Next to the hostel is Kowloon Park. While no Central Park, Hyde Park or even Birkenhead Park, it was nice to walk around to get a bit of personal space and peace while escaping the Hong Kong hustle and bustle.
On the Dragons Back hike yesterday, Michael told us that you can get great authentic dim sum without visiting fancy restaurants. According to TripAdvisor, one of the best places nearby was in the food court of a shopping mall. The queue was certainly big which usually means that it’s either good or fashionable. It certainly wasn’t a trendy looking establishment so I was hoping for the former. After a bit of pointing at pictures I managed to order and waited in a big group of people for the food be produced. The only problem was that the orders were being called out in Cantonese. I can just about figure out numbers in Spanish but had absolutely no idea here. Eventually I sensed that it was approximately my turn, looked for something that resembled my order and when nobody else stepped forward I just grabbed it! The food was indeed excellent. Soup and fried things look fairly basic but they tasted delicious.
There’s a free Kowloon walking tour every afternoon that meets at the iconic Clock Tower. The tour guide was Jamie from the UK. Jamie’s a bit of a Partridge-clone with plenty of cheesy clichéd anecdotes but is affable enough. He’s also very loud, an important attribute for this environment. We walked around Tsim Sha Tsui where a lot of refurbishment is taking place. The Avenue of Stars area is closed so I couldn’t get a photo with the Bruce Lee statue. From there we walked inland past the swanky Peninsula Hotel, along some alleyways selling authentic Hong Kong food, through a market and along Canton Street and its posh shops. The walking tour ended at the 1881 Heritage Centre where the former police headquarter colonial buildings have been tastefully been converted into a plaza and shopping centre overlooking Victoria Harbour.
The weekly Wednesday night horse racing meeting is quite possibly the best deal in Hong Kong. Entrance will set you back about £1.10. It’s an extremely popular night out. The large crowd consisted of tourists, the after-work scene and a lot of more hardened looking gamblers. Happy Valley Racecourse has a spectacular setting, completely surrounded by high-ride buildings. At night it looks spectacular all lit up. Unfortunately I couldn’t get any decent photos as there were far too many bright lights for my camera settings to cope with. Aside from the amazing location it was pretty much like most other race meetings that I’ve been to. Most patrons seemed more interested in boozing that the gee gees. A live band performed in between races in order to get the party atmosphere going but they weren’t the greatest. One particularly painfully bad moment was when they played a cover of Get Back, with the words changed to something that I couldn’t decipher. It was an interesting enough experience although a night out at the races is probably best enjoyed in a group of people rather than on your own.