Hong Kong: One Country, Two Systems !

Trip Start Sep 04, 2007
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Trip End Sep 01, 2008


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Monday, August 4, 2008

Ley Ho!

We arrived in Hong Kong yesterday to a beautiful day, albeit a very hot and humid day.  Today, we've decided to explore the Tsim Sha Tsui area of Kowloon.  From our hotel, it was just a short walk to the Visitor Information Center at the Star Ferry Pier.  Here the Information Center staff assisted us in booking a guided tour of Hong Kong Island this afternoon.  With the weather so great, we wanted to take advantage of it and view Hong Kong in ideal conditions.

As we had some time, we walked around the waterfront of Tsim Sha Tsui.  In the area was the Cruise Terminal where a cruise ship was in port.  The Star Ferry Pier was also located in the area.  Here, Star Ferries were arriving and departing on a regular basis, carrying passengers to various locations around Hong Kong Harbour.  A majority of Hong Kong citizens commute back and forth between Hong Kong Island and Kowloon for work and leisure purposes.  

Also on the Kowloon waterfront is the Hong Kong Cultural Center.  Within this area is the Kowloon Public Pier, Clock Tower and Space Museum.  The Olympic Piazza is also located here too which features the mascots and has several tents promoting the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games due to start later this week.  

The Avenue of Stars features Hong Kong's celebrities, both past and present.  Strategically located on the esplanade along the harbour front, the most popular Hong Kong Star is movie actor Jackie Chan!  At 8pm every evening, people would line up along the Kowloon Public Pier to view a spectacular laser and light show along the skyline of the tallest buildings on Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.  

Around 2pm, we were picked up as scheduled at the Salisbury Road YMCA by Splendid Tours for our Hong Kong Island Orientation Tour.  The air conditioned bus offered a reprieve from the heat and humidity.  The tour guide was very informative and spoke fluent English and both Chinese languages - Cantonese and Mandarin.    

The tour began with a thirty minute drive to Tsim Sha Tsui East where we entered Cross Harbour Tunnel to Hong Kong Island and the summit of Victoria Peak.  It offered a magnificent panoramic view of Hong Kong, Victoria Harbour, Kowloon Peninsula and the nearby islands.  It's simply one of the best views in the world.  There were many photo opportunities up here from the various lookout points. 

From here it was onto Aberdeen Fishing Village on the south side of Hong Kong Island, a lively floating community filled with junk boats and sampans.  We took the opportunity to take a sampan ride, a fun way to gain insights into the traditional "water lifestyle" of the Tankas!  The boat ride offered an interesting view of life within the fishing village and how these residents mesh with the urban residents around them.  The floating restaurant appeared to be very appealing and will definitely be on our list of places to visit during our next stay to Hong Kong. 

Next stop, we were taken to the workshop of a well known jewelery factory in Aberdeen, Dynasty Jewelery Manufacturer.  Here we observed the whole process of a piece of fine jewelery being created and handcrafted.  Their latest signature piece "Dancing Couple" was being highly promoted.  Elsie couldn't resist the opportunity to unload some of her Hong Kong dollars and subsequently made a purchase.

The drive along the south shore of the island took us past Repulse Bay lookout.  A postcard-perfect picture of a white sandy beach sweeping along the bay and the majestic South China Sea!

Our last stop was the charming village of Stanley, a former British military garrison turned into a popular open air market.  The Stanley Market attracts bargain shoppers from all over the world.  Here, Rick couldn't resist the opportunity to unload some of his Hong Kong dollars. 

The tour bus took us back down Canal Rd along Happy Valley Racecourse, Times Square and through Causeway Bay where we again entered Cross Harbour Tunnel for our trip to Tsim Sha Tsui East.  As we requested to be dropped off at the YMCA on Salisbury Rd (our pickup point), we were among the few remaining after everyone were dropped off at their hotel.  However, with darkness now upon us, we chose to return to the Kowloon Public Pier where we waited a short while for the laser and sound show on the Hong Kong Harbour.  This Symphony of Lights showed nightly at 8pm.  Although the best vantage point for this show was on the harbour itself, viewing it along the shore was still very impressive as the tallest buildings of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon were used to project the numerous lasers and colorful lights!  For us, we felt that Hong Kong's Harbour was one of the most impressive harbours that we've seen, day or night!

Today, we got a snapshot of Hong Kong's beauty, vitality and fusion of eastern and western cultures!  We saw a glimpse of Hong Kong spirit and why it remains different from mainland China!

Cheers, Rick & Elsie! 

         

  
    


   
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