Hong Kong
Kowloon City

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  • Day63

    Home Again

    May 17, 2019 in Hong Kong ⋅ 🌬 29 °C


    Home Again

    Here we are back to sunshine, initially ..and lovely to be here in Autumn, a little strange to come to the dry landscape, after the green of the UK, which is so brilliant, in a completely different time of year, travel is wonderful.. We zoomed across the world, Cathay first, all very comfortable ,new A150/900,Time passed quickly, and you think you don’t sleep but really you do, a little…
    Hong Kong is super efficient, as is most of Asia , we smile as they are quite strict with instructions, as we gathered for our Hotel transport, dressed in uniform, marshalling the troops, and leading us all a distance to the bus ,outside an immediate shock ,of high humidity. From last year, and this is amazing ,they have and are, building a new motorway and huge bridge system, to bypass some of the route from before, to the city from Lantau ,their building ability, especially bridges ,is unbelievable, these are huge constructions ,and of course in the near region, is the new Bridge all the way out to Macau…!
    Progress is swift, and lack of land is no issue, they simply fill and reclaim a new part, and off they go, the population density is mind boggling, and to supply electricity ,water and services must be immense. It is tidy and it all works, traffic is orderly, they have rules ,and adhere to them .
    Arrival to our familiar Hotel in a pleasant neighbourhood, was slightly chaotic ,many people ,security and congestion, it was the Shareholder’s meeting, so many gathered ,and we were shepherded in efficiently, and mentioned we had a bigger room, and it was available ,[it was just 9.30am ,] up.. feeling rather tired ,we had a suite, two large rooms, and powder room ,stunning view right on the harbour, bemused really, but ours not to reason why ,we gleefully settled. Ventured out trying to be awake as long as possible.!
    Much to see but extremely hot…!
    Nice Chinese dinner and rested well overnight, out again next morning, then later, just enjoyed our surroundings of this harbour ,unlike any other, so busy, and people swimming in it, humm, well it looks very clean.!!?? We love Hong Kong, so many visits ,and happily return for our stopovers…
    5pm departure ,on Air NZ , the Airport is simply HUGE, gets more so each time, another whole wing is being constructed, it’s a hike to the gate ,but all efficient and off very quickly, another new aircraft, a 77/200, gleamingly so…Very comfortable in Prem Economy, wonderful service, great food, heaps of leg room, and once again thinking no sleep, but the time vanished ..so there was some…
    Auckland airport overflowing so we had to Park on the tarmac, and be bussed into the terminal, 2 A380s in place, amongst many others, many indignant at this procedure and really one wonders how much our little Country should take… beware I say…too many people is not what we want.
    Cetrece waiting for us , on a sunny day, and home to our warm house, thank you Jo.!
    If we learnt anything from our wonderful journey, and it has been simply that, it is, we live in a very congested, troubled world ,with millions trying to re locate from damaged ,overcrowded countries , to others, now with facilities stretched to capacity, and crumbling economy’s, we seem to be almost the last bastion of normality, slightly removed from it all. I hope good sense prevails and some tough decision’s are made to keep us clean and green, it will be a fight I think…
    Thank you for coming along on this journey, your input is so appreciated and our link to home, we love to hear from each and everyone of you, and to have you all gathered, is my great pleasure, I write too much, I know, but when it’s my book I love to recall it all.
    Viking is a Cruise Line, over and above all others, and we hope to go again, at some time.
    Now I need to adjust to cooking, washing and making the bed…! Back to reality, and good to be here amongst our Family, Friends and Neighbours, who are the most important of all…!
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  • Day8

    Mac-wow

    October 4, 2019 in Hong Kong ⋅ 🌙 27 °C

    Today's plan was to visit the island of Macau, the biggest gambling centre by value in the world, so I shouldn't have been surprised when my gamble of leaving after 10am didn't fully pay off. First of all we had ridden two MTR lines and were heading for the ferry terminal when I remembered that because Macau is technically a different territory to Hong Kong, we would need our passports. Guess where those were. Yep, safely locked away in our hotel room. Good news is I got to enjoy another two Star ferry rides, two taxi rides and a run up to the hotel and back to fetch them.

    Secondly, I did know that this week is Golden Week, the Chinese national day celebration, and had planned accordingly for it in Shanghai. However, because of the ongoing protests in HK Chinese tourists have been avoiding here and going elsewhere. Guess where it seems they have all headed instead? Macau! I have never in my life seen such unrelenting swarms of tourists!

    We had ridden the Cotai Water Jet express ferry the hour to Macau then jumped on one of the free casino buses to get to the Cotai Strip, the local equivalent of the Vegas strip. So far so good, but the minute we stepped foot in the Venetian Hotel and Casino we knew we had entered another dimension. Chinese tourists by the thousand packed every inch of the facility. They were even sitting on the floors against the walls eating their lunches. It slightly detracted from the grandeur and opulence of these temples to extravagance. The Parisian and the Venetian, the two casinos we visited, were even bigger than their namesakes in Las Vegas, which was mind blowing, but even they weren't big enough to hold this human king tide. This amount of tourist overload slammed the brakes on my plans to tour the sights of Macau literally, as traffic was worse than I have seen anywhere. I decided to pull the pin on this ill-timed excursion and we caught the fast ferry back to Hong Kong island.

    Exiting the Macau ferry terminal we headed for the mall that would lead us to the Star Ferry only to find it blocked off. Heading back out onto the street it became obvious what was causing the closure. One side of the road was completely blocked by thousands of marching protesters. At this point they were all peaceful, so I hope it remained that way.

    Eventually we crossed the harbour and concluded a less than perfect day, with a near perfect feed at the Cheescake factory. Day over.
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  • Day35

    Harbour to Harbour

    November 15, 2019 in Hong Kong ⋅ 🌙 22 °C

    Following a brilliant five days in Sydney we were up at 5:30 to catch our 8:50 Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong. Generally checking in and going through customs is very slick these days but not with Cathay. There was a long queue in their area despite the fact we had checked in online. It took an hour from arriving at the airport to eventually getting through customs! The flight itself was fine nearly nine hours and we were met at the airport and driven to our hotel. The traffic in HK is quite unbelievable not a city I have any desire to drive in!
    We are staying on the Kowloon side within walking distance of the harbour and the hotel is very comfortable and very modern.
    Obviously we are a bit concerned about the recent troubles here but so far all we have seen is graffiti stating the desire for democracy.
    Once we were unpacked we took the hotel’s courtesy bus but fairly quickly realised it would be quicker to walk. We had booked cocktails and canapés at Aqua a restaurant and bar overlooking the harbour and at a time when we could watch the daily laser light show from the high rise buildings on the harbour side. It really is a great show coupled with the Christmas lights that are of course in place.
    Aqua is quite close to the Peninsula Hotel, the hotel in HK and adjacent to it are huge shops from the biggest up market names in retail, HK and its people and its Asian tourists clearly are not short of a bob or two!
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  • Day7

    I like big bus, and I cannot lie...

    October 3, 2019 in Hong Kong ⋅ 🌙 27 °C

    The circadian rhythm has a lot to answer for. No, not those insects that rub their legs together all night long in summer, your internal body clock. You know the one, it tells you when to go to sleep and when to wake, except when you mess with it, by doing something like flying five time zones East. Yep, I'm still waking up at 'Oh f*&k o'clock'. First world problem I know, but it may explain some of my more erratic behaviour.
    Anyway, where were we? Oh yeah, Hong Kong.
    This was our first full day in HK and I had scheduled to the minute what my campaign would include. First call was the inclusive hotel buffet breakfast. I often book hotels based on the quality and range of their breakfasts and the Intercontinental had rated highly on both scales with fellow travelers. After this morning's calorie frenzy I would give it two thumbs up, if I could raise my hands. I'm still Christmas day full from this morning's Buffet battle round 1. The day's most important, or free-est meal consumed I headed out on task one, redeeming two tickets on the Hop-on/Hop-off Big Bus Tour of Hong Kong. This meant a mere 1.5km stroll along Ocean Promenade. A doddle you say, so would I if it wasn't already 31 degrees by 9am and moister than Aunt Betty's chocolate cake. In less than an hour I was back with the tickets and a kg lighter from water loss. Fortunately the Kowloon bus route had a stop right outside our hotel. What a stroke of luck! What wasn't so lucky was deciding to sit on the open upper deck of the double decker tour bus. Soon feeling crispier than a piece of the Colonel's special chicken we scurried for the sanctuary of the covered area at the front of the bus. This provided minimal respite from the relentless heat and humidity, and this is Autumn! Enduring the elements we rode the tour round Kowloon enjoying the informative commentary on the local landmarks and history. We hopped off (see what I did there?) the bus by the Star Ferry terminal and caught the next ferry across to Central where we resumed our Big Bussing, this time on the Hong Kong Island route. This is a much older area than Kowloon and is rich in history. At the fourth stop we left the bus to ride the Peak Tram to the summit of Victoria Peak. The funicular hauled us to the crest of Hong Kong's highest hill where we oohed and aahed at the impressive 360 degree views, then took time out to process the majesty of the location by consuming Bubba Gump's finest shrimp. Shrimped to the gills (do they have gills?) we rode the tram down to the terminal and waited to catch the next Big Bus. You can track these buses using an app, so that you know when the next one will arrive and my app told me the next bus was 3 minutes away. Now brace yourself for a truth missile kids, apps sometime tell bloody porkies. The bus took more than 15 minutes to arrive. That's 900 seconds with no air-conditioning, the cruelty of it all! Eventually we were happily seated on our bus, downstairs in the AC, because we're not stupid, despite what Mr Gump says. And this time we got to enjoy aforementioned AC for much longer than anticipated as the traffic around 4pm HK time was glacial in speed. After several millenia we arrived back at the Star Ferry terminal, sailed back to the safety of Kowloon and then went and spent a silly amount of money on new smartphones. Guess what I'm setting up now while writing this? It's not flatpack furniture. Tomorrow we hit the seas bound for the gambling den of Macau.
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  • Day12

    Plans B through 27

    October 8, 2019 in Hong Kong ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Due to ongoing disruption of the MTR system and an inclement weather forecast, featuring thunder and monsoon rain, the planned Hong Kong Disneyland excursion was postponed until today. Instead of Disneyland we got all intellectual and hands on at the very impressive Hong Kong Science Museum. Time well spent.

    Luckily for us by this morning most of the MTR system was back in action, apart from a few stations which were too damaged to be safely opened. None of the closed stations were on the route I was taking from Tsim Sha Tsui to Lai King, then Tung Chung and finally onwards to the Disneyland Resort.. This meant I could use my Octopus card instead ponying up the $600HK taxis would have stung me. Score bonus points for the tightarse that I am.

    Arriving at the park in time for rope drop, which unlike the US Disney parks was at the leisurely hour of 10:30am it was already 32 degrees, so shade was highly sought after unless you fancy seeing photos of a shallow Celtic puddle on the ground. (that would have been me after more than ten minutes in this relentless tropical sun!)
    Although I was at the park for rope drop it was the least populated park opening I've ever seen, which was great news for wait times. Basically there were no wait times, you could just walk straight on to any ride. It was a dream run. There had to be an upside to the strife and chaos which had disrupted lives and schedules throughout Hong Kong! In no time Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine train had been ridden twice, Mystic Manor, Fairy Tale Forest, Jungle Cruise, Space Mountain, It's a small world (for the air conditioning of course!) The Iron Man tech showcase, Ant Man and the Wasp Nano Battle had all been tested and approved by this Disney veteran.

    Along the way, and in between rides, every Disney store had also been thoroughly investigated and I even found time to squeeze in some fine Disney vittles at the Starliner Diner.

    It was a surreal experience having so much space at a Disney park, I almost miss the crowds for some of the atmosphere they generate, almost. So in a mere five hours the resort had been conquered, then it was back on the MTR a final fast retail splurge at Citygate Outlets before riding the 45 minutes back to Kowloon.

    Now it's my last chance to enjoy the room's view of the junks, cruise ships and barges as they ply the harbour and the technicolour light show from the skycrapers on Hong Kong island.

    I'm ready to be impressed by Cathay Pacific's Business class on tomorrow night's return flight to NZ. It's already scored more points than Air New Zealand because they'll be flying us in an A350-900, my favourite ride. See you next time from Aotearoa.
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  • Day37

    That's it folks!

    November 17, 2019 in Hong Kong ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Our last day has been a funny old day. Our flight leaves HK tonight at half past midnight that’s half past four UK time and we had to check out of our room by midday.
    The temperature today has been in the early thirties so once we had packed we wandered into town for a leisurely lunch and a final look round. There are any number of upmarket shopping malls in HK most of them occupied by the likes of Armani, Gucci, Rolex talk about Crazy Rich Asians!
    Came back to the hotel mid afternoon and we still had access to the swimming pool and an area set aside for guests like us leaving late in the day.
    It was whilst looking out from the ninth floor where the outdoor pool is that we saw the protesters for the first time. A couple oh helicopters had been circling for some time and then we saw the protesters were gathering by the bridge near the Polytechnic which is close to our hotel. Soon the riot police arrived in force and there was a stand off with protesters one end and police the other. The protesters had thrown bricks all over the road to prevent vehicles passing. Soon petrol bombs were being thrown and tear gas in retaliation by the police. As it stands that is all so far. Jane was talking to a lady whilst getting changed who got caught up with it and is suffering from the effects of tear gas. We shall be making our way to the airport sooner than we would normally do!
    So an eventful end to a marvellous holiday. We have enjoyed every moment and would do it all again in a heartbeat. We have been very lucky with the weather particularly in New Zealand where we were prepared for the worst. We have eaten well, enjoyed some excellent wines and met some interesting people along the way. We have stayed in fifteen different hotels and B&B’s, will have had ten flights and flown over 23,000 miles by the time we return home.
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  • Day3

    Star Ferry and Ladies Market

    November 26, 2018 in Hong Kong ⋅ 🌙 19 °C

    We had a more leisurely start today, leaving the hotel just after 9am for a walk to the ferry terminal to catch the historic Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour to Kowloon.

    With a few detours for caches, we walked through Kowloon Park to the Hong Kong Scout Association, who have a large museum as part of a Scout branded hotel, which is also the tallest Scout building in the world!

    After lunch at a small noodle and dumpling restaurant we walked via the Temple Street night market (not much happening during the day), to the Ladies Market. This was very busy and continued for many blocks, so by the time we reached the other end we were ready for a train trip back to the ferry terminal.

    We spotted the Space Museum on the walk fron the train station, so DC paid a vist while we had coffee and cake at nearby Starbucks.

    We caught the Star Ferry back to Hong Kong Island and ventured up to a rooftop garden in search of another cache. Apart from a great view, there was also a burger bar on the rooftop with outdoor seating, so we stopped there for tea and enjoyed the harbour lights.

    The journey back to the hotel was partly via the Central–Mid-Levels Escalator, the world’s longest outdoor covered escalator system (800m in length with a 135m rise in elevation).
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  • Dec31

    Choi Hung Estate Car Park

    December 31, 2019 in Hong Kong ⋅ ☁️ 18 °C

    Folgt man den Fotohotspots, lernt man die Stadt auch ausserhalb des Reiseführers kennen. Hierbei handelt es sich um ein Basketfeld auf dem Dach einer Parkinggarage inmitten einer “Goverment-Wohnsiedlung”. Wir waren bereits um 8.30 Uhr dort und schauten zuerst etwas dem Treiben zu.

  • Dec28

    Mongkok am Abend

    December 28, 2019 in Hong Kong ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C

    Mongkok weist eine Bevölkerungsdichte aus, die ihres Gleichen sucht. Das birgt Vor- und Nachteile. Ein lebendiges Wohn und Einkaufsgebiert. Dieser Stadteil zeichnet sich auch durch seine Mischung aus alt und neu, den vielen Läden und Restaurants aus. Am Abend ist hier wirklich viel los. Eigentlich wirkt es auf uns chaotisch, doch wenn man es genauer betrachtet findet man auch eine gewisse Struktur, zum Beispiel in den spezialisierten Märkten oder Strassen. So schlendern wir durch die Sneakers Street – alles Schuh-Läden, so viel Sneakers und Turnschuhe haben wir selten auf einmal gesehen. Andere Beispiele sind die Märkte: Ladies Market, Birdmarket, …..Ausserdem finden wir hier coole Strassenscenen für die Fotografie, wie etwa der Buslibahnof und die vielen Leuchttafel und Neonreklamen, die die Strasse in speziellem Licht erscheinen lassen.

    Wir sind gerne hier, vor allem am Abend, da ist was los. Souveniers eingekauft und Fotos geknipst erleben wir noch ein paar Ausschreitungen und begeben uns anschliessend gegen Mitternacht zu Fuss an die Avenue of Stars am Wasser wo die ganze Menschenmenge auf ein Feuerwerk wartet, welches jedoch abgesagt wurde.
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  • Dec31

    Pavilion of absolut perfection

    December 31, 2019 in Hong Kong ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    Auf der Suche nach Fotohotspots im Internet, trafen wir auch auf dieses Bild, das goldene Häusschen inmitten von Hochhäusern. Da der Nan Lian Garden und das Nonnenkloster in der Nähe der Choi Hung Estate Car Park liegt, der auf unserer Buckletliste ist, sind wir eigentlich doch eher zufällig hier. Von unserem ersten Ziel führt uns Googlemaps mti 15 Minuten Fussmarsch durch Chinesische Beton und Kachelwüste und über Highways, da fragen wir uns: Wo soll hier nun ein Ort der Stille sein?“ Mehr Kontrast geht nun wirklich nicht.

    Gleich neben einem Autobahndrehkreuz befindend, überlegen wir kurz, ob die Autobahn um den Park gebaut wurde. Wie wir später erfahren werden, liegen wir falsch, den der Nan Lian Garden wurde erst 2006 angelegt. Das Nonnenkloster hingegen wurde bereits 1930 erbaut. Es ist kaum zu glauben, aber Mitten im Park hört und sieht man überhaupt nichts vom lärmenden Verkehr, der um uns kreist. Also doch ein Ort der Ruhe und wunderschön angelegt.

    Die goldene Kuppel – oder ist es doch nur ein Häusschen – fängt den Blick des Betrachters ohne Gegenwehr ein. Die Höchhäuser im Hintergrund gestalten die Fotos spannend und der Interpretation sind wenig Grenzen gesetzt. Es ist Vormittag und nur spährlich besucht. Wir denken, dass es hier am Abend doch etwas voller ist, wenn der goldene Pavillon of absolut perfection – so wird’s offiziell genannt, unser Häusschen, vom warmen Abendlich kitschig angestrahlt wird. Ein netter Besuch – nicht zwingend – aber wenn man schon einmal im Nordosten der Stadt ist, durchaus einen Besuch wert.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Kowloon City, مقاطعة مدينة كولون, Kowloon City barrutia, Kiú-liùng-sàng-khî, קאולון סיטי, Distretto di Kowloon City, 九龍城区, 주룽청 구, Kiú-liông-siâⁿ-khu, Kowloon City District, Kowloon-distriktet, Коулун-Сити, கவுலூன் நகர மாவட்டம், Cửu Long Thành, 九龍城區

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