Cannes, Riviera beach
Bois de Boulogne, second largest park in Paris on the west side of Paris 16th district. It was Napoléon's idea to have lakes in this park, like in Hyde Park in London, "to give life to this arid promenade". The upper and lower lake receive their water from a canal drawn from Ourq River and from artesian wells in Passy. I pass by this lake almost everyday and never get tired of this beautiful view.
It was a weekend to explore the places I meant to go for ages. The weather was cooperative enough to add the surreal dimension of this building #fondationlouisvuitton, completed in 2014 - designed by the architect #frankgehry. This cultural institute was commissioned by LVMH group CEO Bernard Arnault.
The structure of the glass roof allows the building to collect and reuse rain water and improves its geothermal power. Besides, the Fondation has attained its overall goal to reach HQE (Haute Qualité Environmentale) certification noted as Très Performant. The steps taken to achieve this level of certification could be considered equivalent to LEED Gold.
These glasses, originally transparent, have been covered by an array of colored filters - a temporary work by #danielburen since May 2016.
If there was only one hike I would have to recommend while you are in Taipei, it would be the Teapot 茶壺山-Banping mountain 半平山 close to Jiufen. The actual hike, which is about 11km, is not challenging but fun with some rock/rope climbing parts. Because the views of Northeast coast from the top are stunning, going there on a clear day is definitely a must. In the morning, we had a sunny weather but once we reached the Teapot peak, we could see a wave of white clouds erasing the whole landscape views and from this point to Banping 半平山, it was so cloudy that we could not see anything!
How to get there
You can reach Teapot Mountain 茶壺山 by train or bus. I personally chose the bus option. Bus #1062 from Zhongxiao Fuxing subway station - exit 1. Once you get out from the subway, do a U-turn and then turn left. The bus stop will be there. You can get off at the final stop, JinguaShi 金瓜石 - The best seats are on the left side of the bus for the view during the way.
Once arrived, enter the Jinguashi park and then, you can ask the direction for the teapot hike at the information center. There are also lots of signs so it is hard to miss this trail.
At the teapot peak, you can either go back or continue to go to Banping Mountain 半平山 - which we did and it's definitely worth it.
After BanPing mountain 半平山, you go down and have a few options including going back to Jinguashi bus station, exploring another mountain or continuing a easy street going down that leads you to Jiufen old street. Last bus leaving Jinguashi to Taipei is at 9.30pm. Easy cards can be used for the whole trip.
Count 1h from ZhongXiao Fuxing station to JinguaShi final stop. The actual hike lasted for about 4h with a quick lunch stop on Banping Mt. 半平山.The best is to go there early morning and if you don't feel too tired, you can take the opportunity to explore Jiufen Village later on.
Distance: About 5KM
Incredible views.This hike covers two mountains "The Twins" and the hike actually starts at another mountain, called Violet Hill. Good work-out...with a 1000 steps section. Don't forget to bring bottles of water.
How to get there ~~Public Transport From the City Hall, Central, take Bus 6 or 6A. Two stops downhill from the Chung Hom Kok turnoff, alight at the Wilson Trail bus stop. Section 1 starts just by the bus stop.
~~Section Start Point Section 1 starts at Stanley Gap Road, by the bus stop and Wilson Trail inaugural tablet. Go up the stone steps – and continue up.
Section End Point Hong Kong Parkview.
Distance: Around 7km
Duration: 2h + the rest of the day to chill out on the beach
Easy hike. One of the most popular in HK.
Try to go on a clear day as the view from the top is supposed to be amazing. We sadly didn't enjoy as it was hazy that day...
The plus: you end up at Shek's O beach which is rewarding....so bring your swimsuit along with you! Shek'o is perfect to chill out. The few local restaurants enable you to stay the rest of the day there. The local/village vibes are contrasting with the busy HK center so that hike is a perfect option if you need to relax and get away from the city.
Starting point: Take the MTR to Chai Wan. Take Exit A.
You will go through a mall for a few steps, stay on your right and exit at the first outdoor walkway on your right. Go straight at the first intersection on the catwalk.
~~You want to go down the catwalk to reach Wan Tsui Road. It is the road which will be to the left of the tall glass building (Youth Square) pictured below.
~~Walk on Wan Tsui Road for about 200 meters until you reach Lin Shing Road (on your left). Take Lin Shing Road
~~You will walk about 300 meters on Lin Shing Road until you reach a cross-road and see the Cape Collinson Catholic Cemetery entrance right in front of you. Go through the entrance and take the first set of stairs on your left.
~~Walk up the road after this set of stairs
~~At the top of the stairs, you'll be facing a parking lot slightly on the right and a park on the left. Head right towards the sign post
~~Follow the small paved road in the direction of Tai Tam Gap. The rest is pretty easy, just follow the road to the trail (head left). The sign posts clearly show the way.
~~The first half a the trail is tree shaded and quite nice, with little in terms of view however. Eventually, you will reach a sign post with clear indications for the Dragon's Back. After a little climb, the scenic part of the trail begins.
At the end of the trail, you arrive right at a bus stop. You can take bus #9 to the Shau Kei Wan MTR station but I suggest you instead take #9 the other way and head to Shek-O for some food and a leisurely walk by the beach.
Although it is called the "morning trail", taking this path to reach the top of Victoria peak on early evening is also a great alternative to admire the city lights.
Starting near HK University on Hatton Road, this trail is easily accessible and with its 3 KM paved route all the way to the top, it is also a good running road option if you are in shape or want to train running up hills.
The best view is actually not on Victoria Peak where all the tourist stop but even higher to this stop. When you end the trail, you will see a road going to the left - about 300 meters further, you will reach the top offering a stunning view of HK.
I would recommend to walk up to the top and take the tram on the way back - The ticket is about HKD 28 with a final stop at Central.
The trail can be accessed in different directions, for instance you can choose to ascend the trail from within the mid-levels, through the junction of Hatton Road and Kotewal Road near the University of Hong Kong or then if you are coming from Central, you can ride the Central Mid-Levels escalator to Conduit Road and walk on until it reaches leafy Kotewall Road. From here, you have to walk up Hatton Road to access the Morning Trail.
- For brunch or dinner / date or group dinners
My top choice as the interior design at causeway bay restaurant is very fancy and intimate. The specialty of this Singaporean restaurant is their Xiao Long Baos in eight colors made with natural ingredients instead of artificial color. They are flavoured with ginseng, foie gras, truffle, cheese, crab roe, garlic, and numbing spice.
Count about 160/230 HKD for two people
Location: 6/F, Lee Theatre, 99 Percival Street, Causeway Bay - ~~銅鑼灣波斯富街99號利舞臺廣場6樓
Din Tai Fung 恆泰豐
It's actually Taiwanese but this restaurant has gone global since its opening in NY, China, Dubai, Japan...When will a branch open in Europe? The Xiao Long Bao 小籠包 is their specialties.
Don't miss: the pork xiao long bao, the crab roe xiao long bao, steamed shrimp and pork dumplings, the pork buns, noodle with sesame sauce and braised beef noodle soup
You often have a waiting line but it usually does not take that long. If you are on holiday in HK, prioritize weekdays to avoid the queue.
Count about 280/300 HKD for two people
G/F, 68 Yee Woo Street, Causeway Bay
Shop 306, 3/F, Silvercord, 30 Canton Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Shop 4F, L4, FoodLoft, Miramar Shopping Centre, 132 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Crystal Jade 翡翠食饮集团
To me, same level of quality and overall standards as Din Tai Fung. From Singapore but the restaurant also has branches all over South East Asia. Also serving Cantonese food.
Don't miss: the Xiao Long Bao, the handmade Lamian noodle (at Causeway branch) and the braised pork with dried beancurd sheet.
http://hk.crystaljade.com/ locations here
Count about 280/300 HKD for two people
- For quick lunch
Tim Ho Wan 添好運
More canteen style, this Dim Sum restaurant meaning "to add good luck" is well known as it is the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world. I wouldn't say it's the best cantonese food ever but it's affordable, quick and their convenient location in the underground of HK station makes me come back every time I visit HK.
Don't miss: the baked bun with BBQ sauce 酥皮焗叉燒包 (their specialty), shrimp rolls, prawn dumplings, pork dumpling with shrimp
Try to go during week days to avoid queuing. For 1-4 people. The restaurants are usually small, busy and crowded.
Count 180 HKD for two people
G/F, 9-11 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po
Shop 8, Taui Yuen Mansion Phase 2, 2-20 Kwong Wa Street, Mong Kok
Shop 12A, L1/F, Hong Kong MTR Station, Central
Shop B, C, & D, G/F, 2-8 Wharf Road, Seaview Building, North Point
One Dim Sum
15 Playing Field Rd Shop 1 & 2, Kenwood Mansion, Mong Kok
Subway stop: prince edward Exit A
Chin Chin is a hand-knitted scarves brand recently launched by a friend Karine. Like her, the style of the scarves is simple and timelessly elegant.
By selecting the finest materials and sticking with a mastered hand-made technique, the quality of the scarves is incredible and as soon as you try on the scarf, you are just falling in love with the softness surrounding your neck...
The Infinity scarves collection promises to keep you warm for winter and with the new unveiled cotton line available for spring, you will just want to wear a Chin Chin scarf all year long!
What I really enjoyed was to be able to create and customize my own scarf from the materials to the different colors. Karine accompanies you during the whole process and with her intuitive sense of fashion, she can guide you and make sure you end up with a unique design made just for you.
Get in touch with chinchin for more details through the official facecook page.
Elena, a friend of mine, had posted pictures of these amazing beaches last august 2014 and since then, I always meant to go there myself to appreciate with my own eyes the beauty of this bay. Based in Taiwan and then Paris, I got the chance to visit about 4/5 times HK this year and it was on my last trip I eventually managed to explore Tai Long Wan Beach.
Located on the east coast of the Sai Kung Peninsula in HK, Tai Long Wan became one of my favorite spots of HK. Surprisingly, business tourism activities have not hit this beautiful area. No hotel options and only and one or two local restaurants are settled in Sai Wan and Ham Tin Wan. I am not sure how long this will last but as for now, it’s a perfect get away destination if you are looking at escaping the busy and noisy streets of HK.
There are 4 beaches: Tai Long Wan (the southern beach, first one you see when you reach the bay by hike), Ham Tin Wan 鹹田灣, Tai Wan 大灣 and Tung Wan東灣.
Tai wan is supposed to be the most spectacular & private but I didn't have time to reach this spot. Tung Wan is the most remote beach.
Hike, swim, surf, camp, party with friends, sunbathe & chill out
How to get there:
- You need to first get to Sai Kung Town. Take the MTR to MongKok and then take the minibus to SaiKung from outside the Kwong Wah Hospital. (Other option: take the MTR and exit at Diamond Hill, exit C and take bus 92).
- From Sai Kung, a few possible options.
- The cheapest way is to take the 29R bus. It’s about 5/10 mn walk from the minibus last stop. It gets quickly packed and I think they are not too frequent departures so check ahead the time table or just take a green taxi to Sai Wan Pavillion.
From the pavilion, you can hike about 1h to Ham Tin Wan or Tai wan. It’s easy to find your way and the hike is really enjoyable.
- If you want to skip the hike and are willing to spend a little more money, from Wong Shek Ferry Pier, hire a private speedboat to take you all the way to Ham Tin Beach ($300+ for the boat), or direct from Sai Kung to Tai Long Wan (under $200 each).
To go back to the city:
- You can follow the same path. But after one day of sunbathing and swimming, you can also return by speedboat. Ask the restaurant owners to order a boat at Sai Wan or Ham Tin back to either Wong Shek Pier ($80 per head, 20 mins) or Sai Kung Town directly ($100-120 per head, 30 mins). Definitely worth it. On weekdays, they provide boat return depending on the number of people. Latest was at 5.30pm the last time I was there and Ham Tin didn't have any boat ride back as the beach was empty.
- From Wong Shek Pier, you can take bus no. 94 back to Sai Kung Town (30mins). Beware of the queue...last time, we had to wait about 30mn before stepping in the bus.
If this is a one day trip, leave early in the morning
If you want to do the hike, avoid being hungover...Getting to Tai Long Wan is actually very long. We left in the morning and it took us about 2h30/3h to get there. It's a long way and worth organizing yourself ahead in terms of transportation
Next time, I would use the speedboat, especially if this is a one day trip, in order to save some time
The best would be to camp there and stay two days, to fully enjoy there, take your time to chill out. You can rent the camping equipments from the restaurants
Bring water, some snacks and sunscreen