After a late night and all the over indulgence of the night before we might have slept in a bit later than planned. Today we were heading over to Lamma Island to see the alternative side side of Hong Kong away from the metropolis of Hong Kong island and the city centre area. Luckily, our hotel was right next to the pier and so we wandered along to Pier 4 of Central Pier and got some change from the change vendor before getting our tickets. The ferry takes 30 minutes and you get some pretty great views of the Hong Kong Island skyline as well as of the surrounding islands and the boat traffic servicing the area. We took the ferry to Yung Shue Wan which is the main tourist town of the island and is the port with the most ferry services. It also has a lot of restaurants and probably has the most choice.
One of the famous things about Lamma island is the fresh seafood restaurants. With it being an island seafood is caught fresh every day and restaurants buy the shrimps/crabs/lobster etc. live and store them in tanks outside whereby to allow the lucky potential customer to see and even pick exactly what they are eating. Being a massive seafood lover these are like heaven to me and having experienced them all over South East Asia I was excited to see what they had to offer. We decided to opt for Sampan Seafood Restaurant mainly because it seemed to be the busiest of the ones we walked past. We had arrived at the weird time of 11.30a.m and so the restaurant were still serving fresh dim sum for breakfast but also had just started their fresh seafood offering. It’s always hard to choose without knowing what the specialty is for each place so we went with; fried mantis shrimp (mostly because there was so many of them in the tank), scallops with garlic and whelks with a chilli broth. To add some carbs we chose the Singapore style noodles which were full of seafood too and a traditional Cantonese fried rice, yeung chow. The mantis shrimp was nice but there was very little to it and a bit underwhelming, the scallops were great if a tad overcooked but the star of the show had to be the whelks. A sea snail they came in their shells so had to be prised out with a special stick in a spicy chilli broth with a aniseed flavour to it. They were great and we finished off everything feeling full and ready for our hike.
Our original plan had been to follow the island path across Lamma island to Sok Kwu Wan pier and catch the ferry back to central from there taking in the island and doing a few beach stops en-route. However, given our flight that evening was at 17:50 and we had to pick up our luggage and get to the airport we took the decision to just hike to the first beach on the route and then head back to Yun Shue Wan where the ferry service is much more regular. This gave us an hour and a half from the point of finishing our lunch and so we followed the trail through the main small town and past schools and homes to Hung Sing Ye beach. It was amazing to see the juxtaposition between the towering skyscrapers of Central Hong Kong to the narrow concrete pathway of Lamma island which is popular with expats and locals alike offering an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. With regular ferry services many people even choose to live here over central Hong Kong for a more peaceful life. The trail was really easy to follow and well signposted throughout. After we arrived at the beach it became abundantly clear we had not come prepared…no towels and my dad hadn’t even wore swimming shorts. I managed to pick up a bamboo mat from a local stall for us to sit on and we went swimming and enjoyed the fun of the beach for an hour. It was blissful.
All too soon it became time to hotfoot it back to the ferry to head back to the city and collect our luggage. I took the opportunity to write some postcards which the hotel kindly posted for me. We took a taxi from the pier back to the hotel and then another cab for convenience to the airport. There is a very convenient train service to the airport but the taxi worked out cheaper for the 3 of us and was less hassle with our gradually increasing luggage. We were flying to Shanghai with a local Shanghainese airline called Spring Airlines and luckily they didn’t charge us any extra for our overweight bags. We did however, have to wait a pretty long time in the check-in queue and so by the time we cleared security and took the train to our gate (Hong Kong airport is HUGE) we had to run the last bit to the gate as they were calling the last of the passengers for boarding. There was a slight moment of panic when Gillian made a toilet stop and my dad had to go and get her with me refusing to board and the airline employee getting rather annoyed at me but eventually we all made it aboard the plane and somehow managed to be sitting in the first class section, amazing! This meant we got served a meal with lots of different small pots of Chinese food (it wasn’t the best but for airline food it definitely wasn’t the worst) which was good since we hadn’t eaten anything since lunch.
The flight was just 2 and a half hours and it seemed like in no time we were descending into China, our final country of the trip. Not before a particularly entertaining exercise regime carried out with the air hostess demonstrating and everyone on the plane following along by rolling your head in a clockwise and anti-clockwise motion and circling your wrists etc. It was definitely the strangest and funniest in-flight experience I have had to date. We touched down in Shanghai, cleared immigration and picked up some cold tea before getting a taxi through the city to our hotel Shanghai Chi Chen Boutique Hotel. It was definitely my least favourite hotel of the trip and while it was in a great location there was no lift and the corridors and rooms were pretty dated. However, it was the most hostel-like and had a happening bar downstairs with lots of beer options and a street food offering just across the road. I ended up with an epic round bed (clearly for a couple looking to be having a lot more fun than I did in it) which was actually pretty hard and although cool not that comfortable. It was another early night as tomorrow we had a full on day at Disney to look forward to!