Apr 14 2009
The family just got back from 8 days in Hong Kong for spring break. A terrific experience! Hong Kong is where Sally was born and where her parents grew up. With 7 million people in just over 400 square miles, it is a little hectic! But public transport here is incredible, and the city is amazingly clean.
Weather was a little damp the first day, but not bad. This is taken on the Kowloon side, facing the island.
While things in Hong Kong are mostly pricey, the trusty Star Ferry is the best deal around. Takes you across the harbor for about 30 US cents for adults, 15 US cents for kids! (that’s $2HK and $1HK).
The locals are all in great shape – and here is one reason why. Hong Kong is very hilly, involving a lot of vertical walking. This was a set of stairs up from the Catholic cathedral up to our hotel, the Bishop Lei. This is only a short bit of the overall climb, it was about 5 stories. The street level (Robinson Road) is at the top. I would mention the Bishop Lei was another great deal, we paid only $110 US per night, which included a great breakfast each morning. That was it for the great deals, everything else was major $$$.
Ancient temples are tucked in among the skyscrapers everywhere.
This is the view from the ‘peak’, which can be reached by a short tram ride. Known as the most scenic spot in Hong Kong. You are at the same elevation as the tallest building in the background. For a professional photo from the same spot, see here.
One of the amazing things is the use of bamboo in construction. Almost all the scaffolding you see is bamboo. It is everywhere.
They tend to wrap up the buildings while they are under construction. I guess since everything is so tightly packed, you can’t have construction debris falling out. Yes, that is bamboo on the outside all the way up.
A popular tourist site is the ‘Big Buddha’ which is on Lantau island. It is reached by a 20 minute cable car ride, one of the longest in the world. This is one of the small statues facing up towards the Buddha.
A 25 minute boat ride takes you from the main island to Lamma island – where they specialize in fresh seafood lunch. You browse the aquariums for something you like, the owner pulls it out and cooks it in a style you choose, and then brings it out to your table. Having steamed shrimp that minutes before was swimming is a real eye opener – never had it so tasty!
A novel approach to mass transit in Hong Kong is the Central-Mid-Levels Escalators, which will take you for a 20 minute ride if you go the whole length. They run downhill in the morning, and uphill at night. A large number of great bars and restaurants flank the escalators – so you’ll probably want to make some stops!
Speaking of cool places by the escalator – stop in for some sushi that comes by your table on a conveyor belt; the ultimate in fast food.
Here is that cable car ride, coming back from the Big Buddha. The high rises represent a little suburb near the airport and train station, this is far away from the center of Hong Kong itself. The new airport is built on land scooped off of the mountains and dropped into the sea.
I would close by saying the people of Hong Kong are extremely polite and friendly. Everyone seems to have great pride in whatever their occupation is. A great trip – wish it could have lasted longer!
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