We will arrive to Hong Kong around 7:30
AM, so we have the whole day for exploring this fascinating city.
We will use basically their underground for that, which reaches the
airport too, so we can use it to go to our hotel, in a tall skyscraper
of Kowloon West, where keeping our baggage at least, considering it’s
going to be so soon for getting the room.
there, we will move around for visiting the highlights, but we probably
will want some time too to enjoy hotel facilities.
Spots to be visited, marked at map, are:
0- Hotel Nina et Convention
1- Hong Kong Park: a sort of Central Park, in the way it is a
nature oasis surrounded by skyscrapers.
Victoria Peak: A steeper funicular railway can take us to the top of
this mountain, where the views of the city are magnificent.
3- Wong Tai Sin Temple: A bit of the classic China in the
middle of modern buildings in city center.
Mong Kok: Market neighborhood and the most populated in the world.
Fish, flower and ladies markets are here, among others.
Tsim Sha Tsui: The harbor, where leaves and arrives the ferry to Hong
Kong island, which we want to take. It is here too the Avenue of stars,
where the Asian movie stars are honored. We must be here around 8 PM,
where we will be able to enjoy the skyline and the Symphony of Lights,
a show unique in the world.
flight lands in Hong Kong just when the night, which has been with us
the whole 10 hours trip, has finally gone. It’s been quick this time
for us as there was empty rows in the plane, allowing us to laying for
After immigration control we take our baggage and
exchange some money: I get 300 HKD by my 50 NZD bill, which is around
30€. The currency calculation is very easy this time as, being the Hong
Kong dollar at 10 per euro approximately, we just have to remove the
final zero from the prices.
Then I ask in an Information desk for the best way
of getting to our hotel, which I thought it was by train but they tell
me that, being 8, the best is taking a couple of taxis as the ride is
going to be 200$ each. We’re explained too, we must go for the red
taxis and that’s what we do. All of them are the same car model, which
I don’t identify, but is looking quite old. We can see too their trunks
are so small for four big bags and four small ones, but they’re used to
that and everything is located without thinking about closing the door,
as the usual is the use of ropes to secure the baggage part. Before
taking them, I’ve been delivered in a desk just here a note with my
destination written in Chinese and a card with advices about how to
deal with taxi drivers.
We seat as we can in two red taxis split in two
groups of four persons and go along the highway with a long bridge over
the sea, looking the incredibly tall buildings at our left, as cement
beehives, looking as having hundreds of cheap flats on them, and the
fancy glass sky scrapers in front, drawing the skyline of the part of
the coast we’re going to. I identify the shape of the tallest one as
our destination and the driver just confirms: “the tallest is your
When we arrive we check in despite of the early
time it is now, 9 AM, but our rooms will be delivered later, since 11
AM on. If all inside this incredibly tall sky scraper are rooms, is not
strange the hall is this full of people and movement as a lot of people
must be allocated here. The thing is we must leave our baggage to the
concierge as we go outside for a first exploration of this city.
We cannot find easily the MT station although the
map we’ve been given is marking it is just here and we need some
indications to get into it. This is Tsuen Wan West station belonging to
West (purple) line. Downstairs we find a huge and clean hall with an
endless transit of people. We cannot see ticket boxes, but machines in
the wall. They’re very easy to use if you want a single ticket to
somewhere: you only have to touch your destination station in the map
at the screen, but I cannot work out how to use it for a multipass
ticket. Then we find out first problem: we need to talk with a human
been, but there is no staff around. We can see a couple of bank
offices, but they are compounded by machines, no humans here either. We
end asking to someone who addresses us to customer service, on the
other side of this hall: after a 300 meters long pass way. How easy are
things when you can interact with humans!
We can purchase our 24 hours “Tourist Day Pass” by
55HK$ each and go in. With the map at hand and because all the signs
are in “our” characters too, we can change lines twice with no problem
to reach our target station, “Causeway Bay”, in Hong Kong island.
When we came out to the street we’re stunned for a
while, looked around and, overall, up. We’re in a cross of streets with
a lot of people and cars passing through the sky scrapers. It is not
like in New York for me as the feeling of being insignificant is
We walk with no orientation as it is not easy
locate our position in the map. We’re here for going to our first spot
to visit: Victoria Peak, but we reach Victoria Park, which is flat and
no hints of a peak around here. So I ask to the doorman of a hotel
nearby and he explains that, obviously, peak and park are different
things, so we should go to Central station instead. Victoria Peak is
not in my map, but he has pointed to me the cable car station.
Now, knowing the way, we come back to the MTR just
for three stops and we go out on an area even more impressive than the
one we’re coming from, with taller and more concentrated sky scrapers.
We can see double decked buses and, as I never saw before, double
decked trams too We can see the notice of an Ikea store but, as here
these stores takes a big flat building as warehouse, here it is taking
a few floors of a sky scrapper. It’s like switching our horizontal
concept by a vertical one.
Being a pedestrian seems complicated on these
streets as they cannot be crossed easily. They have a platform system
over the roads as pedestrian ways and we must realize how it works.
Peak Tram is close to where we are, but reaching it is another story
and takes us a while.
When we’re finally at the station, we join the
tourists row for purchasing the 65$HK ticket for return tram trip and
admission to the peak. Then we can see how the next tram gets full, but
we get a position to be in the next one. When it arrives, people leave
by the left side and, once it is empty, right doors open for us to come
Reaching the top is a short tram ride; it is
becoming steeper and nicer as we’re going up. The verticality is kind
of mitigated by the tram design, which makes us see the buildings
outside crooked. This ride is entirely recorded in this video:
At the top of the mountain there is… a shopping mall! To
reach the lookout terrace you must pass by several floors full of
stores up. Then, at the top of the building, we can finally enjoy the
views for which we’ve came here: Hong Kong buildings from the hill they
have behind. At the bottom, if your eyes manage to go through the mist
which some of us are betting it is pollution, the continent can be
seen, with Kowloon area, where the most of the city are, including our
This is a 365º view point but, actually, only one
of the four sides of this rectangular terrace is interesting.
When we’re done of being amazed by the city views
and tired of the wind, although it was still hot, we go inside to go
down all the floors back to the tram.
Our plan is going to ferries terminal with an eye
on the chance of visiting Wong Tai Sin temple and I’ve chosen a ride on
one of those double decked trams for doing that, but when leaving the
Peak Tram station, just at the door, is parked a bus marking ferry
terminal as end of route, so we get into it to makes thing easier. It’s
route 15C and there is a box to put the 4.20 HK$ per person as trip
rate. Driver is looking after everybody pays, but he don’t give any
change, which is clear after I put a 5$ bill in it. This bus has a
really short route as we’ve started at the beginning and leaving at the
end of it in no more than 10 minutes.
In ferry terminal we’re following the signs
pointing to “Tsim Sha Tsui”, which is our destination, until reaching a
machine which delivers a sort of metal chips called “token” by 2 HK$.
It must be used immediately by inserting it in the slot in the
turnstile and we’re ready for boarding. This way, the “cruise” from
Hong Kong island to the continent is 0.20€ per person!.
The trip is quick, though, but is time enough as
per enjoying views from both shores and their skylines.
We don’t want to spend too much time in Tsim Sha
Tsui because we’re coming back this evening and we’re crazy about
getting our rooms, but it’s lunch time and we do a short stop in
McDonald’s in order of the part of the group don’t liking Chinese food
can eat. The rest of us, wanting to taste local food, wait for end of
the Mcmenus – which price is less than 3€, by the way – before taking
the MTR in “Tsim Sha Tsui” station and changing line in “Mei Foo”.
In the hotel is not everything ready as they can
us one room now and the rest in 10 minutes. Fortunately there are four
free internet computers in the lobby to use while waiting.
Our four rooms are in 68th floor!. Reaching it requires an elevator
change: there are some quick ones until floor 40th, where we can change
to the ones reaching the highest floors.
comes when checking the rooms: they’re splendid. A glass wall is the
only between us and the views of the sky scrapers which are lower than
us. Some rooms have views to the harbor. Apart from the views room is
big and nice with a big shower and bathtub. They must like coupes as
the rooms with one king bed are even better, taking a corner of the
tower, than the ones with twin beds. We’re so amazed – and tired – that
we decide to spend some hours in the hotel.
are still some of us for lunching and we go to the connected shopping
mall in the building besides the hotel one, taking advantage we’ve
found a brochure with coupons for the places there in our rooms. The
first restaurant we find is in the coupon list and meet our
We lunch at Dimsum bar and eat by less than 8€
each, including beers – which is the most expensive by far –and
At last I can finally rest a little bit. I go down
to floor 9 where the swimming pool is and enjoy it with great views of
the city, then I go to the indoor pool as I want to try everything.
After that I still can lay at bed until the time to leave. The
accumulated tiredness makes the bed tempting against the Hong Kong
Anyway, we’re back in the MTR after 6 PM and it’s
close to be dark. We go out for a while from Mong Kok station. The city
by night is even more spectacular with all its lights. This is a
neighborhood with a lot of live and we’re here to take a look at the
famous markets and passing by a temple I’ve chosen at map as
substitution of the one we’ve missed this morning. When we arrive it is
not what we expected: it is closed and an entrance between large
buildings instead of a building by itself. So we walk looking shops by
the area marked at map as “Sports market”. Next street is marked as
“Tech market”, where we can check prices are cheaper than ours, but not
that much as per compensating having no warranty. Finally, we take a
look at Lady’s market and take the way back to the MTR station. We
don’t want to be late to where we want to be at 8 PM.
It’s just three stations until being in Tsim Sha
Tsui again. We’re following the signs – and the people - pointing to
“Avenue of stars” and when we reach it we find a sort of traditional
Chinese music being song in a stage and the most wonderful views of a
skyline in lights from Hong Kong Island.
We still must wait 15 minutes for Symphony of
Lights to start, but we can spend that time just by looking what we
have in front of us. I just cannot explain it by words, just hoping
photos and video can make any justice to such amazing panorama.
And, as can be seen in the video, Symphony of
Lights starts. I’m a little disappointed because it feels “small”
between so much sky scrapers not taking part of it, but this is unique
in the world: a perfect end for this amazing travel.
And this is how it is: this is ending and we’re
realizing that, and our legs too, which don’t want to be abused more.
This is the reason we just take a walk along the Avenue of stars, where
I can only reckon the names of Jackie Chan and Jet Li, and end in front
of the Bruce Lee statue, where we decide not going to Night market or
any other place but bed.
The return MTR trip is the most tedious moment in
two weeks but has the reward of a wonderful rooms and even more
wonderful views for tonight.