2013: Hong Kong

29 May to 2 June 2013

Day 00

A place we’d wanted to visit in a while was Hong Kong. The blend of cultures, the old and the new. So in the middle of 2013 we popped over for a quick visit.

The journey was smooth, through Sydney, boarding a Qantas 747. We spent some time in the first lounge before heading off on the seven hour flight.

Flying into Hong Kong was amazing, the tall buildings lining the hilly countryside was a sight to see. We landed at the new airport, basically a manufactured island off the cost of Hong King island. Moving through the airport was a breeze, new airports built in one go are much more efficient than those airports that have evolved over decades. The train trip and busy trip to our hotel was well organised and smooth.

We arrived at our hotel, the Icon, mid-afternoon and unpacked and got settled in. The weather was hot and steamy. We were staying in Tsim Sha Tsui on Kowloon, with a view of Victoria Harbour across to the Hong Kong Island. The hotel was attached to the school of hospitality at the nearby university and was a learning hotel for students wishing to enter the industry. Not that you’d notice. Everyone was skilled and professional. That first night we spent some time in the executive lounge overlooking the harbour. The hotel offered sweeping views of Kowloon and the island. The nighttime light display was in full swing every night.

Day 01

After a lazy breakfast in the hotel we headed out. But first breakfast. The Icon has one of those dining rooms that offers just about anything and everything. Breakfast was a lavish and expansive experience. Traditional Asian cuisine, western delights, and everything in between. We sampled dumplings, donuts, cereals, eggs (every way), meats, noodles, croissants, yogurts, freshly squeezed juices and some delicious muffins.

When we headed out we walked the local area and looked around the shops and markets nearby. We then caught the ferry across to the island and looked around Central, the main centre of town. We visited an Apple store, mainly to use the WiFi, so we could work out where to go and what to do next. We were looking for the Peak – a tram ride would take you to the top for a great view.

We locate the tram ride after walking around for a while. It’s hot and steamy again. The tram, a funicular type of tram, hauls us to the top in a slow and steady manner. Although you are standing level, you are inclining at a descent rate.

We reach the top and wander around the shops and explore the view from all angles. Its impressive to see the number of buildings, mostly high rise, built against and into the mountainous terrain. We locate our hotel back on the other side of the harbor and take some photos.

After our visit, we make our way back to our hotel and enjoy dinner at the restaurant.

Day 02

we’ve stayed in touch with. He’s a vet and later today he has arranged for us to meet the SPCA.

But first, breakfast, another marathon and we fuel ourselves for a big day. Stephen has planned a visit to the Giant Buddha. We meet Stephen at our hotel and start the journey, trek, to the giant Buddha.

We ride in his car to the start of the trip, a very long cable car ride. We start at Tung Chung cable car station. The cable car takes us across a Tan Chung Bay in the new territories to the Tian Tan Buddha on Lantau Island. Its quite a long journey on the cable car, but worth it when we get there. We look around the village and then walk the hundreds of steps up to the Buddha. At the top we can certainly feel the heat, humidity and it is taking its toll on us. We rest for a while, Stephen introduces us to a delicious fruit drink, which cools us.

We make the return journey, which takes in a wonderful view of the new airport.

We then visit the SPCA. Stephen arranges introductions as we tour the facility. We discuss cat and dog welfare and the different social conventions and attitudes towards cats and dog here and in Australia. They certainly have a complex role to play.

We spend the evening with Stephen as he shows us around and we enjoy dinner in a traditional Chinese restaurant. Stephen does all of the ordering.

Day 03

We spend a bit of time in the hotel pool, relaxing. Me swimming and mucking about, Mardi reads and relaxes. It a nice lazy morning after another wonderful breakfast.

We then walk the promenade along Vitoria Harbour. It runs for round six kilometres from our hotel all the way west to the heart of Kowloon. It’s a wonderful walk as we explore sculptures, sights and the activity in the harbor. We pass the Avenue of the Stars, a tribute to China’s film industry, an old English clock tower and several restaurants.

We turn around and make the return journey, but head into some shops on the way back to cool off. The fresh cool air of the inside give us goosepimple as we move from the heat to the cool.

We wander through the grounds of the Hong Kong Museum and Science Museum, they’re both closed today. But we explore the gardens and grounds around the buildings.

We enjoy dinner in, enjoying the view from the Executive Lounge of the hotel.

Day 04

We have a lazy morning, packing and enjoying our last breakfast before heading out to the Airport. The return journey is as easy as getting here, with our bags being dropped off well before we get to the airport proper. er enjoy some time in the lounge before heading home.

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