My cousin Liz took me to Sham Shui Po, known as the fabric district, while I was visiting her in Hong Kong. It's a fabric and crafting lover's dream with shop after shop of everything you can imagine, from buttons, to beads, and of course, fabric. We walked up and down street after street of tiny shops selling each specific thing. The best part is, everything is so so cheap - I bought 25 yards of black satin ribbon for $2 US dollars. My wheels have been spinning ever since trying to dream up things I could make with everything I saw. I loved all the textures and colors of this neighborhood, I could have spent a whole week wandering around and buying everything!
After about a week of traveling around the urban jungle of Hong Kong, I was excited to visit the Chi Lin Nunnery and Nan Lin Garden. Located in Kowloon, it's a really short walk from the Diamond Hill stop on the metro. I love the juxtaposition of the greenery and calmness against the busy city. Inside the gardens, there's a big buddhist temple that is less elaborate than the Po Lin Monastery but just as beautiful. There's also a giant koi pond and a vegetarian restaurant behind a waterfall. This is a great place to visit to get a break from the skyscrapers and best of all, it's free admission!
After visiting the Po Lin Monastery, Liz and I hopped a bus over to Tai O, a quaint fishing village about 30 minutes south. It's recommended to see both places in the same trip and I agree, especially because it's a little bit of a trek to get there.
Liz reminded me that we visited Tai O when our family came to Hong Kong over 15 years ago but it was a very distant memory. I absolutely loved how make-shift and old the town is. The busy center of town is packed with vendors selling seafood and then you can walk around the quieter, residential parts where the houses are built on stilts in the water. The people are really nice and don't mind all the tourists walking around their neighborhood - you can also see right into most of their homes. I really loved all the colors and textures and getting a glimpse into this side of Hong Kong life.
My friend Sara is from Hong Kong and luckily, I was able to spend some time with her before she left for California for work. We actually used to work together so it was really fun catching up outside of the office and seeing her home town. One of things we did was take the tram up to Victoria Peak, the highest point in Hong Kong. It is a very big tourist attraction so it's a little chaotic getting up there but the views were worth it, especially if you stay until the sun goes down.
For our first full day together, my cousin Liz and I decided do a day trip to Ngong Pin on Lantau Island. It's the home of the Po Lin Monastery and the famous Tian Tan Buddha. Unfortunately, the cable car to get up to the buddha is being repaired so we took the metro and bus instead. The lush greenery and serene views of the water was a stark contrast to the bustling city that's only about an hour away.
The buddha is massive and the Po Lin Monastery is beautiful and colorful. We even got to see a traditional buddhist meditation practice in the temple. I think we were most obsessed with all the free roaming dogs and cows. It's an awesome day trip but be careful if you get carsick easily.
Sedona was our final stop on our road trip and it couldn't have been a more perfect ending to a long and fun adventure. We used our time there to relax, decompress and rest - we even extended our stay an extra night. Of course, we had to visit the Grand Canyon while we were there so we spent one day at the park. Unfortunately, it was freezing cold so the extent of our hike and my photo taking was limited.
Overall, I'd say we had a pretty successful road trip with our pup. We visited 4 states, explored 9 cities and drove over 3,500 miles. We got to spend time with my brother and his family and also met a lot of really nice people along the way. Most importantly, Chris and I had really quality time together and we took advantage of all the new situations to help build Charlie's confidence. We're back in the normal swing of life but we're already planning our next trip.
Check out more photos from our trip on Instagram by searching #chrisandjamietravels. Thanks for following along!