Chinese New Year is the biggest local festival, and it took having kids for me to really get into it. Before that, like most expats, we’d plan a trip overseas for the long holiday. One year, even before the kids, we stayed home and realized it was actually quite nice.

This year, V booked his company holiday home on Lantau island for a two day staycation. Lantau is my favourite Hong Kong getaway, but I was a little miffed because I wasn’t sure winter was the right time to go to a place famous for its beach. Well, okay, hiking trails too but given that our kids are young, how much of that were we going to do?

Turns out, quite a lot.

We ended up getting the longer, slow ferry out, but the advantage of this is that the deck is open and the kids spent the entire ride gazing out to sea, the wind blowing through their hair.


Landing in Mui Wo, we fortified ourself with some McDonald’s before shopping for provisions to take with us to the flat. Seeing as it was going to be the CNY weekend, we weren’t sure what would be available the next couple of days.

The next morning, we went for a little hike, following a buffalow trail and landing down near a rocky beach.


Then, we did a little BBQ. I’m not a great fan of BBQs in general mainly because of the effort it takes to start the fire and then the varied to substandard quality of the food actually produced as a result of the effort. This time was a case in point because we purchased meat from the little shop at the holiday home and it was not stellar, not to mention that the fire took ages to start. So much so that V who had insisted on buying two days worth of provisions ended up giving up on the idea of doing another BBQ (thank God!).

After that, I drummed up the energy to take the kids to the beach. I thought it would be warm being post-noon by then, but it was actually overcast and quite cold. Nene ended up being completely disobedient and racing into the freezing water, as a result of which they really couldn’t spend much time on the beach since once he got out he found it too cold.

That evening we went to Mui Wo and the kids had a really good time in the local park. We then wandered around in search of a restaurant. The local Chinese joint was packed, so we landed up in Kitchen, and I highly recommend it. The Ceasar salad was one of the best we’ve had ever, the pizza was great though the burger was a little on the dry side.


The next morning, we did another hike and meandered into a little village. I could see V’s eyes lighting up because it’s exactly the life he would like to lead and he can never believe it’s possible in Hong Kong.

Then I proved my supermum capabilities by taking the kids to the beach. This time, they stuck to the sand, though they did get wet in the end. It was super pleasant sitting near a group of buffaloes and just watching the ocean as the kids played. I’m definitively an ocean person, I’ve decided.

And then it was time to go home. As usual, the kids fell asleep just as it was time to leave a transport option – Mimi in the ferry just as it was about to dock in Central forcing us to take  a cab and then nene in the cab just as we reached home. En route, we discovered that neither V nor I had taken a key and we had no idea how we were going to get into our house since our helpers were off for CNY. Turns out they are smarter than us and left the door unlocked (which is not such a big scandal in an apartment complex like ours). But in the confusion, we ended up leaving Nene’s schoolbag somewhere… turns out it had been left in the lift lobby itself and not the taxi, so we were able to get it back.

The highlight of Monday was watching the lion dance at our apartment. I can never get over the excitement of that. It’s my favourite part of the festival.

On Tuesday, I had planned a playdate with Nene’s besties from kindergarten. They had not seen each other since they went into primary school so I wasn’t sure how they would get one, but they really enjoyed themselves, so much so that we got them together again in the week.

And that was our CNY weekend. The four days flew by quite nicely and productive and I have to say I actually feel like a new year has started on 1 February.