Saturday, 30 October 2010

A (Short) Visit to Sai Kung

Sai Kung pier
My friend is looking for a change in lifestyle from the hectic pace in Hong Kong, and heard that Sai Kung in the New Territories was a possible alternative. So we decided to check it out for ourselves and made a trip there this afternoon.

We took the MTR to Choi Hung station and then got out of exit C2 where there was a massive line for the 1A green minibus, and another line for either the 92 or 96R bus.

Just as we walked out of the station, the 92 bus arrived so we decided to take it; but now we realize why everyone was lining up for the minibus. The double-decker had to make frequent stops along the way, whereas the minibus -- several of them -- whipped past us.

Along the way we saw the hills covered in trees and three-storey tiled houses dotted along the way. Eventually we made it into Sai Kung town centre where there's a Wellcome superstore (a giant supermarket), as well as McDonald's, and Dymocks, a bookstore. There was even an upscale grocery store called Marketplace so it seemed promising.

Fresh seafood ready to be eaten by hungry diners
We finally arrived at the Sai Kung pier and lots of people were walking along the boardwalk, watching people fishing on the docks or waiting for ferries to go to other areas. There are also seafood restaurants right by the water with giant glass tanks filled with all kinds of seafood from clams to garoupas, crabs and geoduck to entice diners. I've heard these places charge an arm and a leg for meals here, so you've been warned.

And for some strange reason this place has lots of shops catering to dogs. There's a cookie shop for dogs, pet stores, vets, dog grooming... and there are lots of dogs in that area too. There are some western restaurants and cafes as well as pubs and bars.

The neighbourhood temple is all newly renovated and looked quite nice. We took a look inside and even made some incense offerings, hoping the gods would be good to us. And for a bit of luck we shook jars filled with bamboo sticks until one of them came out. I have to get someone to translate it for me.

A newly-renovated temple
We checked out the property ads and some were outrageously expensive, over HK$30 million for villas, or over HK$60,000 a month to rent them. Some had their own private pools, very modern decor and gorgeous sea views. Later we saw some other listings of pretty big three-bedroom places with selling prices at around HK$3-5 million dollars, but they would require some renovation work.

However, the logistics of getting to and from Sai Kung seemed too much for either one of us to handle. We did take the green minibus back to Choi Hung (with a split-second scare of almost hitting a barricade) in less than 20 minutes, the ride back to Central was tiring for both of us. There didn't seem to be much in terms of activities and places to entice us to stay, and wasn't very convenient in terms of having all the things we're used to having in town.

My friend's first impression of Sai Kung was that it was like being in Guangzhou, but without the heavy pollution.

While it's probably good for families and those looking for a practically hermit-like lifestyle, it wasn't for us. Maybe it was a sign from the gods.

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