On 15 Dec, I had to travel to Hong Kong for a one day work assignment, my first time travelling for work! I stayed there for 3D2N and also managed to do a bit of sightseeing in the process. The weather was perfect for walking around and at approximately 15°C, it was like having aircon outdoors. Not only that, Christmas atmosphere was in the air.
During the trip, I stayed at this 5-star business hotel called The Conrad which is quite near Admiralty MTR and right next to Shangri-La Hotel. There is also a huge shopping centre called Pacific Plaza right below the hotel. The good thing about this hotel is that it is within walking distance of many places of interest like The Peak pram station, Star Ferry Pier, Central District, etc. However, the irony was that whenever I asked the hotel receptionist for directions, they would always tell me to take a taxi, even if it were only a 5-10min walk away!
At HKD1700 a night (that’s roughly SGD340 a night and all paid for!), I was able to enjoy a pretty nice view of the city from my Superior View Room on the 36th floor, albeit blocked by a lot of tall buildings; and a sumptuous continental buffet breakfast every morning.
The biggest hotel room I’ve stayed in so far. Too bad I had to travel without wifey…
Tsim Sha Tsui
Tsim Sha Tsui, which lies at the southern tip of Kowloon, is probably the best place to get an unobstructed view of the famous Hong Kong skyline. To get there from Hong Kong Island where I was staying, the cheapest and most scenic way to travel is by hopping on board a Star Ferry from Pier 7. I can’t remember exactly how much it cost but it was pretty cheap and the ride took less than 10 minutes.
I was fortunate enough to visit right before Christmas as Harbour City, a really long mall next to the pier, was decorated very beautifully. I was also able to catch the daily light show where lights on major buildings on Hong Kong Island facing Kowloon would synchronize to music.
Night view of Hong Kong Island from Tsim Sha Tsui.
Mongkok is characterized by its many shops, food outlets and bustling night markets. It reminds me a lot of our Bugis Street back in Singapore, except many many times larger. To enjoy shopping here, one must be quite aggressive in bargaining. Unfortunately, not knowing Cantonese was a big handicap for me and I left the place empty handed.
Still, Mongkok was one of the highlights of my visit to Kowloon. If you’re one who draws energy from crowds, this is the place to visit!
If people call Hong Kong a city that never sleeps, it is probably because of Mongkok.
The Peak is what the locals call Victoria Peak, a mountain situated on Hong Kong Island. Victoria Peak is about 550m tall and is one of the busiest tourist attractions in Hong Kong. I’m not surprised, judging by the spectacular view of the city and bay if offers. You can also see Kowloon Peninsula from up there. I heard that the best time to visit is at night when all of Hong Kong is lighted up. However, the late morning view I saw was no less stunning.
To get the The Peak, I had to take The Peak Tram, which runs every day from 7am to midnight. A return ticket costs HKD33 for adults and is a must to experience this enduring emblem of Hong Kong’s history.
I could sit here for hours just admiring the view and the cool breeze.
Central District is located on the northern part of Hong Kong Island and it is the financial centre or CBD of Hong Kong. There are many tall buildings in this area, especially banks, but the most interesting thing is how rows and rows of old shophouses lining the back alleys juxtapose against such a modern landscape.
My main goal of going to Central was to hunt for one of the most famous restaurants in Hong Kong called Yung Kee. Hong Kong is the home of dim sum and what better place to try it than at this restaurant. Besides, that was what the hotel receptionist recommended so I wasn’t going to argue. I must say it was really worth it!
Exploring the city is fun and it is impossible to get lost (unless given wrong directions like me!).
At the end of the trip, I can definitely say that Hong Kong is a shopper’s and foodie’s paradise and I wish I could’ve spent more time there. If all goes well, I might be going back again in March 07 together with wifey, Ashley and some HopeIslanders! Really looking forward to that. 😀
For all pictures of the trip, browse to my album here: