When you visit a city where you have a lot of family it’s easy to spend so much time doing what the locals do that you forget to sometimes do what the tourists do. On one rainy day in Hong Kong we found ourselves standing in an undercover area outside our favorite Causeway Bay cafe without anything to do. All of our cousins were at work, we had plenty of shopping planned for the evening, and we had just eaten so doing what the locals do was done.
Suddenly someone suggested visiting Stanley – the place, not a person. I’d seen Stanley Bay on lists of things to do in Hong Kong but I’d never been there before. Being a good Canadian kid, visiting a place named after the British Lord who gave us hockey’s Stanley Cup [www.hhof.com] sounded great so we checked Google Maps to see how to get there. It turns out that Stanley Bay is located on the exact opposite side of Hong Kong Island from Causeway Bay! Luckily there was a minibus route [www.td.gov.hk] just a few blocks away that would take us straight there in about 40 minutes.
The minibus route passes some nice beaches at Deep Water Bay and Repulse Bay where we saw a handful of people out in the water despite the warm rain. When we finally got there the bus dropped us off just up the hill from Stanley Market, a fairly generic covered tourist market full of small stalls selling clothing, silk, jewelry, small electronics, and trinkets. If you’re into that sort of thing the version out at Stanley seems a little cleaner but not any less crowded than the ones in the city. After walking through a few blocks of market we escaped to the waterfront.
Much of the waterfront seems to have been recently renovated and the Stanley Promenade provides a very nice walk around the bay.
For some reason I really got a kick out of the “caution uneven surface” warning sticker next to the tactile bumps in place for the visually impaired.
After walking around the bay we got to the older part town where cool little waterfront bars and restaurants probably do great business on sunny days. We stopped for some drinks and snacks (it is, after all, still in Hong Kong) and then walked around Stanley Plaza, a small modern shopping center frequented by tourists and expats. There is a bus terminal at the plaza so we hopped on the number 40 and headed back into town to get back to more shopping and eating with the locals.
Stanley is one of the oldest villages in Hong Kong, dating back to the 1500’s. While it is very much a tourist destination, some of the historical architecture and feel still remain. I’m looking forward to going back again one day when the weather is a little nicer.
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