A big hi to all IMBB bloggers and readers. This is my first post here and it’s not related to beauty or make-up by the way, but an awesome holiday trip which can tempt you to book your next trip soon. 🙂 My husband and I had been planning so long for an abroad trip. I suggested Singapore, but my hubby insisted on going to Hong Kong. [P.S: I had once told him that my dream is to see Disneyland and so he might have planned HK for my dream to come true. ;)]
So cutting short my stories, let’s move on to my trip. I may not be able to tell you everything I saw in detail in a single blog, but I’ll do my best to give you an outline picture of it. It was a planned 5 Day/4 Nights trip booked through Cox and Kings for 22-26th Jan, as it was the perfect climate in HK. Neither rain nor snow, bearable cold temperature. For more details on different seasons and attractions of HK, log on to http://www.travelchinaguide.com/climate/hongkong.html. Before leaving to HK, I did a lot of research and reading on HK for a week, which was quite helpful in many ways. 🙂
We boarded the Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong at 0300 in the early morning on 22 Jan, reached HK airport by 1130 (Travel time: 6 hours). After clearing the customs and immigrations, we waited for our hotel shuttle. We had booked a standard room in “Hotel Harbour Plaza 8 degree” in Kowloon area. The drive from the airport to hotel was a bit long, and it was good that we could have a look around the city.
Hong Kong is an SAR (Special Administrative Region) of China, it consists of 260+ islands. You can divide HK into 3 major islands – Lantau island, Hongkong island and Kowloon. Airport is in the Lantau island. You can have a look at the city maps for road and rail routes. Don’t forget to pick them up at the airport.
The first day was at leisure, nothing planned considering our midnight travel. The hotel was too good and the room was pretty comfortable. It was on the 20th floor and the room had a big window with a beautiful view of the city. We were very tired after the flight travel. After a small nap in the noon, we didn’t want to waste our day in the room. So we decided to go for shopping and have a look at the city in the nights by ourselves. The Hotel had shuttles to airport, MRT station (Metro train) and the shopping area for every 15 mins. (which most of the hotels offer) so we had no problem in transportation or routes, though we carried maps with us all the time for safety ;).
We got down in Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) which is a very popular shopping hub in HK. You can have the true essence of HK in these streets at nights, branded shops, malls, hotels, restaurants, illuminated like heaven (Nathan road). Our Brigade and MG roads in Bangalore are somewhat similar to this one. The whole city is full of lights and laser shows. Most of the buildings are skyscrapers, with many of the world’s tallest buildings in HK.
This might give you a true feel of the city – Name any brand and you will find its showroom. Be it apparels, cosmetics, shoes, gadgets, mobiles & cameras, chocolates, café, spa & salons, what not! The city is so clean and has a much disciplined traffic. People are very modern and fashionable. Climate was very cold, but bearable with appropriate winter outfits (8-16 deg C). You could see the girls wearing very cute dresses for this climate, their handbags, shoes, fashionable winter coats. Everyone who comes to HK, picks up these kind of shoes, jackets and handbags just for the craze, even though you know it doesn’t suit Indian climate.
Talking about the Chinese cuisine, you can find lots of Chinese hotels but not like the ones in India. You’ll not understand anything in their menu cards. Every item will have pork or beef in it. [I don’t eat pork or beef, so I was very specific in asking for dishes with only chicken.] I did not like the smell of the typical Chinese food, as they cook in pork oil. (Though my husband liked it 🙂 ). But I want to taste every part of the world’s cuisines atleast for once. You could also see noodle shops every two metres, where they customize the sausage as you want. [Couldn’t forget the Singapore Chicken fried noodles we had.] Veggies may find it a bit difficult for proper food, as you’ll not see any veg items in the menus. But don’t worry guys, we have our McDonalds, BurgerKing, KFC, StarBucks Coffee and other shops here and there to the rescue.
You need not keep all the money in HK Dollars to shop, better carry in USD too. You can exchange USD to HKD (1 USD = 7.79 HKD), or INR to HKD (1 HKD = 5.75 INR), whenever and wherever needed with money exchangers in every street. Compare the exchange rates of two or three money exchangers – you may get a better deal.
We then came back to the hotel in the same hotel shuttle. You can go in the double-decker city buses for 5 HKD (make sure you know the right bus no.) or just get into a taxi and tell the driver where you want to go. It might cost 40 to 100 HKD depending on the distance. [The charges are neatly put up inside every taxi for you.] You can also try commuting in the MRT (Metro Train) which would really be faster and will give you an amazing experience.
The whole day was planned in Ocean Park (Aberdeen) [www.oceanpark.com.hk]. It’s a complete nature’s park with memorable experiences waiting for you.
Mon to Fri – 10 a.m to 6 p.m
Sat – 10 a.m to 7 p.m
Sun – 9.30 a.m to 7 p.m
Admission fee: Adult – 250 HKD
(Age 3-11) Child – 125 HKD
Along with your entry tickets, you’ll be given maps of the entire park with various show timings. It’s a very huge park and you’ll surely not want to miss anything out. You will have to plan out well inorder to use the time efficiently, rather than wandering around. So, take the maps out and plan on the timings of the shows and keep track of the places visited on the map.
Colourful air balloons welcome you as you enter the park; you can go aboard on a Gondola (hot air balloon); Have a look at the panda habitat, goldfish treasures, sea jelly, whiskers harbour, bird theatre (bird shows), etc. and rides like the merry-go-rounds, motor racing, water rides, etc. All these are on the oneside of the hill. You can go to the other side of the hill either by the Cable car or the Ocean Express train. Try both – one while going and the other while returning. 🙂 There you have all the thriller rides, ocean park tower view of the city and the famous dolphin & zeal show. We, a newly married couple found the park very exciting and a memorable place for our lifetime. More than us, the kids would really love this colourful place, will enjoy watching the birds and animal shows, and trying out all the rides here.
Again one full day to spend in HK Disneyland… yipppeeeee. 🙂 We started very early, so that we could spend time as much as we can in Disney. Guys checkout the website for the timings and fares (park.hongkongdisneyland.com). The experience of Disney cannot be explained in words, it’s totally amazing. It is a completely different world for us and the kids, to admire and have fun, forgetting our mundane work life. As I said for the Ocean’s Park, the same plan applies here well. You’ll be given the map of the place with the show timings again. Don’t miss any of them. It was like a reality game for us to rush and see each & every part of Disney world within a day… mindblowing. There are four lands in Disney – Each land is designed and constructed based on its own theme.
Fantasyland– All rides and shows here depict fantasy stories and characters like Sleeping beauty, Mickey, Cinderella, Winnie the Pooh…. Though it may sound very kiddish, I’m sure you’ll love it. Mickey’s 3D show, actually 4D is one of a kind I’ve seen, with the smell of pizzas, raindrops falling on us, what not. Don’t miss the “Golden Mickeys” musical show of all Disney’s films. You’ll be enthralled by their performances.
Tomorrowland– Flying saucers, UFO, electric cars, astroblasters… Don’t miss the “Space Mountain” – An high speed indoor roll-a-coaster voyage into the dark space (very thrilling!!! 🙂 ).
Adventureland– Forests, tribals, lionking, Tarzan’s treehouse, jungle river cruise ride, rafting… Don’t miss the “Festival of Lion King” – a colourful pageant of music and dance show about Lion king. Its really awesome to watch such a perfect performance. Its notjust cartoon characters but professional performers giving you a visual treat.
Mainstreet USA– Shops, café, hotels, souvenirs, mainstreet vehicles… You can watch the fantasy parade here, meet and greet Disney characters, take a pic with them. You can also take a grand tour of the Disneyland on an excursion style train, which goes around the whole Disneyland. And most important, don’t miss the fireworks show at 8.00 p.m., which illuminates the whole Disney castle like heaven for about half an hour, with music adding to the glitz.
One really good thing I found in both Ocean’s park and Disney is that, for each and every ride, they’ve a board for us to know the waiting time for our turn to come (like 30 or 40 mins), depending on the queue before us. So we can plan for each ride, without wasting time in waiting unknowingly for hours together. And you can get a lot of cute souvenirs for your loved ones from both the places.
We had planned a day trip to Macau islands. It is not a part of Hongkong, so we need to check out HK, get passport stamped, clear customs & immigration after reaching Macau too. The journey to Macau is by a ferry for about an hour. The ferry terminal, the ferry interiors, port in Macau, everything was similar to that of an Airport.
Macau is also a Special Administrative Region like HK. It is a 29.5 sq.km island, which was a Portuguese colony until 1999. The houses and streets here are almost similar to that in Goa or Cochin. But now Macau is mainly known for Casinos…. The whole island is filled with money churning casino and hotels. Night life in Macau will be too good, but we did not have time to stay there. You can get into a Casino, have a look at the people gambling and even give it a try if u can. Macau tower view, Lotus square, St.Paul’s church ruins, Kuan Yam temple… are some of the places you can visit, but Macau is only known for the luxurious hotels and nightlife. It is a place to spend all your money in nothing. 🙂
Don’t miss to visit the Venetian hotel (an olden days palace indeed) and have a look at its architecture, paintings on the ceilings, ball room, casino, roof painted like skies, perfect imitation of the Venice city inside the hotel. If you can, stay in the Venetian hotel as you’ll take a day to have a look at the complete hotel.
We returned to HK in the evening, so we thought of doing some street shopping rather than in the branded ones. It’s called the “Temple Street” in the Kowloon area, where you have all the street shops for souvenirs, handbags, shawls, slippers, shoes, fancy items, electronic goods, etc. You can bargain and get them at a very good price.
On the last day, we went for the HK city tour. We visited JackieChan’s Jewellery Co. and had a look at all the collections. You can definitely pick some from there for their unique designs. We then went to the Repulse bay beach, which was too beautiful to play and watch, very clean. Then to the fisherman’s village for a boat ride; Victoria Peak for the bird’s view of the whole HK city, about 200 skyscrapers touching the skies; Madam Tussad’s Wax Museum to take pics with the celebrity wax statues. At last we had a look at the local fruits and vegetable market in the evening.
Five days had gone in no time for us, but we enjoyed our trip to the fullest and returned India with beautiful memories to be cherished forever. Hongkong is an apt place for a leisure holiday trip amidst your busy work life and girls for your shopping too. 🙂 I saw many Indian honeymoon couples and families with kids too for a holiday in HK. So girls, book your tickets well in advance to get good offers (Dragon Airlines) and save the money for shopping. 🙂
Feel free to comment on the article, and ask your queries in planning your trip and I would assist you in all possible ways I can. 🙂
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