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HongKong 14 May to 21 May 2005

hongkong

Introduction
It’s people, people and more people.  I know it is going to be crowded.  However, I did not realise it was so crowded until I was there.
We were in HongKong for about 8 days.  This is the dream comes true for my wife who has always wanted to visit HK since the last ten years.

We booked through Valuair for our trip to HK.  I must say we were very satisfied with the service of Valuair on the whole.  It took about three and half hours to reach our destination.  With the advent of the low-cost airlines, it has made travelling affordable and easy.

HongKong has a very impressive airport and I know this is not going to be cheap holidays.
We bought the Octopus travel card which can used on train, bus and ferry.  Very useful especially it is not every time you have the exact amount for your transport trip.  I paid HK$300 for each card that enabled me to have 2 trips on the airport express train and unlimited 3 days travel on MTR.

 Transport
I am most impressed by the transport system in HK.  There are multiple lines running the MTR.  In addition to the massive MTR, there are trains that go all the way to Shenzhen and Guangzhou.  All within the MTR system – convenient and comfortable.
Though we did not take bus very much in HK, I can see the bus system is also very efficient.  Believe me, there are tram buses running too.
Ferry to nearby islands are running throughout day and night.  If you are thinking of taking ferry to Shenzheng or Macau, by all means.  We had a comfortable one hour ride from HK island to Macau and vice versa.  It was about S$60 for the return trip.

 Day-trips
Knowing that one just cannot walk the shopping centres all the times, I have plans to visit some of the nearby islands.  Lantau Island was a mere 30 minutes ferry ride from HK island.  This is where most visitors go to the Po Lin monastery to visit the Big Buddha.  I read that HK Disneyland is also located here and opening in Sept 2005.  I also did not realise that you can visit Lantau Island by taking the MTR.

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A small island with its natural environment and many dogs is the Lamma Island.  To my surprise, I found there was a large community of Westerners living here.  No wonder, you see so many dogs around.  Tame and friendly.  I could sense this island is becoming commercialised with many holiday chalets and restaurants.

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Avenue of Stars – an attraction that every tourist will visit when in HongKong.  Modelled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, this 440 metre promenade is located along the Victoria Harbour waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui.  It honours celebrities of the Hong Kong film industry.  At night it is a popular viewing place for the Symphony of Lights display.

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The Peak – Victoria Peak or locally known as The Peak is a major tourist attraction that offers views over the Victoria Harbour and surrounding islands.  Riding the Peak Tram to the Peak is an experience.  Due to its exclusive area, The Peak remains an upmarket residential area only for the very rich.

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Macau – mention it and immediately casinos came to mind.  Yes, this is country where you can gamble day and night.  Provisions are made to enable visitors a very hassle-free trip to this country.  We did not visit any casino but instead visited the famous St Paul’s church.

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Shenzhen – we made a daytrip to Shenzhen main attraction – Window of the World.  It is the 48 hectares of world famous tourist attraction replicas.  We took the MTR to the Chinese border at LoWu.  From here, transferred to Shenzhen Metro Line 1 all the way to Shijiezhichuang (Window of the World) station.  Very easy to travel.

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Shopping
I am not sure why people like to do shopping in HK.  On the contrary, I found it was quite expensive to shop here.  However, I must say there are plenty of shopping areas to choose from.  From the flea market kind (Ladies Market) to the upper end (Pacific Place).  You name it, you have it here.  
People, people and more people – this was where I found at Ladies Market.  Fantastic.  The mass of humanity was just indescribable.  That also happened at Causeway Bay shopping arena.  Most of the MTR stations were jam-packed.
Do not miss the Mid-Level escalator shopping.  This is supposed to be the world’s longest covered linkway.  It is found in HongKong island.  We found to be a unique experience going all the way up on the escalator.

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Food
Before the trip, we were told that food in HK will be nice.  We were not disappointed.  Throughout our entire trip, we had food at the many cafes we found along the streets.  Need not worry about where to get your food when you are in HK.  It is the food paradise.  Every corner of the street, you can find small cafes.  We were very satisfied with the dim sum and porridge.  Superb.  Many occasions, we would just enter one of the street cafes and ordered what we wanted.  We particularly liked one at Mongkok area where the porridge was very good.  We liked it so much that we patronized it again the second night.  As a matter of fact, most of the times we had our food at the street cafe.  Only on two occasions we visited the restaurant.  One of them was the “Very Good Dim Sum Restaurant” along Nathan road.  The name says it well.  It is indeed very good.  The dumplings were fresh and delicious.

Conclusion
I have pre-conceived notion that HongKongers are unhelpful and fierce.  I do not find them very user-friendly as the Thais.  On few occasions, I did not dare to ask for direction for fear of being rejected rudely.  However, it was not so.  You need to open the golden mouth to ask for help.  Help I did get when I asked.  I suppose if you are polite when asking, most people will generally respond.
I noticed the people of HK are very hardworking.  At about 9.30pm to 10pm, most shops were still open and that included the cafes and restaurants.  HK never sleeps, that is what they say.  I must agree.
Travelling in HK independently is not much a problem, I must say.  There are various road-direction signs in English and Chinese.  We had no problem at all using the MTR.  In fact, our main mode of transport was the MTR.
My wife told me she had enjoyed the trip very much.  When I asked her why – her answer was shopping[]

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This entry was posted on May 1, 2013 by in travel.
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