Erik and I looked at the calendar a few days ago and realized that it’s been an entire year since we went to Hong Kong for our honeymoon – how time flies! We also traveled to Australia and New Zealand, two places that are near and dear to my heart, but our time in Hong Kong was particularly magical. After all, it’s a magical city!
Fresh off the plane and just landed in Hong Kong from our epic Cathay Pacific business class upgrade
The week between Christmas and New Year’s in Hong Kong is known as WinterFest, with over-the-top light spectacles on seemingly every building and around every corner. Christmas is a big deal here–seriously, there are decorations, trees, and lights everywhere–but it’s really all leading up to New Year’s Eve. New York and Sydney get all the NYE love, but if you can make it to Hong Kong once in your life for a New Year’s celebration there, I urge you! Here, a few of our favorite moments from last year:
Exactly one year ago today! Time flies…
At Auberge Discovery Bay Hotel, feeling very much like newlyweds
Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple
The center for three religions–Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism–Wong Tai Sin features a Good Wish Garden and is where locals and tourists alike pray for good fortune. Reportedly, every wish made here comes true…the perfect place to hone your New Year’s resolutions. We made a few wishes, and they actually came true!
Making wishes at Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple
A little behind-the-scenes photo action at the temple
Ngong Ping 360 Crystal Cabin to Lantau Island
A glass-bottomed cable car with a bird-eye view of Hong Kong, the Ngong Ping 360 Crystal Cabin gives you stunning views as you’re ferried to Lantau Island. The ride lasts about 25 minutes and the glass-bottom is so cool. (Buy tickets ahead of time for a better experience–lines are long–and make sure to spring for the Crystal Cabin, which has much shorter lines and superior views.) Once you’re on Lantau Island, walk through the village–decked out with lights and decorations–and climb to the top of the multi-story Big Buddha, a 112-foot tall, 250-ton bronze statue with 268 steps. Beware the cows.
Taking the glass-bottomed cable car to Lantau Island and the Big Buddha
Christmas decorations with the Big Buddha in the background: spirituality and commerce colliding!
The highest point on Hong Kong Island, The Peak is one of those “you haven’t really been to Hong Kong until you’ve been here” experiences. You start at a rickety old tram in the middle of the city, crawl up vertiginous Mt. Victoria with skyscrapers on both sides, and then overlook everything for miles at the Sky Terrace. It’s a pretty egregious tourist trap at the top’s The Peak Galleria, but we bought some fun prints for the walls and Christmas decorations for our tree before heading back down. (There’s also a nature trail and Madame Tussaud’s, but we skipped both.)
Heading up, up, up through the skyscrapers to The Peak
I dream of this city. Can you beat those views?
Disneyland Hong Kong
Sadly for two Disney dorks, we did NOT make it to Disneyland Hong Kong, and we’re still regretting it. Apparently, there are exclusive HK attractions like Toy Story Land, the wild-west themed Grizzly Gulch, and a spooky dark ride called Mystic Point. Their Christmas decorations run until January 4th. I approve.
Why have one Christmas tree when you can have ten?
Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
Everything during WinterFest leads up to the massive pyromusical display in the skies above Victoria Harbour. Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade on Kowloon is one of the best fireworks viewing spots. Make sure to get a photo with the giant 2015 emblazoned across the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center in the background. It’s also a short walk away from some of Hong Kong’s most iconic locations, like the Peninsula Hotel, HK’s oldest (have a drink at the Felix bar!), and the Avenue of the Stars, the city’s answer to the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Taking a junk boat on Victoria Harbour with the lights of Wan Chai in the background
A Symphony of Lights
Every night at 8pm, the city’s buildings comes alive in the world’s largest permanent light and sound show. Laser beams, search lights, and colored lights are reflected on the towering skyscrapers around Victoria Harbour while triumphant music plays. If you’ve been dreaming of Hong Kong and skyscrapers galore, this is your jam. Prime viewing locations include Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade and Wan Chai.
Victoria Harbour just before New Year’s Eve last year
Ozone Bar at the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong
My reflection, taking a photo of the insane 118th floor view from Ozone Bar
Ozone Bar at the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong
It’s all about superlatives at The Ritz Carlton Hong Kong: the highest, the tallest, the best. Still the highest hotel in the world, the Ritz is arguably the city’s most spectacular hotel. (And this is a city that defines spectacular.) Ozone Bar—a gold, glass, and marble nightclub lit in wintery shades of blue and purple—serves sushi and bespoke cocktails on the 118th floor, holding it down as the highest bar in Asia. It’s the perfect place to toast the New Year with champagne overlooking Victoria Harbour.
Exhausted but happy over cocktails at hidden speakeasy 001. We miss you, Hong Kong, and can’t wait to return
Cheers, and until we meet again, Hong Kong!