Lin Fa Tei, New Territories, Hong Kong

HK? This certainly spoils the flow of things doesn’t it. With a week to spare before the new job start date, I did the inevitable: I booked some flights. So here we have a 5 day mini break interlude. If you are hoping this might be full of useful HK travel tips, I apologise in advance for this one.

Victoria Peak, Stanley Beach, Avenue of the Stars, Lamma Island, Macau, the Harbour… I presume the city’s famous sites are still there from when I visited in 2007 & 2009. I’m ashamed to say this time I skipped them all,  for some R & R in the New Territories. No Really. 20 mins further and I’d be in back across the border in mainland China. But thankfully that didn’t happen.

I’m not trying to be one of those traveller douches that harps on about ‘off the beaten track’ – i’m a self-confessed lover of the beaten track! But I will guarantee the tiny village of Lin Fa Tei the road less travelled. (Along with Fond Du Sac Mauritius it’s one of the most authentic places i’ve ever had the chance to voyeur at.)

Why? Would be the obvious question.

My BFF from University (Danielle) moved to HK here 6 years ago.  One more and she can apply for residency. I technically ‘live’ in Singapore, but still feel like a tourist there at heart. Dani’s done it properly. Her whole life is here: the husband, home, job, 2 dogs, 2 cats. She deserves citizenship; she’s even brave enough to drive here.

It turns out, the same rent for a shoebox apartment in Discovery Park, Tsuen Wan Kowloon, buys you a three bedroom detached village house in the countryside of Lin Fa Tei. It’s also next to the Chinese government school where she teaches.

For the last week I woke up to the view of swaying banana trees and romantically misty mountains. It was news to me Hong Kong even had beaches, let alone nature. Dani’s house isn’t even on a street, it’s a 5 min adventure down a grass footpath. You pass several farms and (randomly enough) a reclusive Christian rehab centre for recovering alcoholics. Go figure. She carries a torch and jagged wooden stick to warn off snakes and aggressive stray dogs. It would be scary enough just in the dark. She is much braver than I.

I guess the good points of living in ‘the berbs’ is that you can dip back into the big bad city when you fancy a bit of civilisation. Weirdly for two ex-pats who moved to the other side of the globe to live in tropical climates – we both want to go Ice skating. You really do miss the cold after a while, honest. We spend a fun afternoon getting our Torvil & Dean on at the busy Festival Walk rink. On the way home we also take a road trip to the Gold Coast (the one 20 mins away, not in Australia.) It’s a good spot to ogle at the yacht club and sip vino at a spot called Med Bar.

4 years ago this would have been us nightly. I have a hazy memory of dancing on table tops in Wan Chi bars at 5am. This time, at the risk of sounding 60 and not 29, we were so happy just playing Come Dine With Me in a real homely kitchen. A holiday is whatever you make it.

An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

Blasts From The Past…

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