It’s a little beauty I discovered years ago when I used to go to Hong Kong on a regular basis for business. Since then I’ve introduced my family and other Hong Kong visitors to the journey, and everyone has been blown away by it.
The Number 6 bus from Central to Stanley is one of the best experiences that you can have in Hong Kong, and it’s certainly one of the cheapest, costing just HKD7.90, or about one US dollar.
The bus leaves on a regular timetable, every 8 to 20 minutes, depending on the time of day, from underneath Exchange Square at Central, which is close to where you alight from the Star Ferry, and close to the MTR (Hong Kong subway) station. It is important to board the bus here, because you want the best seats. Hong Kong buses are double deckers, and for this trip you want to get the front seat upstairs for the best views. You can board the bus from outside the Star Ferry Terminal, but chances are another savvy traveller will have got to the front seat before you.
What is so special about the No. 6? Simply because of the route that it takes, and the fact that it traverses the spine of Hong Kong Island to take you along the winding coast road past Repulse Bay to Stanley.
The journey begins along Connaught Road on Hong Kong Island, through a valley of bustling thoroughfares that are wedged between skyscrapers. You pass several historic buildings, including Admiralty and City Hall, before entering the Wan Chai shopping and entertainment district. After a while you begin to climb towards the Wong Nai Chung Gap, and as you do so, you get some fabulous views of the Happy Valley horse racing track, and pass a very interesting Chinese cemetery that has been carved out of a hill.
The top of the Wong Nai Chung Gap is the highest point on the route, where you overlook the fantastic panorama of Deepwater Bay and Repulse Bay. You then begin to wind down narrow roads, with the bus seeming to lean at alarming angles, until you reach the relative flat of Repulse Bay, one of Hong Kong’s most popular swimming beaches.
From here the bus climbs again, as it sticks to the cliffs, giving you great views of the South China Sea. Finally, the bus descends again before reaching its terminus at the village of Stanley.
Stanley is best known for its Market, where you’ll find many shops selling shoes, clothes, antiques and souvenirs. It’s worthwhile walking around the markets, but, in my opinion, its popularity has meant that shop rentals have risen, as have their prices, and I don’t believe that you get the best value here. Certainly, bargaining seems to be better at the Temple Street Markets, and also at the Ladies Market in Mong Kok, but it may be that the good for sale at Stanley are better quality than found at those other two markets.
There are plenty of places to eat in Stanley, and, if the weather is good, try to get a table outside so that you can enjoy the view.
If you don’t wish to repeat the trip on the No. 6 back to Hong Kong, there will be plenty of taxis available. There is also an alternate way by public transport, which is to catch a number 16M green minibus (these are really local buses and you may have difficulty with the language), which terminate at Chai Wan MTR station.
The reason why I like the trip on the No. 6 is because it introduces you to the true Hong Kong. It’s a local bus, so it doesn’t deliberately take you on a sanitised scenic route, it’s just a great way to get to know Hong Kong as the locals know it, and you can enjoy eye-popping scenery at the same time – plus, it will cost you practically nothing.
A one way trip takes about one hour, depending on traffic, and I guarantee that the memory of that hour will last a lifetime.