My two full days in Hong Kong are over, and so it's time to write. It was a fast trip, but here are some highlights:
1) The Bank of China Tower - Free view of the city! Although you cannot go to the top floor, you get a nice view of everything from the 43rd floor. You need some form of government issued ID from your state or country as they verify you before issuing you a pass to the elevator area.
2) The Peak - Mostly shopping and eating to be done. Worth it though for the views of the harbor and city. We paid to go to the rooftop, you can pay cash for a ticket, or use the Octopus card (the transport card of HK.) On the roof, there are binoculars (which you can also use the Octopus card to pay for.) I bought a small bottle of wine with one of the people staying at my hostel, and we toasted to the good life.
While I found some things in Hong Kong to be on the pricey side, the museums were extremely cheap. I visited two today during my morning rampage around town.
1) Hong Kong Museum of History - For HK$10 (about US$1.20) you can learn about the history of Hong Kong. There are sections dividing the different exhibitions. They are organized chronologically, but there are signs guiding you around if you wish to skip certain time periods. It starts with the prehistoric covering the geography and evolution of the area and covers until more recent times when Hong Kong was given back to China. I breezed through the first 3 bits covering geology and animals myself, focusing instead on the cultural and historical aspects. I especially enjoyed the sections from the Opium Wars until the 60s-70s as there were recreated streets and shops, and many interesting films. Overall this museum is extremely well-done and informative.
2) Hong Kong Museum of Art - For HK$10 you can see just the regular exhibition. I opted for the current themed expo entitled "Fantastic Creatures," costing HK$20 and included the regular works. The "Fantastic Creatures" offered works from many different historical cultures, grouped by mythical creatures. Everything from sphinxes, griffins, phoenixes, and dragons was covered. There were also hands-on portions where you could create your own creature on the computer, or make an origami version with colored paper. I also enjoyed the collection of Wu Guanzhong paintings on the upper floor.
Wining & Dining
Paisano's Pizzeria - The pizza I've been missing the past year of my life. Big floppy New York style slices. I got cheese during a pub crawl. Went back the next day for 2 more slices of joy. Sausage and egg on one, pepperoni for the other.
Castro's Bar - The mojitos here were okay, although I felt like I was sipping more mint leaves through my straw then liquid. Cigars sold here as well.
Pizza Express - I realize I mostly went to pizza places this trip. I couldn't turn down a chance to eat at one of my favorites in London though. Bowtie pasta with sausage, chili, rosemary, and cheese. Baked mushrooms. Free desert for checking in on foursquare (I went with honey gelato.)