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mistybleu Hong Kong - A travel report by Amanda
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Hong Kong,  Hong Kong - flag Hong Kong
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mistybleu's travel reports

Hong Kong: The Gateway to China

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Used as a stopping off point en route to or from Australia, Hong Kong can offer as little or as much that you want to experience; it is the perfect blend of East and West. Whether it’s one day or many HK can heighten your senses. report of the month contest
May 2005


Kowloon Public Pier
Kowloon Public Pier
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HK) is the official name after being returned to China in 1997. It is made up of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories, and has a population of over 6 million.

Famed for having the most difficult landing strip in the world, HK has stepped into the future with the opening of the new international airport located on Lantau Island; and there is a spectacular road-rail suspension bridge (Tsing Ma Bridge) which links it to the city. A lot of hotels offer a bus services, but the quickest way to get to the city is to take the train, which runs very frequently. [The old Kai Tak International Airport located in Kowloon now mainly serves domestic flights.]

Annually HK sees over 15½ million visitors; the majority coming from mainland China and Taiwan. For Australian, Canadian, New Zealand and U.S. citizens, they do not require a visa and can stay for 3 months; while UK citizens, they can stay up to 6 months.

Initailly I was dissuaded from visiting China - what with the language barrier and it being off the beaten track, 'making it far too unsafe for solo travel'. But I can confirm that with not too much planning it can be quite a rewarding experience.

General information: the Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the US dollar at about US$1 = HK$7.8.

Also couple of helpful websites include: www.HKTA.org and www.discoverhongkong.com.

Favourite spots:
Victoria Harbour
Victoria Harbour
Being in Victoria Habour was exhilarating, day or night. For me, it was a feeling of disbelief; the kind of feeling that makes you want to pinch yourself. The harbour just draws you to its banks, whether on the Island or in Kowloon the experience and views are special.

In the mornings on Kowloon Public Pier, (or Victoria Park or any open green space) you can see many people engaging in Tai Chi. It’s an amazing sight to see them in unison completing their exercises.

During the day it’s nice to cross the harbour in one of the many Star Ferries and if lucky, you will see one of the most famous icons of HK the traditional Chinese Junk sailing. However I’m told these are rare now.

Then in the evening there is the Symphony of Lights. Since 2004 every night at 8pm the famous HK skyline comes alive with a wonderful display of sound and lights. The best views are had from the Avenue of the Stars, Hk's answer to Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

What's really great:
Nathan Road
Nathan Road
Shopping was the name of the game in HK, from designer to markets.

On the Island Stanley Market is opened 7 days a week; there are many shops to go bargain-hunting and it was fun haggling; however I found Kowloon much cheaper. But there were also places of interest mixed in like Stanley Plaza, an elegant European-style house and the village square adjoining the seafront promenade.

Then in Kowloon Nathan Road; where everything can be found, they also have roads dedicated to ladies’ fashion, electronics and sneakers etc.

Finally Temple Road Night Market; having never been to a night market, this was fun and the energy electric. It was the perfect place to find electronics as well as fake designer clothes and accessories; this was my personal favourite.

However, when I landed into HK, the airline warned me of being overloaded when departing, and they weren’t wrong; I was lucky the airlines were flying empty because of Sars or I would have had to pay excess baggage.

Sights:
Tsum Sha Tsui
Tsum Sha Tsui
The most recognisable views of HK are from VICTORIA PEAK. It is described as being on the 'back of the Dragon', high on top of the hills. It has spectacular view of Victoria harbour, Kowloon and the city in general.

The best way to get to Victoria Peak is to take the funicular Peak Tram which has been in operation since 1888. One of the tips I was given was to sit on the right-hand side towards the front of the tram for very special views.

REPULSE BAY is HK most popular beach and is always busy. The Life Guard Club's terraces has a pair of statues of goddesses, Kwun Yum and Tin Hau, which is very interesting.

Tsum Sha Tsui and the Clock Tower are places you enevitable get to, but located nearby is the space museum.

The longest network of escalators in the world is on HK Island and they lead to some great shops and restaurants.

Accommodations:
Nathan Road
Nathan Road
Probably the best place to stay is on Hong Kong Island; however Kowloon offers a cheaper alternative; because the old international airport is located here, the buildings are supposedly much shorter than on the island, although I couldn’t quite see it.

The Metropole Hotel, located in Kowloon, was a nice hotel, but seemed more like a businessman’s hotel. The communal areas were great, I remember entering the lifts and thinking ‘this is really nice’; they have a lovely restaurant with a patisserie next door. They also offer a complementary bus service to Nathan Road and down to Tsum Sha Tsui, which can be very helpful.

I'm not sure whether I should be recommending this hotel, as it was the location where the Sars epidemic broke out, (on the 9th floor); and this happened just two days before I arrived.

Nightlife:
Locals playing chess
Locals playing chess
HK has a sizzling nightlife, with many great clubs, here's just a few I heard of:

Club Nu – Ground Floor, Winly Building, 1-5 Elgin Street, Central
Elements Lounge Bar - 55 Elgin Street. Check out www.elements55.com for more information, and
C Club – California Tower, Basement, 30-32 D’angular Street, Central.

Restaurants:
The longest escalator in the world
The longest escalator in the world
The Jumbo floating restaurant is the largest Chinese restaurant I had seen. When you go to Aberdeen this is a must. It was opened in 1976 and has become an icon to tourist for seafood. It is designed like a classic Chinese palace, and can seats over 2,000 people. It was renovated in 2003 and is now a modern complex of fine dining, shopping, sightseeing and cultural attractions. The food is really great and whilst you can get traditional Chinese food they also provide modern fusion dishes.

But to be sure, being in HK one must try dim sum and having it from one of the street vendors makes it that more authentic.

Other recommendations:
Tsim Sha Su
Tsim Sha Su
Horseracing is a very popular activity and Happy Valley is the main racecourse. It is centrally located and was built on reclaimed marshland.

Ocean Park is located on the southern side of the island. It is a traditional entertainment park with rides, exhibits and facilities on both sides of a mountain. Getting there can be just as much fun as being there, as a network of cable cars links the lowland to the headland, and offers spectacular views en route. Tickets can be purchased from any 7-Eleven stores.

Lantau Island is nearly two times the size of HK, on one side is the airport and buildings, and the other has been designated as country park. It is a great place for hiking and just being at one with nature. After the overcrowded city, this is a welcome break.

Published on Friday May 6th, 2005


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Sun, Apr 23 2006 - 11:55 PM rating by sajjanka

nice

Thu, Jan 19 2006 - 02:45 PM rating by frenchfrog

I love your report about Honk kong, it was very informative.

Sat, Jan 14 2006 - 08:36 AM rating by mj2004

I so want to go to The Jumbo Flying restaraunt!

Sat, Nov 05 2005 - 01:46 PM rating by vbx000

Great report on Hong Kong. This is really nearly all a travler needs if they want to visit the city. You've captured all the important points. I really enjoyed it, and I absolutely loved Hong Kong.

Sat, Nov 05 2005 - 08:13 AM rating by toribio

I ILE A LOT VERY MUCH

Thu, Jun 16 2005 - 03:41 PM rating by spaceout

Wow.. this is an amazing report. It is no wonder you received the report of the month of June award. Keep up the awesome work. Talk to you soon. VK

Wed, Jun 08 2005 - 05:50 AM rating by lukasdj

Very detailed report!
You have aroused my curiosity: are local people likeable and kind with tourist or are they bored by the tourist invasion (15 million visitors against a population of only 6 million)?

Luca :)

Wed, Jun 01 2005 - 02:09 PM rating by picasso

Very entising report with a lot of information and great images as well.
Well done Amanda.We need more reports as this one.For me it was a great read.I would use it for my future travel reference to H.K.*****+

Boris

Mon, May 23 2005 - 06:50 PM rating by sunkist

Nice report about hong kong, maybe I will have the chance to visit one day!

Fri, May 20 2005 - 07:35 PM rating by kcheepv

Great Report!

Thu, May 12 2005 - 04:54 AM rating by magsalex

Great stuff - very informative.

Mon, May 09 2005 - 08:45 AM rating by janeyee

Hey Amanda! I'm planning to visit Hong Kong and your report certainly helped! Thanks!!

Mon, May 09 2005 - 08:44 AM rating by bear495

Another wonderful travel report. Thanks for all that you do.

Russ

Mon, May 09 2005 - 07:37 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

wonderful report

Sat, May 07 2005 - 11:36 PM rating by gloriajames

loved it! thanks for the report, now it would help me prepare my HK trip this end may! 5*

Sat, May 07 2005 - 01:22 PM rating by britman

Misty - you have done it again! A super report that transports you to the place as you read it. I have fond memories of Tsimshatsui and Lan Kwai Fong and you brought them all flooding back. Thanks for a great report!

Cheers, Brit

Sat, May 07 2005 - 05:10 AM rating by davidx

You do get around! Another fine and informative report.

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