Hong Kong the name say’s it all. I don’t like cities but I did like Hong Kong. Clean – safe – efficient – insane, as just a few words I would use to describe this city. NYC cannot hold a candle to HK. For one thing HK is very clean and safe. You can eat off the floor of the subways, which by the way you would be arrested or at least fined if you ate anything on the subway.
We arrived in HK at sunrise on the last day of our cruise. We were spending one more night on the ship as our floating hotel. So we decided this day to venture out into the new city (new for Beth and I) to see some of the sights. Where to start?? Big question – Victoria Peak, Big Buddha on Mountain, shopping in markets, Stanley Market, the Jade Market, the night market??? Well it was day so the night market was out. So we decided to talk to the information folks and get directions to the mountain Buddha. Easy and quick way is to go by subway. 5 minute walk from the ship to the station, buy a ticket and your off. It was about 10:00 AM and we were in the massive subway station. At the ticket machine you put your finger over the destination station and it tell you how much money to put in to get the right ticket. First problem is getting the money into the machine. When we tried to put the money into the machine it did not take our money. the line was growing behind us and so guys from India showed us ow to turn the money over and the machine took it, lesson one – put the bill into the machine back side facing up! OK new we have two tickets to the end of the line to Lantau Island. So we took the escalator down one level and got on the Tsuen Wan Line (red line for all us Bostonians) and road the train for 9 stops till we got to La King Station, where we crossed the platform and boarded the Tung Chung Line for Tung Chung on Lantau Island. Got that? Actually very easy and quick. We covered a distance of about 25 miles in about 25 minutes. Try doing that on Boston’s mass transit (the T). Once at Tung Chung station go up stairs and look for the tramway entrance. Buy a tramway ticket and board one very long tramway to the Mountain Buddha. Formally known as Tian Tan Buddha at the Po Lin Monastery. Very cool trip. On our way up the tramway (down also) it was very windy and the car rocked back and forth. A few fellow passengers were not happy about this. Although they did not speak any English and we don’t speak Chinese you could tell by their screams. Well they did not scream out loud but you could see it in their faces. Once at the top you walk about one kilometer from the tram station through a very Disney like area till you get to the Buddha. Then after taking photos of the Buddha you can wonder over to the Po Lin Monastery. All very cool place to visit. All and all we were there for a few hours. Then it was time for lunch. For lunch we ate in the Disney like village at a soup noodle shop. I think that Beth liked this meal the best of the whole trip. We had (can you guess) soup noodles and pot-stickers, with all the other Chinese diners. When we finished we went back to the tram to head back to the ship. Except for the wind the return trip was uneventful. However we did run into a ships tour and shared the return tram with the tour leader. By taking the subway verses the ship’s tour we saved about $120.00 and had a real HK experience.
The next day we had to leave the Quest our home for the last 14 days. We moved down the street about a half a mile to the world renown Peninsula Hotel. What a place! We had an inexpensive (by Peninsula standards) room at this hotel. What a room – very big and the bathroom was huge! Service was great. The pool is on the 8 floor overlooking HK harbor and the HK skyline can be enjoyed from the pool.
More about HK and day two to come latter.