Rise and Shine at Causeway Bay
The Park Lane Hong Kong Pullman Hotel was indeed a great hotel to stay in the Causeway Bay area. We had a great time shopping around the hotel but more importantly a great night sleep in luxury in our very modern nicely furnished room. In fact, we didn’t feel like getting up early. But missing out on the happenings in Hong Kong for morning breakfast would be a pity. We wished to see the authentic face of Hong Kong and not just the usual touristy places which we had already visited in the past.
After pulling away the curtains, we thought we could catch sunrise from our room windows facing east, but the weather wasn’t too good after the recent typhoon. There were fast passing clouds turning the scenery outdoor gloomy but bright again from time to time when the sun managed to pierce through some clouds. The city view and the partial sea view were quite pretty whenever sufficient sun light brightened up the place.
Authentic Hong Kong Breakfast
Having spoken to one of the concierge staff the previous evening, we had some idea where we might want to sample Hong Kong breakfast. So we left the hotel and went out to explore the surrounding. The city was quiet but people were on the move. It was time for the locals to get to work. Their quicken pace on the streets was understandable.
We walked past Entrance E of Causeway Bay Station and then crossed the main road towards Times Square. After walking through a few streets, we spotted a traditional Hong Kong restaurant where locals were having breakfast. So we went in and took the remaining table with two seats. Like any typical Hong Kong restaurant, it was a little cramped inside. The restaurant was however, bright, modern and clean.
Anyway, we ordered two different breakfast sets. We loved the lotus leaf glutinous rice and the noodle soup with luncheon meat sets that came with coffee or tea. It was a good breakfast to start our day. So one item on our wish list was fulfilled here in Tai Hing Restaurant.
Times Square at Causeway Bay
After breakfast, we explored this side of Causeway Bay neighbourhood. We soon reached Times Square nearby. The mall was still pretty quiet when we arrived after breakfast. We walked up a few floors and then went up to check out a luxury brands outlet sale on a high floor in one of the office towers.
Up there, many luxury branded stuff were on sale. The discounts were pretty substantial. Branded goods on sale were belts, watches, clothes, shoes, bags and many other luxury items. I was quite tempted to get another jacket but I had already bought a suit in Guangzhou last December so I didn’t make any purchase. After a quick walkthrough, we decided to head elsewhere to enjoy Hong Kong street scenes.
From Times Square, we entered Causeway Bay Station from one of the underground entrances. It was actually raining by the time we left Times Square. We chatted with one of the staff there and was told Hong Kong transportation came to a standstill a few days back during the typhoon. We were rather glad it was over by the time we arrived Hong Kong. So a little rain wasn’t going to dampen our spirit during this trip.
Authentic Hong Kong at Sham Shui Po
The train station was busy as usual. We boarded a train and three stations later, we exited Central Station. From there, we took a long walk on the underground passage and then changed train to Kowloon. Five stations later, we exited at Sham Shui Po Station. A visit to Mong Kok the previous evening was a disappointment. So we would check out this other neighbourhood nearby.
Once we got up to the street level, the rain had subsided but the streets were still wet. It was still drizzling from time to time as we hit the streets. Over in Sham Shui Po, the ambiance was very different. Although the street stalls looked pretty much the same like those at Mong Kok, the vendors were obviously locals. We were pretty comfortable speaking with them in Cantonese.
The stalls here were not so much meant for tourists but for the locals residing here. The market is here as well. It is pretty much like a wet market in some sections in the neighbourhood. Vegetables, meats and many daily provisions are available here. Of course clothes, bags, belts, phone covers, ear pieces and many other necessities can be bought from the street stalls. Some of these stalls were in the process of opening during late morning.
The street scenes here may not look clinically hygienic and in fact pretty messy and untidy with those unsightly umbrellas opened up to shade vendors and market goers from the rain. This however, is typically authentic Hong Kong. The sights, the sounds and the smell are the real face of Hong Kong. This neighbourhood is not a mocked up tourists trap to sell pretty much the same overpriced stuff to oversea visitors.
Lunch at Tim Ho Wan in Sham Shui Po
So we were very happy to soak in the atmosphere here and soon it was time to look for a restaurant for lunch. We hadn’t had dim sum yet so we took a short walk over to Tim Ho Wan in Sham Shui Po. We dined at this branch a few years ago where we didn’t have to queue. Tim Ho Wan can be very crowded during lunch time.
This branch is located at Fuk Wing Street at the edge of Sham Shui Po. When we arrived, the restaurant was already pretty busy. We still managed to get seats along some long tables with diners already enjoying their delicious dim sum. We eagerly placed our order and soon we were served our dim sum items. It was a rather sumptuous lunch for us. We were happy and satisfied after this wonderful lunch. So second item on our wish list fulfilled now.
Shopping in Sham Shui Po
Next was to explore shops around the neighbourhood. By now, it was no longer raining. We ventured into one of the streets and spent quite a bit of time in a few fashion wholesale shops. My wife bought some clothes where the prices were pretty reasonable. These shops do sell individual pieces although they also sell in bulks. The street where wholesale shops are located was rather interesting. Across the wholesale shops are hardware shops. Metal works were taking place on the street outside the shops.
When we were done shopping for clothes, we returned to the market area where the street stalls are located. The stalls were already opened but not too busy yet. Perhaps nightfall would be the time where this place would come alive. Some electronic shops along one of the streets were very crowded with shoppers. The passage leading into those shops was very narrow. Phone and computer accessories were selling like hotcakes.
Having spent sufficient time in Sham Shui Po, we decided to head to Victoria Harbour back towards our hotel in Hong Kong Island. We went back down the train station and took a train to Tsim Sha Tsui. Once we exited the station up on the street level, we were dwarfed by skyscrapers on the busy Nathan Road. We then walked south along Nathan Road towards the Avenue of Stars at Victoria Harbour.
When we reached the harbour, part of venue was blocked off for renovation. We could only walked towards the right in the direction of the Star Ferry Pier. However, we took our time to admire the scenery along the waterfront. We had bright sunlight coming through at times and we enjoyed the harbour view looking across towards Hong Kong Island. Fast low clouds were passing the hills on the island. We actually wanted to head up to The Peak. But with this unfavourable weather, we decided to give The Peak a miss this time.
Behind us facing Kowloon is the former Railway Clock Tower. Next to the Clock Tower is the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. The park wasn’t crowded when we were there. Soon, we reached the Star Ferry Pier. We were heading back to Hong Kong Island. Instead of taking the MTR train, we decided to take a ferry across Victoria Harbour. This way, we could take in the sights and the winds and enjoy a little cruise in Hong Kong.
Ferry to Hong Kong Island
The next ferry was departing soon so we hurry over and managed to board this ferry. Surprisingly, there were only a few passengers onboard. The ferry soon left the pier and we headed towards Central Pier. We could have taken another ferry to Wan Chai Pier nearer to Causeway Bay back to Pullman Park Lane Hotel. However, we would like to explore Central outdoor area before returning to Causeway Bay.
The scenery on the harbour was very nice. There were other boats and ferry on the busy sea. Those buildings across the sea looked great whenever there was sunlight illuminating dark clouds behind the hills. With Central Pier getting closer, the ferries wheel nearby also became clearer. It was a nice sight indeed. Not long after, we got off the ferry and started walking towards Central Station.
Beautiful Central Business District
Along the way on the overhead bridge, we admired the surrounding that looked pretty new to us. We hadn’t been to Hong Kong for at least five years and there had been changes to this part of the island. The Hong Kong Observation Wheel is new to us. It is in interesting feature here on the island at Central area.
Once we reached the Central Station, we took a train back to Causeway Bay. We were so familiar with the area now so returning to Pullman Park Lane Hotel was very easy. Causeway Bay area was very busy when we walked past on the way back to our hotel. We would be shopping here again in the evening.
Rest and Relax in Pullman Park Lane Hotel
Back to our modern and luxurious room, the room was nicely made up, very clean and fresh. We were given another box of macaron for our wedding anniversary celebration. The two nights stay here were booked under my wife and my Accor Plus memberships. We were pleasantly surprised and of course very happy to receive another box of gift. Our children would be delighted when we return home to share these goodies with them.
It was time to shower and rest our tired feet after pounding the streets since morning. We really enjoyed the creature comfort provided by Pullman Park Lane Hotel. The bed was great and watching TV and chatting with friends quickly brought us to dinner time. We hadn’t tried the food at the hotel restaurant so we went down to the restaurant for dinner.
Dinner at Pullman Park Lane Hotel
The restaurant was very modern and a cool place for a meal. The windows overlook the busy street scenes below. We ordered from the a la carte menu. We just wanted something not too filling as we were more tired than hungry. Our food came soon after and they were pretty good. Like other Accor Group hotels, we enjoyed 50% discount dining for two.
With dinner done, we went to the business centre to do our online flight check in. Checking in was a breeze. The business centre was very quiet and pleasant. We even managed to print out our check in itinerary as well. With no more business at the hotel, we went back down to the busy streets in Causeway Bay.
Causeway Bay Shopping
There was still daylight when we left the hotel. We went across the street and headed straight into GU. My wife was looking forward to do some shopping here. We spent quite some time here. There were so much to see and try and this departmental store was very busy. It was so popular here.
When we were done shopping in GU, we went back to the streets. It was all dark now. Causeway Bay put on a different charm at night. So we roamed the streets and shopped at different stores. H&M was another place we spent some time shopping for clothes. H&M was very busy as well. Sogo was another place to do some shopping, especially at the basement supermarket to stock up on essentials. There is another sizeable supermarket near our hotel as well.
Unwinding in Pullman Park Lane Hotel
Finally with shopping all done, we returned to Pullman Park Lane Hotel. We still had our Accor members welcome drinks to utilize. So we went up to the rooftop bar for a look. But the welcome drinks were not served here. Nevertheless, we did have a great time taking in the night views of the surrounding at this outdoor level. It was quite cooling and windy up here.
After this, we returned to the lobby lounge for our welcome drinks. The lounge wasn’t very busy. We ordered our beverages and sat down to enjoy the ambiance here watching TV. We loved this nice charming place to unwind after a long day.
Eventually, it was time to return to our wonderful room for the night. These two nights stay in Causeway Bay was very enjoyable. It was the first time we stayed at this part of Hong Kong. We made the right choice.
Recounting Authentic and Dynamic Hong Kong
The authentic old world charm at Sham Shui Po was great. Shopping was quite cheap over there where prices from the street stall vendors were not jacked up to sky high for tourists to bargain down to a sane level. Sham Shui Po is a place where locals go about their daily business. It is just a normal Hong Kong neighbourhood.
Over in Causeway Bay, this is a modern part of Hong Kong. All the modern conveniences and usual retailers can be found here. This part of the city is where the locals also go about their daily routine going to work and coming home to have dinner and shop for stuff. This is a very pleasant and dynamic place to stay for tourists as well.
We really love Pullman Park Lane Hotel. Service level was very high at every department. There was nothing to complain about but praise for the impeccable service from the hotel staff. The location was perfect just off Causeway Bay Station at Exit E on the left sharing the same entrance with Ikea.
So our plan for the next day would be hopping over to Novotel Citygate Hotel at Tung Chung where the Outlet Mall is located. We would still have the morning to explore Causeway Bay one more time before heading across the island. So it was time to head to bed with some more shopping and dining the next day.
Continue to Day 3 …