Cairns to Hong Kong
Trip Start Nov 23, 2005
31Trip End Jul 12, 2006
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Where I stayed
After the airport incident, the flight went very well and we were soon in Hong Kong. The next job was to get into town and find somewhere to stay. The A21 bus took us to Kowloon and then we found a small room in the Mirador Mansions Kowloon Hotel (not to be mistaken for the 4/5* The Kowloon Hotel). A mansion it is not but one of many tower blocks of apartments that have been converted into guest houses, hostels and hotels. Our room was small and we believe it used to be a bathroom but has now a very hard double bed, but it is ensuite (toilet with over hanging shower and a sink) and is air-conned.
Sat 3rd June
Got up quite early this morning to find a few travel agents that would sort us out our China leg to Beijing. Most of them said they could only do Chinese speaking tours but a few said they would sort something out for us but not until Monday
Sun 4th June
Had a lie in this morning. Got up and went for a walk along the 'Avenue of Stars' which is based on the American version but full of Chinese film related personnel. This meant that we only recognised about two or three names; Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee & Jet Li!!!!!
Apparently, Dean has Jackie's hands & I have Jet's! After this we wandered around HK for a bit and then had a late lunch, early dinner in a Chinese restaurant and managed to order dim sum on our own (they had photos!). Norman you'd be proud of us
Mon 5th June
Up early to try and finalise our Chinese leg of our journey. Another wander from agency to agency only to find out all tours returned to HK, no-one would book trains (too complicated apparently) only flights (too expensive). We ended up booking through our agent back in the UK. Hopefully, we will be able to leave HK soon and see some of China!
To cheer ourselves up we went for a bit of shopping therapy. Dean wanted to buy some toys/gadgets so we headed for the markets (Steve you'd be in heaven - it's the equivalent of the computer fayre on speed) that Norman showed us. Feeling better after spending just over $500HKD (35pounds) we head off to look for somewhere to eat. After to days/nights of Chinese cuisine we decided to push the boat out and eat Western style. Pizza Hut was amazing. Not like back home. The surroundings were plush and the food available much better. Feeling bloated we headed to our box and began to plan our next couple of days sightseeing.
Tues 6th June
Woke up at 5:30am to the sound of the fire alarm
Then again at 6:00am it went off again, this time twice! We woke the manager up again and he assured us that it wouldn't go off again.
After this incident we had a bit of a lie-in as we were tired and got up around 10:30.
Today we were going to do some touristy stuff and caught the KCR train to Sha Tin to visit the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery. From the train we had a short walk to the bottom of 400 stairs lined with buddhas which we had to climb to reach the monastery.
There are some really weird looking ones, some singing, some standing on fish and other animals, and others were floating on clouds and water. At the top there were even more statues of all shapes and sizes including an elephant and giant blue dog. There was also a 9 storey pagoda, full of you've guessed it, buddhas. Would have been a spectacular sight apart from three great big cranes working on the buildings behind!
After the tiring walk down we headed back into town had another western style meal. This time at KFC, not great but filled a hole. I think we'll be going back to dim sum.
Meanwhile on planet annoyance, the hawkers are out to get you
Wed 7th June
After some breakfast we headed to the Star Ferry that would take us to Hong Kong Island and then onto another ferry to Lantau Island. Once on the island we jumped on a coach to Po Lin Monastery. It was a rather cloudy day so you couldn't see the giant Buddha on the hill. Upon climbing the steps, the nearer you got the better the visability and with each step the bigger and bigger it got. It is absolutely huge! After meeting the big guy, we walked back down to have a look at the many temples dotted around. We then headed back to Kowloon and caught the MTR to Normans gaff. He lives in a nice modern appartment block (39th floor) overlooking his local town and we found it very pleasant. We also got to meet his lovely girlfriend Jo.
Thurs 8th June
Last full day in Hong Kong so after a bit of packing we went back to Sham Shui Po to buy a portable DVD player (another toy) for the long train trips in China. Suprisingly they were only slightly cheaper than in the UK, but at least they're region free. New toy in pocket we headed back to Tsim Sha Tsui to check email for details of our trains/hotels in China. A little disappointed in our travel agent as she still hadn't sent us anything. We don't believe she realised there was a time difference of 7hrs! Finally, with the address in hand for where to collect our first set of train tickets from, we headed to Kowloon's public pier to board our junk, The Duk Ling, for a trip around the harbour. Although rather windy it was a very pleasant 'sail' and after landing at Queens Wharf on Hong Kong Island, we picked up our train tickets (luckily for us, also on Hong Kong Island) and then spent a few hours wandering around Sheung Wan and Central before again meeting up with Norman for a delicious hot pot (loosely pronounced 'hor hor') similar in style to a fondue but with meats and vegetables (and free beer). It was another lovely evening to round off our Hong Kong visit. Thanks Norman. Fish & chips are on us when you're next in the UK.
Fri 9th June
Up early packed and ready to go we headed off to the train station. Within an hour we were on the train to Ghangzhou East station in China having passed through the Hong Kong passport control and received our departure stamps. China here we come!