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Hong Kong has most spectacular skyline in the world. Hands down. The end. It’s what you’d get if you scooped up New York City and poured it across a mountainous landscape. These are views from the famous Victoria Peak, the lookout on the highest mountain on Hong Kong island. To reach the summit, we took a tram that has been in operation since 1888. The tram ride alone may be worth the visit, as it felt like we were going nearly vertical up the side of the mountain. At one point, the city views out the window were at a complete 45-degree angle.
How brilliant is this? Escalators on the city streets! I had no idea this existed, but Hong Kong has the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world. If there’s one thing that the cities in Asia have figured out, it’s vertical space. Everything goes up and up in these cities. There’s not just a walkway, there are layers of walkways stacked on top of each other.
We quickly learned that Hong Kong has an impressive, and very international, food scene. We prepped our palette for Japan with some of the best yakitori I’ve ever had, at a restaurant called Yardbird, but mostly we scoured the city for the best dim sum. Here’s some lunch time dumplings, xiao long bao with crab roe and black truffle topping, from Ding Dim 1968. Highly recommended!
From Hong Kong we flew to the city of Guilin and spent one rainy night there before driving west toward the Longsheng rice terraces. At the heart of the city are two lakes, which remain from a Tang Dynasty moat that once surrounded the city. It was here that we got our first taste of China’s exterior illumination skills. The entire perimeter of the lake was illuminated in a rainbow of colors — the trees, the bridges, and the twin Sun and Moon pagodas floating near the lake’s edge.
Even though I heard it was an off season, I was absolutely determined to see the rice terraces in Longsheng county. The rice had just been harvested, so instead of the terraces being covered in green, or a sea of yellow, I was told to expect brown. Hey, that was alright with me. The bigger problem ended up being the weather. We trekked up to the top of the little village called Ping'an in the pouring rain, as water squished through our sneakers, and when we finally got to the lookout — nothing. The mist was so thick we couldn’t see five feet in front of us. We waited and waited…and waited. And just as we were about to leave in defeat, the clouds cleared and we got a little peek at the Nine Dragons and Five Tigers terraces below. Built some 650 years ago, these terraces are absolutely breathtaking — like works of art made out of agriculture.