to the Star Ferry and Kowloon.
With two days to spend here, I opted to DIM (do it myself) and go to the Po Monastery where a giant Buddha is located, a 2 hour trek outside the city to Lantau Island. First, I had to take ship's shuttle to the drop off point in front of the swanky Peninsula Hotel. Then I found my way to the metro subway where I took two different lines in order to find Bus #23 to the Buddha. It was easy enough to do and the entire round trip cost me $10 US. The ship had a tour going there for $175. Yeah.
I spent several out there, climbing the 328 steps up to the Buddha. OMG. That was a doozy, but a quick recovery. The view was beautiful and worth every huff and puff. After coming back down I walked the "wisdom path" which was a nice quiet meandering footpath out to a group of totem- like posts set in a figure eight. Each post had Chinese wording depicting the Heart Sutra, a popular sutra in Buddhism that roughly translates into the meditation of the heart of the perfection of wisdom.
Upon my return and quasi enlightenment, I visited the monastery. It's a living working one, and I was fortunate to be able to witness and share in some of the chanting of the monks. A big thrill!
When I got back to the ship, I made a last minute decision to join an evening tour to Victoria Peak and a tram ride through some of the city market areas. It was full on dark when we got to the peak and the views of the city far below were really awesome.