Posted in Hiking, Hong Kong, Travel

Hong Kong: Lions & Dragons…

To me, Hong Kong is like a warm Apple Crumble with custard. The centre of Hong Kong is the Apple, the fruit, the main part. But the outside of Hong Kong is the crumble and the custard… and arguabley the best bit.

Like most cities, Hong Kong is busy. High rise buildings in abundance, a population of over 7 million people and one of the top financial centres of the world.

One of the things I loved about Hong Kong is that you don’t have to travel very far out of the city to experience some of the most beautiful and breathtaking places that I have ever seen…

Tai O ~ Infinity Pool πŸ’•
One way to really get into the thick of Hong Kong’s nature scene is to hike. During my 7 week stay I went on several walks and hikes.These are my favourites…

Lion Rock 🦁


Lion Rock hike is a mountain trail located between Kowloon Tong of Kowloon and Tai Wai of the New Territories.

To get to the start of the trail get the MTR (tube) to Won Tai Sin station (Exit B3) and from there you can grab a taxi. Ask them to drop you on Sha Tin Pass Road at the Lion Pavilion, the taxi should cost no more than $30 (Β£3.)  If you have lots of time to spare and don’t want to cab it then you can walk- but it does take about an hour or so to the start.

The weather wasn’t on our side for this one, it was very misty so we didn’t get a great view of the city skyscrapers but I still really enjoyed being up in the rocks with the clouds, it was atmospheric.

Send in the clouds…
I absolutely loved this hike, although I found it quite hard because it was so steep… 495 metres steep to be exact! However, I got a blooming good work out… my hamstrings and bum really felt it the following day!

  • Lion Rock – Sha Tin Pass Road
  • Takes around 3-4 hours
  • Difficult/Steep
  • Don’t forget to stretch out your hammies before you start the climb!

 Dragon’s Back πŸ‰

Dragon’s Back’ is a ridge that lies in Shek O Country park between Shek O Peak and Wan Cham Shan. There are stunning views to be seen at Shek O Peak, which is 284m high…

One of the most popular hikes in Hong Kong… and you can see why. The views are simply stunning!
Although long, compared to Lion Rock, Dragon’s back is a relatively easy hike, in that it is not too steep or slippy. It took Kim and I roughly about three hours and we were going at a moderate pace.

One of the beauties of hiking in Hong Kong is to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Since Dragon’s back hike is one of the more popular hikes in Hong Kong, my advice would be to avoid hiking at weekends and public holidays if possible. Kim and I went on a week day at around 11am and there were a good lot of people walking along the route with us but it was by no means busy.

Entrance to the hike on Shek O Road
The hike takes you up to Shek O Peak and down through a woodland area leading you to a beach, so pack your swimming gear in your backpack!

Big Wave Bay is renowned for it’s big waves (go figure) and there were plenty of surfers and bodyboarders in the sea. If you don’t want to carry your board along the hike (😝) then don’t worry, there is a little shop for you to hire one.

Big Wave Bay
If there is a group of you, you might find it more cost effective to take a taxi to the starting point of the trail. From Wan Chai this cost $120 (Β£12), so for a group of four only $30 (Β£3) each. On our return from Big Wave Bay we decided to take public transport – which was incredibly easy and worth doing. At the back of the beach is a (really nice) cafe, if you are standing outside the cafe facing the sea, take a left and follow the road around, you will come to a bus stop. The bus will take you to Shau Kei Wan MTR station and only costs $10 (Β£1.)

  • Dragon’s Back – Shek O Road
  • Takes around 2-4hours
  • Medium difficulty
  • Don’t forget a your camera, snack pack, water & your swimming costume!

Lamma Island 🌴

I’m on the top of the world…
Lamma Island was like visiting a postcard.

We took the ferry over from Central and it took around half an hour. When we docked there we noticed a map of the Island highlighting different walks and we decided to follow the red route on the map (which is to turn right and walk through the fish restaurants πŸ˜‹.)

We got lost… but what a place to get lost in…

Rockin’ all over the world…
The hiking here in Lamma is fantastic. Beautiful views, not too steep, beaches, temples, woodland… what more could you ask for? Our walk ended up being a considerable one (as we got a bit lost 😬) but since it was our day off and we weren’t in a rush it was nice to explore the Island at a leisurely pace.

I never feel lost, I just think oh I’ve had a diversion – Karl Pilkington

One of my most memorable experiences here was walking through a village where there were huge banana trees, orange trees and star fruit trees… coming from the UK this was really something to see and the smell was something I won’t be forgetting in a hurry 🍌🍊⭐️ … beautiful.

Up high in Banana tree…
  • Lamma Island – β›΄ Central Pier Ferry Terminal
  • 2-4hours (Depending on which trail you follow)
  • Easy to medium hikes
  • Don’t forget to pack sunscreen and your swimming costume

 Tai O Infinity Pool πŸ’¦

When researching Tai O fishing village on Lantau Island, I noticed a bit of hubbub online about a hidden natural infinity pool.

Technically it’s not really an infinity pool but a dam built on the edge of a rock at the bottom of a waterfall, and technically you are not supposed to swim in it but I felt I had to at least see if I could find it, I thought it might be something worth seeing…

I think to myself what a wonderful world…
The view was spectacular and not just the waterfall but everything, it was like something out of Jurassic park… I half expected Jeff Goldblum to appear shirt open at any moment. (He didn’t… much to mine and Kim’s disappointment.)

To find the waterfall it took some research and if you didn’t know it was there in Tai O I can’t imagine you would find it. The hike to it takes roughly 45minutes and it’s a really nice walk along the shore. The second part of it is pretty steep and up in the woodland area, at one point we thought we were lost but you just have to keep going up and eventually you can see it.

I wouldn’t recommend this walk if it’s at all wet or raining, as parts of the trail are quite narrow and steep. If it’s a nice day though, it’s really worth the view and it was quite possibly my favourite view that I saw in Hong Kong.

Directions to Infinity (and beyond)…

Tai O Pier
β€’ Take the 11 Bus from Tung Chung to Tai O (this takes about 45minutes and it’s the final stop.)

β€’ When getting off the bus you will notice a pier, follow the pier around.

β€’At the end of the pier turn right and walk through the village along the shore (on your right) after 5 minutes you will come to these two paths… take the one straight ahead of you…

β€’Walk along this path following the shoreline until you come to this sign for Man Cheung Po as shown…

β€’ Leave the shore and start following the path that slopes upwards

β€’ Continue on this path for the next 20/30minutes and you will notice the trees will open out and reveal a clear view of the sea on your right.

β€’Keep going PAST some steps on your left (but not up them!) As shown…

β€’Pass a campsite on your left but keep going along the straight path in front of you for about 5 minutes or so, until you come to some more steps on your left and the shore is visible on your right…

β€’Walk up these stairs (they are steep) for a good 10/15 minutes. You will start to think you are lost but keep going up. 

β€’Eventually, you will come to a blue and white house, walk around the house as shown…

β€’This is where it’s a little trickier as the path gets narrower but stick with it and continue going up. 

β€’Hurrah!!!! You found it… just continue up these steps and you will see the glorious views.

After our walk we headed back down to Tai O fishing village which is the last remaining stilted fishing village in Hong Kong. It was quietly beautiful here, really authentic and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to visit it. Even if you are not into hiking, it’s worth the trek from central Hong Kong to see it.

Village on Stilts
  • Tai O – Take the MTR to Tung Chung, then take the Number 11 bus to Tai O (45minutes)
  • Infinity hike takes 1-2 hours
  • Easy to medium hike
  • Don’t forget your bug spray

Hong Kong has been such a wonderful experience that I won’t ever forget. I’m so pleased I got to celebrate Christmas and New Year in this incredible city, it’s been an awesome seven weeks.

I am so thankful, particularly to all the staff and team at the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel and the Hong Kong Centre for Performing Arts. Thank you for making our stay so comfortable and for making us feel so welcome. Big thanks to everyone who came and supported Wicked πŸ’š .. Another venue completed, next stop Manila!

Love Emily xxx

Xin Nian Kuai Le πŸŽ‰

Posted in Disney, Hong Kong, Travel

Hong Kong: Disney Dreams πŸ’«

There’s a great big hunk of world down there with no fence around it ~ Lady & the Tramp.

It’s no secret that I love Disney. I grew up in the 90’s during a spell of amazing Disney films… The Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King. Not to mention those incredible Pixar films…

You must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul.” – Gusteau, Ratatouille

I love a good quote, a good inspirational quote. Disney are great at teaching children (young and old!) life lessons through their stories…what it means to love someone, and not just in the romantic sense. And how it is ok to be different and it wouldn’t do for us all to be the same… what a boring world we would live in…

One things for sure, Disney are masters of story telling. Films about courage, love, friendship and kindness… which, in my book, is the most important trait a person can have.

Have courage and be kind ~ Cinderella

DisneyLand, Hong Kong πŸ‡­πŸ‡°

I cannot believe I have now been in Hong Kong for six weeks… Time has literally run away with me…

One thing I had on my check list of places to go to whilst in Hong Kong, was Disneyland. Having only ever been to the one in Orlando Florida, I was really looking forward to experiencing Disney on the other side of the world.

A day ticket for Disneyland is $590HKD (Β£60) which is pretty standard for Disney. I had heard the park was quite small but I thought it was really well set up and contained. There are seven lands to explore… Adventureland, Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point, Toy Story Land, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland and Main Street, U.S.A.

My friend Victoria and I were really lucky with characters, as we saw (and got to meet) many. Including the usual suspects, Mickey and Minnie. ❀ My only disappointment is that I didn’t get to meet Stitch..

The parades were absolutely brilliant, we stayed for the night parade and it was just so colourful and well… Disney. Children’s faces (including mine and my friends) all lit up as bright as the lights. Personally, having worked for Disney when I was 19, I feel a real sense of nostalgia when I visit the park.

I’m sure most would agree, whatever your age, that you’d be hard pushed to leave Disneyland without a smile on your face.

  • Disneyland Hong Kong ~ check the website for park hours and special events.
  • Nearest MTR: Sunny Bay

Home ~ Eat To Live

After Victoria and I left Disneyland, we’d eaten so much sugar and naughty food but we hadn’t really had a substantial meal as such. (A good tip is to pack a little lunch to take with you- as you would expect it’s a bit “fast foodie” in the park.)

One of my favourite clean eating spots that I’ve found in Hong Kong is veggie/vegan restaurant, Home~Eat To Live in Central. The food is fresh, tasty and you know you are getting some good honest nutritious food down you. πŸ₯•πŸ₯’πŸ₯‘

One of my favourite dishes is the cauliflower and kale mash with sunflower seeds sprinkled on top (delish πŸ˜‹)

If you have read any of my previous blogs, you will know that I am partial to a burger… (The Big Bear Burger springs to mind- you know what I’m talking about!) The veggie burgers here are absolutely delicious, my favourite is The Polar Bear Burger… Beetroot, Mushroom & Oat Patty, Roasted Bell Peppers, Smoked Eggplant Caviar, Classic Aioli … yum.


The Ladies Market

I’ve got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty

Last week I ventured over to Mong Kok, Kowloon to The Ladies Market to have a ganders (and possibly a cheeky purchase!) With over 100 stalls of bargain clothing, accessories and souvenirs, the Ladies’ Market on Tung Choi Street is a must!

My top tip would be to leave a little room in your suitcase, as it is the perfect place to get keepsakes and some presents to take home 😊

  • MON-SUN: 3pm (ish) – Midnight
  • NEAREST MTR: Mong Kok, Exit E2.

I’ve had so much fun over the last few weeks, visiting as many places as I can fit in during my stay, including The 10,000 Buddhas, Lamma Island, Lion Rock (to name but  a few.) Along with some, quite frankly incredible food places, so keep your eyes peeled for my next couple of blogs featuring those!

Lots of love Emily xxx

Everyone has a favourite Disney film… What’s yours?

Adventure is out there…

Posted in Christmas, Hong Kong, Travel

Fairytale Of Hong Kong

A Christmas away from home and family was always going to be… challenging. And not that I want to be totally predictable and make it all about the food… but… missing out on my Mum’s amazing Christmas dinner is… well you can imagine how I feel about that 😩. Christmas time is truly my favourite time of the year, it’s magical. I associate it with happy childhood memories, it’s family time. A time for all my favourite people to get together and be silly and eat and drink far too much.

This Christmas was a great one. Hong Kong kind of nailed Christmas. And seriously, when will I get to spend another Christmas in this amazing City? I had to embrace it. I saw it as a total adventure, I felt like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (If you have not seen this film, we cannot be friends.)

Hong Kong was full of so much Christmas cheer. Lights, trees, impromptu carol concerts (I saw three when I was out Christmas shopping.) In Time Square there were mini Santa’s dancing to “Last Christmas” and when I visited Victoria Peak (amazing view, more on that later!) there were a group of school children singing Christmas songs while we waited for the tram. Delightful.

Deck The Halls…

It’s easy to find a Christmas Tree in Hong Kong, from high end stores to cheap and cheerful markets. The best one I found (and good value for money) was at Japan Home on Sharp Street, Causeway Bay. Blink and you’ll miss it, it’s up a little staircase with a yellow sign. I spent roughly about Β£20, and Β£20 well spent as my hotel room looked bloomin’ lovely!πŸŽ„

Walking In The Air

On Christmas Eve we decided to take the tram ride up to Victoria Peak, the highest mountain on Hong Kong island with an elevation of 552 m.

There are several ways to get to the top of the peak, walking, car or taxi. I thought the tram would be the most authentic route and since we had a bit of time on our hands we didn’t at all mind queuing, (especially since the school children were kindly entertaining us with their best Christmas medley.)

A return tram ride ticket was approximately Β£8 each and we did queue for an hour. Like Tian Tan Buddha, queues will always be expected as The Peak is one of the top sight seeing spots in Hong Kong, so if you want to avoid queuing I would recommend an early start or perhaps a taxi up and the tram back down. Needless to say that the view was absolutely worth it…

High in the sky… what a view!

 Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Oh and we did…’merry’ being the operative word.

Roast Turkey, Christmas Pud, Chocolate Pudding
Now then. I did slightly push the ‘slay’ out on Christmas Day and book Christmas Dinner at Tom Aitken’s two (fancy) Michelins star restaurant, The Pawn in Wan Chai. I have never dined at a Michelin Star restaurant before, a Michelin star food hawker in Singapore yes, but not a restaurant. I was literally beside myself with excitement.
First things first, we had a bottle of bubbly. Wine and sparkling efforts were pretty pricey but this was a treat and if you can’t treat at Christmas… (Well that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!)

There was a special set 4 course menu for Christmas Day. The first being ricotta and pesto on sour dough bread, which was yum.

For the starter I selected the duck and shaved celeriac salad, which was very light yet flavoursome.

For my main course I chose the classic Christmas Roast Turkey dinner with all the trimmings (pictured, bottom left.) When you can’t have Tracy Shaw’s Christmas dinner then this was definitely the next best thing (which is high praise!) The turkey was cooked to perfection and not dry at all. The accompanying roast pots and veg were delicious too- and generous with the gravy.

Normally I would have gone for the chocolate pudding with honeycomb ice cream πŸ˜‹ but since it was Christmas I just couldn’t turn down the Christmas Pud and custard… Divine. (Both dishes pictured above… enjoy!)

I thought this restaurant was fantastic, from the food to the service. I’m so glad I booked here for my Christmas Dinner, it is a little pricey but worth every penny.  This place gets a thumbs up from me πŸ‘ (and not just because of the bubbles! 🍾)

  • The Pawn: 62 Johnston Road
  • Lunch: Mon to Fri, 12pm- 2:30pm, Sat to Sun, 11:30 am – 2:30 pm
  • Dinner: Mon to Fri, 6pm – 10pm    Sat to Sun, 6pm – 10pm
  • Nearest MRT: Wan Chai

Feliz Navidad

Beaching Day 2016
On Boxing Day usually you’d find me curled up on the sofa sporting a Christmas jumper with a turkey roll (and a side of quality streets.)

The last time I spent a Christmas on a beach I was in Mexico, I remember it felt strange to feel the warmth on my skin in December. It certainly isn’t a Christmas I’ll forget. Like this one, it’s one to remember. So, as it was our day off, and such a gorgeous one, I decided to spend this years Boxing day (or beaching day, as I like to call it) on the beach in Stanley.

From Wanchai we took the 260 bus (from outside the Immigration centre) to Stanley and it took approximate thirty minutes.

Stanley is a great day out. I really enjoyed wandering around and exploring. Stanley Market is great, definitely worth a good look around. I think I enjoyed it as much as Temple Market. There is of course the beach but also a beautiful park leading to a Temple and the Kwun Yum Buddhist Monastery.

Beautiful Mural Kwun Yum Buddhist Monastery

Frosty The Snowman

The amount of Ice Cream I demolished over Christmas certainly made up for the lack of frosty weather this year…

Rice Crispy Cone, Cake Batter Ice Cream & Toasted Marshmallow 😍
Namely at Emack and Bolio’s … this Ice cream parlour was literally the place of dreams!

Emack & Bolio’s – An American company since 1975, have been widely recognised for their outrageous ice creams, funky cones and delicious smoothies and shakes. I had never experienced a place like it before (we don’t have this brand in the UK) I had never had an ice cream like this either! I went for the rice-crispie cone, cake mix ice cream (with bits of actual cake batter πŸ˜‹) topped off with toasted marshmallow- which made it taste like a heavenly baked Alaska, an ice cream that dreams are made of. (Pictured.)

Ice Dreams πŸ’•
  • Emack & Bolios: 26 Cochrane Street,
  • Mon– Sun 11am – 11pm
  • Nearest MTR: Central, Exit D2

Auld Lang Syne

Safe to say I have had one of the most memorable Christmas’ here in Hong kong. I feel so grateful to have spent the holiday season in such a welcoming city, and the fireworks at New year… class. Hong kong, you totally rocked Christmas!

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my blogs over 2016, it’s been an adventure for me and I really do enjoy sharing my experiences with you all, as well as documenting them for myself. I hope some of you manage to pick up some useful info on some of the exciting places I have visited. As usual, any questions or suggestions then please feel free to comment below.

I want to wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year. Here’s to 2017… let it be a bright one!

Love Emily xxx

Keep the change ya filthy animal…. and a happy new year!

Posted in Hong Kong, Travel

From Higham to Hong Kong

Jet Lag (Noun)

Extreme tiredness and other physical effects felt by a person after a long flight across different time zones.

I’ve always fancied myself as a mind over matter type of gal… However, flying from Singapore to London followed by London to Hong Kong in less than two weeks gave the matter of my mind a bit of a challenge (to put it mildly) …Hence my first week in Hong Kong is a little blurred…to say the least!

I come from a small town in Northamptonshire, England, called Higham Ferrers. It’s a pretty little market town, everyone knows everyone and whenever we drive down the old A6 along the Market Square I feel that true sense of home. Higham is perhaps not quite a two hour drive from London and when Daniel (my brother) and I were little, Mum and Dad used to take us to the big smoke as a treat maybe once or twice a year.

London is still hands down my favourite city in the world. I love cities, I love the hussle and bussle, the lights, the interesting people you meet. So, imagine my delight when I (finally) woke up in Hong Kong, one of the most cosmopolitan, vibrant cities in the world….

Hong Kong Skyline

The first week in a venue, be it Bradford, Singapore or Hong Kong, is always a little trickier because we are putting the show on in a new theatre. Since we gain new members of our team in each venue we go to including musicians, technicians and wardrobe departments, we are rehearsing the show with them for the first time. It’s great that we get to work with local people who live in Hong Kong and it’s the best way to learn about some of the sight seeing we can do while we are here… first hand recommendations from our local team ☺️

Lantau Island
On our first day off in Hong Kong, a small group of us decided to take a trip to Lantau Island to see the Tian Tan Buddha statue (informally known as the Big Buddha) and the Po Lin Monastery.

Tian Tan Buddha
There are a number of ways to get to the Island, (see below.) We decided to take the cable car which cost Β£18 return. You can go the whole hog for Β£25 and get a car with a glass bottom but that makes my feet itch just thinking about it!

Because this is such a popular attraction, one thing to be aware of is the queue. Trip advisor did warn us that it can take up to three hours…lucky for us we didn’t have to wait that long, but still we waited for over an hour. If you want to avoid queues altogether I suspect you might need to get there as early as possible, we arrived at the cable car station at around mid day and it was very busy!
I’m not great with heights but I loved the Cable Car experience, the views were breathtaking and on our return the sun was setting which made it pretty darn special.

You should allow the whole day for this excursion. There is a lot to see here on the Island, plenty of photo opportunities and I found the whole experience peaceful and tranquil.

  • 🚑 BY CABLE CAR: Take the MTR (tube) to Tung Chung Station, Exit B for Ngong Ping Cable Car. (25 minutes plus queuing time!)
  • 🚌 BY BUS: Take the MTR to Tung Chung Station, Exit B for New Lantao Bus 23 from Tung Chung Town Centre. (45 minutes.)
  • β›΄ BY FERRY: Take the ferry from Central Pier 6 to Mui Wo, then take the New Lantao Bus 2 to Ngong Ping Village. (40 minutes.)

Beef & Liberty

I love burgers… Beef burgers. There. I said it. Remember when I had the severe case of the food envies and I had to go back for the Big Bear Burger at I Am Cafe in Singapore? On my 30th birthday we went for burgers, at my Hen party we went for burgers…when I ran the London Marathon I swear meeting my friends and family at Byron Burger made me run a little quicker. I’m burger mad. I may as well rename this blog Burgering About.

I’m happy to report that I found a winner of a burger joint here in Hong Kong. Beef and Liberty. Their ethos is proudly serving hormone-free grass-fed beef.
I had the good old fashioned Hamburger (Β£9.80) with Mac & Cheese Bites (Β£5.20)πŸ˜‹ …I know right! Both were excellent and as per were inhaled by me, sorry not sorry.
Beef and Liberty are also veggie friendly and offer the Beetroot burger which consists of brown rice, beetroot, goats cheese, cumin and coriander (Β£9.80) After 2pm on Monday’s order a veggie burger and you’ll get a free veggie side πŸ‘

  • BEEF & LIBERTY: Star St. Precinct, 23 Wing Fung St
  • Mon-Thurs: 11:30 – 22:30
  • Fri-Sun: 11:00 – 23:00
  • Nearest MTR: Wanchai

Hong Kong Night Markets

One of my favourite things to do when I have a day off in London (rare) and when the weather is good (even rarer) is mooch around Portobello Road, Spitalfields or Camden. When I lived in South London I used to love looking around Greenwich Market, there was a stall there called Banana Man and he sold fruit kebabs ladeled in chocolate and nuts on a banana leaf πŸ˜‹ (I’m salivating.) …Anyway, I really enjoy whiling away the hours looking at trinkets and homemade bits and bobs.

Hong Kong has loads of markets too. To name a few…Ladies Market, Stanley Market, Wet Markets and Temple Market.  I intend to have a good ol’ ganders around them all.

Temple Street Market
On our first evening off I spent a good hour or so wandering down Temple Street Market. I loved it. I might have even found a few little Christmas pressies ☺️
Kim and I tried some Dim Sum street food for Β£5! … Beef rice, steamed green veg and veggie dumplings. Delish! πŸ˜‹

“I think I’m gonna like it here.” ~ Annie
 That’s our first two weeks down and Hong Kong is already flying by, there is so much I would like to see and do… Not to mention Christmas next week!

Being away from home, we are very fortunate to be spending Christmas in such a friendly, welcoming city. Our audiences have been so responsive and supportive and our theatre is just lovely!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and I look forward to sharing with you the next chapter of my adventure in a few weeks time…

Love Emily xxx

“Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow, hang a shining star upon the highest bough…and have yourself a merry little Christmas now” πŸ’•