China: Hong Kong


Hong Kong is many things to many people. There’s the modern cosmopolitan side represented by the skyscrapers. Shoppers can choose between the fancy malls and the street markets. There are parks, concert halls, and museums. I especially like the waterfront promenade. In Mongkok we enjoyed the market, aquarium street, and street market. My husband was thoroughly entertained by Hong Kong’s amazing public transportation system. There were so many ways to get around, and it was both fun and confusing figuring out the numerous exits out of Central station.


If the concrete and steel jungle of Hong Kong gets too much for you just head for the oasis that is Hong Kong Park like we did. Places of interest inside the park include the aviary, conservatory, and tea museum. The tai chi garden and lake looked wonderful with the towering skyscrapers in the background. Sit in one of the benches and enjoy people-watching. There are also “resident birds” worth noting, it was amusing to see exotic birds mingling with the common brown sparrow, and fighting for crumbs and popcorn.


Observing the modern architecture in Hong Kong was another form of cheap entertainment we enjoyed in this trip. Many buildings have distinct characteristics, even personalities. They either stick out like eyesores, or they help shape the mood and character of the area. At night they undergo transformations thanks to their special lighting.


I was amazed to see so many tourists and all the changes at the Peak. The Galleria was still there, but several structures have been added. Take this viewing tower which can be seen even from the Kowloon side. Personally I think it’s an eyesore, as I prefer the viewing terrace that it replaced. Maybe we just came at the wrong time because it was so crowded there, and the presence of shops and vendors didn’t help matters.

This is the latest attraction which started in Apr. 28. It’s a light and sound show involving all the major buildings in Causeway Bay, and it was amazing to see Hong Kong’s nightscape lit up by colorful lights, lasers and fireworks. It only lasted for about 15 minutes but we’ll remember this for a long time as it is truly one of the most splendid (and biggest) light and sound presentation we’ve ever seen.


To escape the maddening crowd we went hiking on the Fun Trail. It was a leisurely walk and the cool mountain breeze eased the discomfort of being under the midday sun as there was little shade. I enjoyed stopping occasionally to admire and take photos of the colorful flowers. While doing so we met a young Australian who thought it would be fun to go downhill in rollerblades.


We canceled our trip to Ocean Park hoping to avoid long lines and huge crowds, and opted to visit Lantau island instead. We didn’t have to take a boat as the MTR travels all the way there through the famous Tsing Ma Bridge, the world’s longest vehicle and rainlway bridge. Of course we found out that some of those 400,000 tourists from mainland China out for their week-long May holiday would also make their way there. At any rate, we found some peace and quiet by hiking on the fun trail. We encountered a young man from Australian who decided to go roller-blading downhill. You can say you really meet all sorts of people when you travel.


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