A bright, breezy morning and after a leisurely hotel breakfast we wandered across the road to the North Point bus station to take bus no. 38 to Aberdeen, the journey going via the Aberdeen tunnel and taking only 30 minutes. Aberdeen is located in the south west part of the island and is famous for its floating seafood restaurants.
Our exploring here began on the seafront which is filled with brightly coloured sampans, junks and fishing boats. Several people tried to persuade us take a sampan trip around the bay but we politely declined as we were happy strolling along the promenade.
Heading into the centre of town, a large Chinese Gate led us into Aberdeen Square where we glanced in some of the small shops and the large wet market before heading up Yue Kwong Road, an extremely steep hill towards the starting point of the walking trail in the Aberdeen Country Park. The trail took around an hour to complete, taking us from the east bank of the lower reservoir over to the dam of the upper reservoir.
Our walk provided us with some good views over Aberdeen and the surrounding countryside. Few people were about on this Wednesday morning but as there are plenty of picnic tables and outdoor barbecue grills, I guess it’s popular at weekends and during the warmer summer months.
Returning to the town centre again via the steep road we visited a small temple and then enjoyed a mid morning cup of coffee and bun before setting off again. Next, we took a bus through the harbour tunnel, alighting at the first stop afterwards in Kowloon City where we walked a short distance to the Hong Kong Museum of History which has a splendid, vast exhibition entitled ‘The Hong Kong Story’.
Admission is free and the large, attractive galleries detail life in Hong Kong from prehistoric to modern times. There’s a reconstructed street complete with shops and temples and a photo gallery illustrating the handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997. It was my first visit to this museum and I would highly recommend spending some time here as we enjoyed a fascinating couple of hours learning about the history of Hong Kong.
Also located in Granville Place is the Hong Kong Science Museum and as we have an interest in anything scientific we needed to take a look. There is usually an admission charge but the museum offers free admission each Wednesday. Covering all three floors is a giant energy machine (marble run) which operates every two hours and we had great fun watching the large red balls roll along, drop down and strike chords on musical instruments including a xylophone, chime, bell and a drum.
The museum includes many interactive laser exhibits and we could easily have spent more time there but we needed to head back to the hotel for a short rest as we wished to spend the evening at the Happy Valley Racecourse for their weekly Happy Wednesday race meeting.
There’s a lovely small bakery just around the corner from our hotel and we seem to have got into a habit of buying cakes there on our way back into the hotel. Today was no exception and we returned with a coconut bun and an egg tart each to enjoy with our afternoon cup of tea.
Soon it was time to set off again and getting to Happy Valley is easy as trams run frequently from North Point terminating near the racecourse. Admission is only HK$10 (about £1) which we paid using our Octopus Cards, gates open at 5.15 p.m. with racing commencing at 7.15 p.m. It was just before 6.00 p.m. when we arrived but we still had a good choice of seats in the 2nd floor grandstand, these cost an additional HK$20 each but money well spent as they provide excellent views and are reserved all evening. After picking up a race catalogue we selected a horse for each race, placing the minimum bet of HK$10 (£1) to add interest and a little fun. The evening’s racing got under way as darkness fell, Happy Valley looking stunning, illuminated by the tall skyscrapers surrounding it.
Tonight’s Happy Wednesday meeting was a themed Australian ‘Boomerang’ event with a selection of Australian food and wine on offer together with all the usual favourites. Between races, live music takes place and there is always something interesting happening during the four hour long meeting.
It’s my third visit to Happy Valley and our luck doesn’t appear to be improving – no wins to report but we were very unlucky in one race as our horse was in a photo finish for first place but sadly we were placed second, so no payout! There are lots of food counters and we spent the evening munching crisps, hot dogs and chocolate whilst sipping pints of lager. Not the most healthy food choices, but appropriate for our fun filled evening at the races!
Returning to the hotel was easy as trams and buses were lined up outside ready to take racegoers back home, unlike our recent visit to a Rugby International in Edinburgh when there wasn’t a tram in sight and we had to walk! For more detailed information on spending an evening at Happy Valley you can check out my previous post here.