Hongkong: a beautiful contradiction

Almost a month after the end of our trip in Hongkong and I still feel a tinge of separation anxiety. It was our first family trip after almost 20 years and Hongkong is the perfect place to spend precious time with your loved ones. The cool March breeze, the city lights, the panoramic views, not to mention the tourist-friendly transport systems, all make a brief but perfect getaway, specially for my elderly parents.



Travelling to Hongkong island from the airport is as easy alighting from a plane. If you are on a budget and would not want to take the cab, you can take the A21 bus that can be found near the exit of the Hongkong International Airport (HKIA).

                                                          The bus terminal outside HKIA


                                              The view in front of the bus from HKIA


                                             Breathtaking and panoramic view to Kowloon

We stayed in a guesthouse inside the Mirador Mansion in Tsim Sha Tsui area in Kowloon. If you want convenience and easy access to shops, train and ferry stations, yet do not mind crappy-looking corridors welcoming you in your first day of stay in Hongkong, you may want to stay in one of the guesthouses inside the Mirador Mansion. The Mirador Mansion is very close to the Tsim Sha Tsui station of the MTR, the China Ferry Station, a mosque, and a number of convenience stores.

                                                          The corridor inside the Mirador

An Octopus card - a card that you tap every time you use the MTR and can reload once you lack enough credit - is a huge help when going around Hongkong. The fare would usually amount to HKD 10, but of course the fare depends on which station you are going to. The Octopus card can be purchased on-loan from HKIA. It costs HKD 150 per person but you can have HKD 50 back once you return the Octopus card from where you purchased it. Hence, the card you purchased already has a HKD 100 load.


The first stop in our itinerary was Victoria Peak. From Mirador Mansion, we went to the Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) MTR station and got off at Central Station. From there, we walked towards Exchange Tower and looked for the bus terminal. Bus 15 is the one you ride to go to Victoria Peak. The bus ride cost us HKD 9.80/person. It was actually a mistake for us to have taken the MTR from TST station when we could have just walked a bit along Nathan Road, the street outside the front entrance of the Mirador Mansion, and wait for Bus 15 there. Nonetheless, we would not have been able to pass by Central park if we did not take the MTR.

                                                            Bus ride going to Victoria Peak

The bus ride going to Victoria Peak, which would take about 30 minutes, offers a thrilling view of the Hongkong skycrapers. Travelling to Victoria Peak would be ideal at night when you can see the city lights embellish the sky high buildings of Hongkong. Too bad for us, the fog obstructed our view and we just went back home and enjoyed taking photos at the Central park.

                                                                      Central park at night

The next day was dedicated to exploring the famed Hongkong Disneyland resort, and true enough, it was the happiest place on Earth. And I am not joking nor was I paid to advertise that amusement park. I was never a Disney kid. I remember back then when my classmates would talk about Pocahontas or The Prince of Egypt or The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and I just stood there, clueless about what they were excited about. Back in my grade school days, I would rather talk about Die Hard or Indiana Jones or Star Wars (yeah, Star Wars was not a part of Disney back in the day). But when I got to experience HK Disneyland, it made me regret that I was not a Disney kid. Everything seemed fun there (except for the price of the food) and it was an experience I would always want to go back to no matter what my age is.

                                                                 Entering Hongkong Disneyland

From TST MTR station Tsuen Wan Line, we boarded the Lai King Station to Tung Chung. Once in Lai King, change to platform 3 and take the Tung Chung line to Sunny Bay station. From Sunny Bay, take the Disneyland Express.

One of the highlights of our Disneyland trip is the Mystic Manor (you should see this for yourself) and The Lion King 30-minute theater presentation, which is a showcase of dance and song routines that will delight the audiences of all ages - and yes it was not the parade nor the fireworks. What more can I say about Disneyland? Well, every ride and attraction offers something different and seems like great effort is put into perfecting every corner of the park.

                                                                 Every corner is perfection

From something modern and Western (though I am not saying that being modern equates to being Western), we went to something traditional. Ngong Ping Village at Lantau island is a place you can go to if you want to meditate and enjoy a calm and bright sunny day.

                                                             The calm that is Ngong Ping

From Tung Chung MTR station, go to the Tung Chung terminal to ride Bus 23. The terminal is a 5-minute walk from the MTR station. Do not be fooled by the bus terminal in front of the train station - that is not where the Bus 23 going to Ngong Ping village (and Tai O fishing village) is parked. The fare costs HKD 27 and you can use your Octopus card to pay for it. In Ngong Ping village, you can take photos with the Big Buddha, walk around the Po Lin monastery and fool around with the cows strolling within the complex. I'm joking, do not fool around with those cows, I beg you.

A cow hiding his face

I never thought I would enjoy Hongkong as much as I did. I had always thought that it was just some cosmopolitan place that would never offer the kind of thrill that Bangkok, Siem Reap, or Ho Chi Minh has. I was mistaken. It has a different feel that you would always want to go back to. True enough, separation anxiety exists. Ask me and I would go back to Hongkong in a heartbeat.



3 comments:

  1. Yaaaas! Ganyan! Magandang surprise to HAHAHAHA

    (Mag-uupdate na rin ako hahaha)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Uy! Win! Hahaha ako na lang walang entry magsulat ako for Taiwan trip! Waaa hahaha try ko lang sana makasulat.

    ReplyDelete

 

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