Getting there: Air Canada direct
Where we stayed: Royal Pacific Hotel in Kowloon. Nice well-appointed room, good wifi, lovely views, good gym, attentive service, close to transit, Kowloon park, on the harbour, close to lots of shops and restaurants. I splurged and bought myself a bouquet of stargazer lilies from a nearby market too, since I stayed in the same place for a total of 8 nights.
Fun: Hong Kong (HK) has every food option at every price point you can imagine. The same can be said for shopping – if you’re in to all things sports-related, head to the Mongkok area, and if you want a huge Western-style mall, head to IFC on the Hong Kong side of the city. We also explored the south side of HK island – an area called Stanley and a lovely hiking trail called Dragons Back. Even though we were a 30 min bus ride to Causeway Bay, we felt a million miles from a city. HK has amazing transit – from a train/bus from the airport to the bus, subway, and ferry options, you can’t go wrong (the Star Ferry is about 25 cents/ride!). d2 has been to HK many times – this was the 2d’s second trip together. Our first trip was in 2008, so more information can be found in the 2008 menu about HK under the China trip.
Tip: 1. Definitely take the airport train to Kowloon – you can buy a return ticket at the airport welcome counter as you exit immigration. The shuttle buses from the Kowloon station are free to the hotels. If you’re staying at the Royal Pacific, get off at the first bus stop (it’s another hotel, but a 2 minute walk), otherwise you’re on it until the last stop when it circles back. 2. Might seem obvious, but at the markets, BARGAIN! The prices are negotiable. 3. If you’re from North America, you’re going to wake up early here anyway, so go to Kowloon Park or another park and watch everyone doing their exercises in the morning – it’s an awesome sight. 4. English is used pretty heavily here thanks to its days as a British colony, so it’s very easy to get around if you’re worried about a language barrier. 5. Get a foot massage – there are lots of places, and given the amount of walking we did, you’ve earned it! 6. Tipping in HK isn’t common practice, so unless you feel specifically obliged due to outstanding service, don’t worry about this. 7. If you’re worried about navigating the subway, you might want to stay away from rush hour, but we managed just fine (see pic below).
November 25, 2011: Greetings from HK
Hello from Hong Kong – just thought I would send a few pics and let you know what we’ve been up to. I arrived here on Sunday afternoon uneventfully, checked in to the hotel which is right on the harbour, and then went out and about. Monday and Tuesday were days that I had to myself before d2 arrived from mainland China on Tuesday night. I didn’t do much except enjoy the lovely weather (mid-20s everyday), read at the harbourfront and in a nearby park, met with a fellow U of Aer for a visit, and did some window shopping. Tuesday night I walked over to the train station and met Dave, and we promptly went out for burgers. Yum. Wednesday we went to a district called Mongkok where they sell lots of athletic goods, so we shopped our way up there, shopped there, and then took the subway back to near our hotel. Yesterday we went to an area we’ve never been to before on Hong Kong Island called Stanley – it’s on the south side of the island so we took a bus there (very narrow roads on a very high hill!), and went to the market and beach area there. I also did some homework on red velvet cupcakes in HK and we sampled one lastnight. Yum again, and then a dinner of steamed dumplings, deep fried wontons (wayyyyy too much filling for Oma’s liking), and broccoli (had to get something good in the mix!). Today we went back to HK Island and did some shopping, wandering around, had another super delicious red velvet cupcake at another bakery I found (OK, this one was so good, we each had TWO cupcakes there), and then found a place for foot massagies. Yum for the feet, although d2 wasn’t too impressed because they went hard on the feet – not just a delicate foot rub! Have attached some pics for you….everything’s good – the weather, food, shopping….all good!
Hope you all had a good week…only a few more days left here until we head home on Monday. I think we’ve still got time for a bit more shopping, hunting down an Indonesian resto, and maybe going for a hike on one of the islands if we get super adventurous. Mom, we sure could use your bargaining skills here – they know I’m a sucker!
dpr and d2
November 27, 2011: Greetings from HK, part 2
So it’s a wrap from HK…..we’re leaving tomorrow afternoon :o(, but I thought I’d let you know what we were up to over the weekend, which pretty much went like this: sleep, eat, shop, eat, walk, shop, eat, sleep – LOVE this vacation!
I forgot to pass on in my first message that we had some issues with our hotel (long story), so they comp’d us very nicely by letting us use a special lounge which means that we got a ridiculous breakfast every morning and tasty hot foods in the evening along with drinks….these are the sliders we had a couple of nights ago there and the lounge shot is me at breakfast this morning – the view is spectacular from up there. That’s d2 wearing the big panda head in case you’re wondering – let’s just say that yesterday’s shopping experience was interesting. We finished up the day yesterday with a wonderful meal at an Indonesian restaurant near our hotel. Sooooooo tasty good. And today was a lovely day – very blue sky and the sun was out the whole day – around 26 degrees or so. We had picked today to go on a hike so we took transit out to the south side of Hong Kong Island and went for a hike for about 2 hours on a path called Dragons Back. The last 2 pictures are from that hike – amazing views to the south and all across Hong Kong Island. The subway shot also shows you the number of people in the subway already at 9.30 this morning. We *may* have gone back for a couple of red velvets to help us recover from our hike…..and topped off the trip with some noodles, soup, and dumplings for dinner tonight after a nice long walk down at the harbour.
And that’s it from here….just trying to jam the suitcases with all of our goodies now and getting ready for bed. Hope you all had a good weekend.
dpr and d2