Explore the awe-inspiring Asia adventure of encountering a large buddha statue in Hong Kong.

Splendours of an East Asia Adventure: Hong Kong and Taiwan

By on January 16, 2024

“More champagne, Miss Hasbron?” Now that was music to my ears! As I cruised the sky on the way to my East Asia adventure aboard Hong Kong Airlines, I couldn’t help but think how lucky I was. From the 180° flatbed seat and stocked amenities kit to the à la carte dining options and ‘SkyBar’ area where one can indulge even more, travellers afforded Business Class services are simply spoiled. Endless bubbles and local Asian delicacies helped set that authentic vibe before commencing my travels to Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Hong Kong

As I entered the city, I was awestruck by the sheer magnitude and astronomical height of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers. It was as though the buildings touched the clouds! Settling in at the Hyatt Centric Victoria Harbour Hong Kong (formerly Hotel VIC), a new luxury lifestyle hotel situated on the harbourfront in Hong Kong’s North Point district, I had the most stunning views of the harbour and Hong Kong’s modern, yet historical city.

I was ready to jump right into exploration mode. A tour of two of Hong Kong’s oldest districts, Sham Shui Po & Shek Kip Mei, was the perfect way to begin. Luckily, I was not alone, as the number of people shopping and walking in this area was mind-blowing. This area is a plethora of everything you can imagine — electronics stores, vendors selling art (this is a well-known area for artists and designers), and my favourite, traditional Hong Kong cuisine.

Exploring a market on an East Asian Adventure. © Brigitte Hasbron

Culinary Delights

My taste buds were given the royal treatment as I tried several eateries recommended by the Michelin Guide, including indulging at Hong Kong’s world’s famous Dim Sum restaurant, Tim Ho Wan. What makes this restaurant different is the fact that even with its 5-star culinary offerings it is the least expensive Michelin-star eatery in the world. Their price point is geared towards the everyday patron. Believe me when I say, you will not be disappointed. I couldn’t stop eating! If you are planning on going, I would recommend that you go early as the queue when we went was around the block. That says it all right there!

Speaking of culinary delights, dinner at Fu Rong at the Ocean Terminal Deck is by far one of the most sensory-overloaded dining experiences I have had to date. As if it wasn’t enough to enjoy Fu Rong’s contemporary Sichuan dishes, the location is also a feast for the eyes by allowing you to witness the sensational multimedia extravaganza that occurs every evening. Recognized as one of the world’s most spectacular light shows, the Symphony of Lights hypnotizes you with its mesmerizing lasers and LED screens that light up the breathtaking views of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.

A city view of Hong Kong. © Brigitte Hasbron

Bucket list Worthy

Onward and upward to what seemed like I was reaching for the sky, I headed to another attraction that showcases Hong Kong’s beauty — Ngong Ping Village on Lantau Island. Luckily, I don’t have a fear of heights. The Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car is equipped with a glass bottom to add to the sensory effect. Climbing further and further into the lush mountains, I could see in the distance one of the reasons why I took this cable car — the Big Buddha. Seeing the sun hit the bronze statue, contrasted with the spectacular scenic mountains, was a photo-worthy experience!

The Ngong Ping 360 Cable Car. © Brigitte Hasbron

Climb to See the Buddha

Throughout my visit to the Ngong Ping Village, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the traditional Chinese architecture, including the details of the buildings. In the village, tourists can shop and also take in some entertainment. However, my goal was to climb those 268 stairs for the full experience of seeing the Tian Tan Buddha up close. The beauty of seeing the Buddha sitting on a lotus throne overlooking Ngong Ping Village and the Ngong Ping Plateau was well worth it!

The entrance leading to the majestic Tian Tan Buddha, located at Ngong Ping Village. @Brigitte Hasbron
The majestic view of Buddhist deities and the Ngong Ping Plateau on the island of Lantau in Hong Kong. @Brigitte Hasbron

Making my way back to the cable car, I took the time to visit the Po Lin Monastery, one of Hong Kong’s most important Buddhist sanctums. It has been dubbed the “Buddhist World in the South.” The colourful manifestations of Buddhist iconography and life-size incense sticks that filled the air were impressive. To get into the spirit of things, I tried an authentic vegetarian meal typically eaten by Buddhist Monks. It was all rather enlightening regardless of the faith you practice!

Don’t Miss the Night Market!

Hong Kong during the day is wonderful; however, after nightfall, it’s another phenomenon altogether. That is when the largest and liveliest night market in Hong Kong, the Temple Street Night Market, comes to life. Like many tourists, I was captivated by the plethora of vendors and the buzz of the city’s signature neon signs. I’ll not soon forget the aromas from the sundry food stalls, the endless fortune tellers wanting to read my palms or face, and the lively karaoke street performers. It is this energetic vibe that has made the Temple Street Night Market one of the most popular in Hong Kong.

Temple Street Night Market in Hong Kong. © Brigitte Hasbron

Taiwan

After a short flight, I found myself exploring Taiwan, a little island east of mainland China that once belonged to Japan. In contrast to the hustle and bustle vibe of Hong Kong, Taiwan’s ambiance is more laid back. Even so, it offers travellers enamoured with Asian culture numerous historical and cultural attractions.

Both cyclists and hikers alike will enjoy this island with its bike-friendly culture and 268 mountains. It is a hotspot for active trekkers, specifically the Taroko Gorge. Known as the Taiwanese Grand Canyon, it is the country’s premier scenic attraction. I had the pleasure of hiking and witnessing the massive marble cliffs, the Eternal Shrine, and Taroko’s various scenic beauties like its waterfalls and caves.

The stunning Eternal Shrine, is a landmark and memorial shrine complex in Taroko National Park in Hualian Taiwan. @Brigitte Hasbron

Experiences on My East Asia Adventure

I couldn’t go to Taiwan without experiencing the skyscraper that dwarfs all others, Tapiei 101. Resembling a gigantic bamboo stalk, the building was officially classified as the world’s tallest, until Dubai introduced us to the famed Burj Khalifa. Tapei 101 stands out quite literally since, unlike Hong Kong’s landscape, there are few tall buildings.

My adventures in Taiwan were unique in that they were completely interactive. Case in point, my trek into the Hualien Mountains to the Cidal Hunter School with the indigenous tribe, Amis. The Amis tribe makes up 2.4% (or approximately 200,000 people) of the Taiwanese population. Here I learned some of their basic survival skills and discovered an appreciation for their culture. It was fascinating to learn from the tribespersons, everything from cleaning your hands with berries to making a fire in less than a minute. (Full disclosure: my group wasn’t successful, but we had lots of laughs in the process).

Trekking even further in the jungle, I also learned how to make a water container from elephant leaves and sweets from sticky rice. An open fire was used to prepare wild boar and other delicacies. Each dish was visually pleasing and tastefully satisfying. The respect that the Amis tribe has for Mother Nature is unlike anything I have seen. Their mantra is: “The mountain is the market and the ocean is the refrigerator.” They take only what they need and always give back. What an incredible experience!

Wild boar being cooked as I learned survival skills at Cidal Hunter School. @Brigitte Hasbron
Learning survival skills in the Hualien Mountains, like knowing how to make a water container from elephant leaves from one of the indigenous Amis tribesmen at the Cidal Hunter School. @Brigitte Hasbron

Soak in Beitou’s Hot Springs

Not one to shy away from most things, I took part in a local bathhouse in a well-known hot-spring area of Taiwan, Beitou. A vital part of Taiwanese culture has long been a rejuvenating soak. After visiting Thermal Valley, one of Beitou’s hot-spring water sources that produces the special green-sulfur mineral water that visitors desire the most, I wanted to know more. Indeed, Beitou has three different types of hot spring water, green, red, and white, all with their distinct health benefits. The green sulfur hot spring is strongly sulfurous but I’m glad to report there is no rotten egg smell here. The jade-coloured water is also the hottest (average temperature is 50-75 degrees Celsius). This type of hot spring is highly prized. It’s only found in two places in the world: Beitou, Taiwan, and Akita, Japan!

Staying at the Sheraton Grand Taipei Hotel made getting around easy. It is centrally located to many attractions, including the shopping and entertainment districts. History aficionados will want to explore the National Palace Museum. It is home to one of the largest collections of Chinese artifacts and artworks in the world. The hotel’s eight stylish restaurants, including a 2 Michelin star, will please avid food lovers like myself.

Visit Taiwan’s Most Famous Night Market

Speaking of deliciousness, if you are serious about food, a trip to the largest and most famous night market in Taiwan, Shilin Night Market, is a must! Seeing vendors cook in front of you and smelling the herbs and spices as they plate your meal in record time is just mind-blowing! Exploring the market is the best way, in my opinion, to discover and savour traditional dishes by way of Taiwanese Street food.

The largest and most famous night market in Taiwan is the Shilin Night Market. This night market is a true food lover’s paradise! @Brigitte Hasbron
Oyster omelettes are being made to order at the largest and most famous night market in Taiwan, Shilin Night Market. This night market is a true food lover’s paradise! @Brigitte Hasbron

My East Asia adventure provided me with many memorable experiences that will last me a lifetime! Both Hong Kong and Taiwan are evolving with the times. They’re offering more and more to tourists, all the while being mindful of their cultural heritage. This is fitting considering the desires of today’s travelers. They seem to want to experience two realms of the places they visit. One is where they are going, the next is how they came to be.

Additional information on East Asia

For more information about Hong Kong and Taiwan, visit: www.discoverhongkong.com and https://eng.taiwan.net.tw/

Disclosure: I was hosted by the Hong Kong Tourism Board. All opinions expressed in this article are solely my own.

After a long day, a rich and tasty avocado, egg and bacon salad was the way to go!!🥑🥚🥓😍😋

And the pièce de résistance, triple-cream Brie with @artisinbakery baguette - the perfect match for such a meal. 

At this rate, indulgence should be my nickname 😉

#foodblogger #foodporn #travelblogger #foodphotography #indulgence #longday #avocado #triplecream #baguette #frenchcuisine #enjoylife #luxelife #thefoodteaseeats #thefoodtease #ifwtwa1 #fwt #tmac
Sophistication, opulent decor, and beautiful luxury desserts - this is @delyseesottawa 🍰🍮
.
Read The Food Tease column in the Spring/Summer issue of @luxeottawamagazine on how Delysees's Creative Director, Fred Naggar, successfully left awe-inspiring footprints in the fashion world to embark on a new adventure with his wife - the world of high-end desserts.😋🍰😍
.
Sweets for the sweets... Enjoy!
.
#foodblogger #foodporn #travelblogger #dessert #dessertsofinstagram #luxury #luxurydesserts #delysees #creativedirector #parisienne #frenchsweets #frenchdesserts #published #thefoodteaseeats #ifwtwa1 #travelmediaca #tmac
Happy Easter, everyone!!🐣 🐰
Enjoying my family's Easter tradition of our colourful egg fight...I didn't win, but there's always next year 😉
.
#foodblogger #travelblogger #foodporn #easter #eastereggs #easterdecor #familytradition #annualtradition #europeanstyle #potofgold #familytime #thefoodteaseeats #thefoodteasetravel
Friday night, I had the privilege of attending the 2024 Canadian Culinary Championships - Mystery Wine Challenge - People's Choice Award🥇🥇@greatkitchenparty
.
Congratulations to all the chefs involved in this intense competition. The chefs needed to create a dish to pair with the mystery wine. Each chef was given a tricky budget of $550 for the 250 guests. I was witnessing creativity at its best!!😋
.
The winning dish🥇 (centered in the middle of the photo) was created by JP Dublado: Red Deer Resort and Casino, Red Deer AB
Dish: beet & soy cured albacore tuna - ponzu gel - tomato water - puffed wild rice - beet green oil
.
Amazing talent from all the chefs as they paired with the mystery wine (a 2021 Lailey Vineyard Zweigelt)🍷🍷
.
#foodblogger ##foodgram #foodcompetition #travelblogger #CCC2024 #greatkitchenparty #peopleschoice #peopleschoiceawards #underpressure #foodandwine #underbudget #onbudget #culinarycompetition #thefoodteasedrinks #thefoodteaseeats #ifwtwa1 #tmac
Planning for your BIG wedding day💍 and looking for something different than the traditional bachelorette party? 🎉🎉
.
Then you need to read my solo Montreal getaway article featured in the latest issue of @ottawawedding magazine.
. 
Special thanks to @montreal for the beautiful experiences.
.
Amongst the amazing activities:
● High Tea at the Ritz-Carlton 🍾🥂
● Pampering at the Scandinave Spa 💆🏼‍♀️and at Le Germain Hotel 
● Visiting the beautiful light show at the Botanical Gardens ⚘️✨️
● Culinary experiences at the Foxy restaurant and discovering local restaurants during a food tour😋😋
.
Solo getaway or with a friend or two, any reason to visit and experience Montréal is a good one!! 😍🤗
.
With its countless cultural activities and experiences, one can easily enjoy this beautiful city! And let's not forget their food scene... that alone is reason enough to visit!!😍😋
.
I think it's time for you to discover, and for some, REDISCOVER Montreal! 🤩🤩
.
#travelblogger #foodblogger #travelgram
#mtlmoments #mtl #mtlfoodies #published #presstrip #passportready
#alwaysexploring #travellikealocal #localbusiness #ifwtwa1 #tmactravel #thefoodteasetravel #exploremontreal #touristattractions #solo #solotravel
I am very proud to share my culinary "observer" perspective regarding @lecordonbleuottawa culinary workshops in the latest issue of @luxeottawamagazine 😊
.
Visiting my alma mater and watching the culinary workshop from a different lens reinforced the rationale as to why I pursued my culinary education…the pleasure of savouring the fruits of your labour. 😋
.
It is this journey that ignited my passion for cooking, helped hone my skills, and introduced me to a world of flavours and techniques that continue to inspire me to this day. And perhaps it will inspire you as well!👨‍🍳👩🏼‍🍳
.
Check out the article and the new culinary workshops being offered. Enjoy the adventure!!😊🤗
.
#foodblogger #travelbloggers #foodlovers #foodgram #culinaryinstitute #workshop #lcb #lecordonbleu #lecordonbleuottawa #alwaysexploring #alwayslearning #published #luxemagazine #ifwtwa1 #tmac #tmactravel
Where's my rubber ducky 🐤😉?! 
.
A year ago this week, I was enjoying some bath time while in @discoverdominica 🏖🏝😍
.
Dominica's lush scenery is extraordinary, and I'm grateful to have been invited to visit their beautiful island😊😊
.
Visiting Wotten Waven Sulphur Springs was perfect to relax and rid of some unwanted stress. And the outdoor bath surrounded by all that green landscape was simply the BEST! An unforgettable experience! 🤩
.
Dominica's adventure activities - diving, snorkeling, hiking, kayaking, swimming - are just some of the many ways to enjoy this tropical island.🤿🙂
.
Put Dominica on your travel list. You'll love it!!❤️❤️
.
#foodblogger #travelgram #travelblogger #passportready #presstrip #discoverdominica #dominica #sulphursprings #lush #bubblebath #outdoorbath #newdestination #newexperiences #tmactravel #ifwtwa1 #thefoodteasetravel #tmac #tropical #zen #wottenwavenhotsprings
What goes better together than Champagne and lobster?! Nothing, except MORE Champagne...hence the magnum of Veuve!🍾🥂🦞
.
This is the definition of indulgence. 😉
.
Why wait for special occasions?! Enjoy what makes you happy whenever the mood strikes! 
.
Carpe diem!!🍾🥂😍
.
#foodblogger #foodlovers #travelbloggers #travelgram #champagne #champagnelover #lobsters #lobsterlover #carpediem #indulgence #anyoccasion #seizetheday #lobsterdinner #splurge #thefoodteasedrinks #thefoodteaseeats #bubbles #more #moreplease #specialoccasions #anyday

Follow Us On Instagram