Posted in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a diverse city


There is a small park, Victoria Park, less than a kilometer from the hostel on Lee Garden Road. A narrow tartan track leads in a kind of circular course through the green and around a large lawn with a sports facility. The route is 625 meters long, it is marked every 25 meters and is actually reserved for runners, but many walkers also use this track, sometimes with two or three people walking alongside each other and having a lively conversation.
This is a quiet oasis not far from the hectic and noisy business streets. For three days I do my rounds here in the morning. From my small hostel, I run in the light drizzle along the confusing streets on which so many people rush to and from on the way to the office or the subway, almost squeezed between the office towers and shopping malls, some of which are more than 40 floors high. In the morning, the light rain is very pleasant when walking, the sun comes through the clouds, it quickly gets muggy, but that rarely happens.

Hong Kong, or rather: Hong Kong Island, is quite special. The available space for construction along the coastal strip is relatively narrow, only a few 100 m to just about 2 km wide, behind which the rocky terrain rises steeply. I have the impression that the high-rise buildings in the bay rise to the level of the top of the mountains.

For a few days I leave the bike on the balcony of the hostel and move around the city on foot or by metro. The streets in Causeway Bay are simply confusing because of these tall buildings, but I get a little better orientation by moving around in this part of the city. It takes e.g. two almost unsuccessful attempts to find the nearest post office, although it is shown on the overview map, since it is surprisingly located on the 10th floor of an 18-storey high-rise shopping and office building and not on the ground floor and in a single building, as I have suspected. Below is a huge entrance area with galleries of smaller restaurants and shops over two floors, above that another 5 floors with shops for fashion, cell phone accessories and other things that nobody needs, and above that several floors with sales agencies, utilities and other smaller shops. The post office only consists of a small counter room with maybe 25 m2 of floor space and letter boxes set into the wall to the hallway. I get enough stamps here, I have to look for postcards elsewhere. I later find them in a smaller shop on a side street a little off Hennessy Road, which sells everything in antique junk. There is something like souvenirs and cards here, even if they look a bit tired, in contrast to the shopping malls, where even well-stocked stationery dealers don’t offer postcards.

The next day, I found a lot more cards at the newspaper dealers at the Star Ferry Society pier in Kowloon, on the opposite side of the bay. This is relatively easy to reach by metro, after all, the Causeway Bay Station is less than 200 m from my quarters. This is how I explore the area around the Tsim Sha Tsui metro station in the afternoon. The streets are arranged a little more regularly, but not less confusing. In one of the high-rise buildings on the harbor, which is both a hotel and a mall, I find a bookseller that extends over two winding floors. Here the stress from the road below is far away.
At the pier the wind blows cool and damp from the sea, the weather is rainy. The low ferry docks of the Star Ferry Company, which today has almost only tourist significance, are roofed over, but very windy. That is why I am always drawn to one or the other shopping temple, which are all somehow connected here in ‘Harbor City’, even if I am not particularly interested in the fashion labels.

Unfortunately the weather is not very friendly on the day of my onward journey from Hong Kong Island over to Kowloon and on to Tsuen Wan. I start after a delicious breakfast at ‘Lucky Star’, two corners from the hostel, and then work my way down with the bike in the light drizzle down to Hennessy Road, and along Causeway Road to the ferry terminal at North Point. The boats of the First Ferry company also take bicycles on board, which is impossible with the Star Ferry according to their conditions of carriage. I had researched this the day before and now I asked the friendly small man at the turnstiles, which block the access to the pier, if I should be allowed to pass with my packed bike. Unfortunately he did not understand English but after a few moments I was able to figure out the term 自行车 for ‘bicycle’, and the little man really came to life, opened a side door to the waiting area and even billed the $ 10 for the bike into a separate cash register.


The crossing over Kowloon Bay takes about 15 minutes and the boat, which is occupied by only a few passengers on this cloudy morning, then moored at the Kowloon City Ferry Pier, not too far from the former downtown airport, which had been closed for many years.

The route to Tsuen Wan in the north-west of Kowloon is then peppered with some challenges, because the general one-way regulation repeatedly forces me to take detours. At a crossroads of several expressways in Cheung Shan, which are of course off-limits to cyclists, I can only get a long way further in my direction. The Lai King Hill Road that follows a little later bears its name rightly and after the short but arduous climb I have a small overview of the streets in this corner of Hong Kong, which are arranged completely irregular.

Later in Kwai Chung I have to climb a hill again before I reach my hotel, which is unfortunately located in a mixed commercial and residential area, opposite a larger construction site. But it is not a problem to get a room that looks in the opposite direction, but windows cannot even be opened. The room is significantly larger than my first one at the other end of town, and here even the bike fits between the window and the bed.

Posted in Allgemein

Hong Kong is not far from Macau

Museum boat in Hong Kong

After two days on which I mainly explored Macau on foot and otherwise put my legs up, I get back on my bike. Hong Kong isn’t really that far away, less than 50 kilometers, but can only be reached by land with a huge detour via the metropolis Shenzhen.
About half a year ago, a road connection between Zhuhai / Macau and Hong Kong was opened, a piece of highway with a total length of 55 km, a billion-dollar project that leads over three connected bridges and through a tunnel, but is of course taboo for bicycles. The bridge is mainly used by buses, but I have not researched whether I could have had my bike transported here.
Instead, I looked at the possible ferry connections between Macau and Hong Kong. That raised enough questions for me that could not even be clarified in advance. In any case, there are no vehicle ferries like the one between Hainan and Guangdong, just passenger ferries in the form of speed boats.

The ferry port in question for me, from where the boats of the Cotai Waterjet line to Hong Kong Island run, is unfortunately not in the north of Macau on the coast of the peninsula (Outer Harbor), but on the island of Taipa (Taipa Ferry Terminal) ), which makes it difficult for me to even reach the ferry.
The north and south halves of Macau are connected by three bridges, none of which is officially approved for bicycles. There are explicit prohibition signs on each of the outer bridges, over which expressway-like highways are led, and the middle and narrowest bridge is actually reserved for buses and taxis.

On the one hand, I am very happy to be able to get out of the narrow city, although Macau, despite its small size, has many exciting corners that I’ve not been able to discover in the past two and a half days.
The hustle and bustle in the winding little streets of the older districts makes the city interesting and the mixture of old Portuguese architecture, largely maintained as a World Heritage Site (but also in high demand for tourism), and the simple, rather haphazard-looking everyday architecture is unique. In addition, the large blocks of the casino hotels and the unreal-looking, golden mirrored tower of the Grand Lisboa in the form of a lotus flower set very contrasting accents. The 334 meter high Macao Tower at the southern end of the peninsula is also a rather unsuitable eye-catcher.

It is less than 10 kilometers from the Guia Hotel to the Taipa ferry port. I tried yesterday evening to find out if I could get my bike on a Cotai Waterjet boat and how I would have to prepare it, but at the only ticket counter in pedestrian distance of this ferry company, at the “Sands” casino hotel, I couldn’t be given any information.

So I start with the ‘Courage to fill the gap’ in the late morning fairly sunny weather and first roll down the Estrada do São Francesco, towards the southwest, towards the casino ‘Grand Lisboa’ and quickly have difficulty finding the right lane, on which I then continue towards the port and then on to Taipa, and don’t end in the driveway to one of the parking garages on Grand Lisboa. I roll a little too euphorically on the outer lane for too long without seeing in time that it doesn’t lead to the next roundabout, which is here at the lower end of the peninsula and serves as a central distributor.

The bad thing is: after I have worked my way up to the quay walls and rolled past the base of the not so high-looking Macao Tower, I can already see that two-wheelers are not allowed to drive up the ramp to the bridge. A sign directs them underneath and to the ramp that also leads to the bridge from the northwest, right through a construction site.
Yes, motorcycles have their own lane on this bridge, but bicycles are obviously not welcome here; Another prohibition sign directly at the driveway is as clear as it is incorruptible.
I can still drive past it, to the annoyance of the vehicles that have slowed down behind me, and will soon find myself again at the foot of the striking transmission and observation tower.

Torre de Macau in front of the growing Skyline of Xiaohengqin Island (Zhuhai/China)

I have no choice but to cycle back around the inland lake Lago Nam Van to the central roundabout at Praca de Ferreira do Amaral and try my luck there. However, the bridge there towards Taipa is narrow. At first there are no buses behind me as I drive up the long ramp. Taxis can easily overtake me, but the city buses are a little wider and at some point a traffic jam forms behind me because a bus driver doesn’t dare. He soon starts honking and when I pass the top of the 35-meter triangle that forms the bridge, he finally passes. The southern ramp of the bridge leads almost back down to sea level and then for about a kilometer to the coast of Taipa. Whether this is actually an official way for me to get there – I don’t know.

Bicycles are obviously not favorites there, because it doesn’t get better after the bridge. I make a brief orientation stop at the entrance to a construction site, some high-rise buildings block my view, just like in other parts of the city. In a loop I have to drive around a hill with the traffic, but I can’t get straight to the port, the turning loop just before it is already part of the motorway access to the airport, which is also not far away. But pushing the bike, I finally get over the broad expressway and the barrier between the directions, and then across a side street and between industrial plants to the ferry port entrance.

My concerns about taking my bike with me onto a ferry quickly dissipate when I can buy a bike ticket directly from the ticket counter. I didn’t expect that at all, I don’t even have to dismantle the bike for transport and the bike is then stowed behind an unused counter on board the speed ferry. However, the ticket costs 65 Hong Kong dollars (about 7 euros).

The trip to Hong Kong Island takes over an hour, in the first class there are even cold drinks. The crossing is very comfortable and because of the bike I am even asked to get out early in the row. The passport control is also unproblematic in Hong Kong and, like in Macau, there is no stamp in the passport, just a printout that allows me to stay until the beginning of June. Outside of the “Macau Ferry Terminal” first I have to orientate myself. Left-hand traffic is also popular here in Hong Kong and there are actually only one-way streets, and then the traffic is more or less three-dimensional, because the lanes are also arranged one above the other. And these ramp constructions, which often lead to one of the expressways, are of course taboo for pedestrians and cyclists.


I want to come to Queens Road and drive along it for a while and luckily it is also one of the few roads that are signposted. So all I need to do is follow this sign at the beginning. There are many bus stops and besides taxis, the two-story buses are the most striking vehicles on the street. They are always very fast and at the stops they mostly ruthlessly get in my way. Apparently there are many different lines and the stops, at least here in the city center, are very close, often only a few hundred meters apart.

I have to stop at a lot of traffic lights, usually drive up to the line and then I’m usually the first. At least until an overtaking bus, that already drives to the next stop slows me down by pushing me to the lane border, is slowing me down. The road is 2 – 3 lanes; there is no lane reserved for two-wheelers here in Hong Kong. But the curb is high and a fence often delimits the footpath next to the road.


I have long since arrived on Hennessy Road and at the Causeway Metro station, from which my hostel is only about 200 meters away, but it takes me a long time to find it. It’s a relatively small building between all these tall office and shopping towers, and lots of signs for several small hostels hang out at the two entrances. The room I get on the first floor is extremely small, reminds me a little of Amsterdam and the sometimes very small hotel rooms there. For the next few days I can put my bike on a kind of balcony or extended canopy, right in front of the small window of my room.

Posted in China, Macau

It’s going foreward and to Macau

Happy Chinese New Year – year of the pig

I don’t go straight from Zhongshan southwards, because the mountains there suggest that the route could be uncomfortable. Instead, I want to go in an arc along the coast to Zhuhai, my last stop before the Macau border. To the east, a broad traffic artery leads away from the city center and only after a good 12 kilometers then as S111 further south. Out of town there is the now familiar picture, with only a minor change: housing along the expressway, here a little off the actual asphalt belt. In addition to the motorway and expressway, there is also a new railway line at Nanlang.

A little further south there is the opportunity to switch to a side route, at least temporarily, and here I can enjoy cycling again with less traffic. The weather is getting better and better and the road winds through a hilly landscape for a few kilometers. After a short time, signs indicate a museum: The Dr. Sun Yat Sen Museum extends west of the street in the shape of almost the entire village of Cuiheng. This is where the founder of the Republic of 1921 most recently had a residence and is also where he was born. The crowd of visitors in front of a security check at the entrance to the apparently extensive grounds is quite large.
After a few kilometers, the road leads back to the southbound motorway and then runs parallel to it, only a few meters away. At an underpass that is only approved for small vehicles, I finally get further east to the coast.


In Shangzha I spontaneously stop at a restaurant and have a noodle soup made with vegetables and chicken. It is Muslims who run this small restaurant on the edge of a commercial area and they make their noodles by hand in the traditional way, just as I saw it a few weeks ago in Bo’ao in Hainan. The boss gazes inquisitively at my bicycle parked in front of his entrance, then looks at what I’m writing in my diary while his son is in the kitchen preparing the simple meal for me.
These are real pasta that were used in the soup, not the usual rice noodle or vermicelli.

Through Shangzha and Xiazha I drive on and come back to the S111 and after a short distance along this straight, newly built wide road to a wide bay, Quanwan Bay, on the northern bank of which a whole chain of snow-white skyscrapers stretches.
After bypassing the foothills of a hill, the bay is followed by Xiangzhou Bay, which extends much further south, where there is also a small fishing port, protected by the offshore island of Yeli Island.

In the afternoon sun, workers are busy preparing flower beds for planting along a promenade.

This outermost district of Zhuhai consists largely of holiday apartment blocks, which are secured behind high fences in the first row on this spacious promenade, with a view of the snow-white facade of an architecturally unusual concert hall which is located on this island.

I then leave the coastal area at this part of the bay and drive from here towards the city center, because my accommodation is at the opposite end of the city and about 8 km away.
Again, I have to take a detour because, as it turns out, the S366 bridge over the Qianshan River, which would pretty much lead straight into the neighborhood with my pre-booked hotel, is again closed to bicycles. So I have to drive a few kilometers along the river bank to a more makeshift bridge, which then leads from a different direction and right through a construction site. Not bad either, but it takes me a while to find the hotel, which is somewhat hidden in the district.

Ultimately, however, I find the Lim Hotel and later in the evening the somewhat angular and confusing quarter with its many small shops is no longer confusing.
For dinner in the evening, rice with celery and Chinese spinach plus an egg pancake, I drink a Tsingtao beer once, as a farewell to China, which I want to leave tomorrow via the Macau border.

But at the border I am rejected on my bike, so all discussions with an overseer and with one of the border policemen are of no use. The bicycle is not considered a vehicle, I am supposed to load it as it is, like hundreds of other pedestrians, through a large check-in, control and customs hall. The Gonbei port looks like a huge station building and a friendly policewoman explains to me when I ask that I can go through there with my bike.
Even in front of the building, travelers are divided into several corridors, at the end of which all luggage is examined. So unload all bags and put them in the scanner, the bike is of no interest. Then it goes into the large hall, where the passport or ID card control is mainly automated. But not for foreigners. In front of the control counter, I have to push my bike through the narrowly fenced-in corridor, as well as a few hundred meters behind again on the Macau side. My passport and visa are examined, the computer then takes a while to allow the official at the counter to stamp the exit stamp in my passport.
Then comes the Chinese customs, again I have to unload the bags and put them in the next scanner. But there are no complaints.

On the other side of the large hall there is not even a stamp in the passport, just a slip of paper. Then suddenly I’m in Macau – a small bus station, the sun is now pushing harder through the clouds again.
I sit on a bench, take off my thin jacket. A wall of unadorned eight- to fourteen-story apartment buildings rises in front of me, between which the narrow street disappears, on which I plunge into the narrowness of this city shortly thereafter.
Now I have to get used to one-way streets, to sudden changes of direction and sudden climbs behind the next corner – and to left-hand traffic. That is still the slightest problem, but the one-way regulation combined with the narrowness of the streets slow me down several times.

The narrow buildings directly along the streets, where often only a narrow footpath offers minimal distance, makes the city very confusing. I get a brief overview in a side street that leads steeply up a hill about 500 meters behind the border to a small park and the remains of an old Portuguese fort. The ‘Fortaleza da Mong Ha’.
All around very different high-rise buildings and in the distance the silhouette of the ‘Macao Tower’ and the casino ‘Gran Lisboa’.

It is less than 2 kilometers to my hotel here in Macau, the Guia Hotel, which is located halfway below the lighthouse of the same name at a further elevation, a little further south, but because of the one-way streets it takes me about half an hour to get there.

Guia Lighthouse, located in the central part of Macau