One Day in Hong Kong
Flying to New Zealand involves near 24 hours in the air depending on route from Frankfurt. This is a lot, especially for my dislike of flight. We found a flight with Cathay Pacific that landed in Hong Kong and had a late evening flight to Auckland. This gave me one day in Hong Kong and my first tiny taste of Asia. I got to spend a single day in Hong Kong and had a blast. Here are some highlights.
I had a list. I was ready. I had a day to see as much of the city as I could manage. Which in the end was less than I expected as I hadn’t slept on the flight.
Into the City
Hong Kong Airport is a nice place and is connected to the city with a train. I knew I wanted to take a Junk tour and to book it I needed to be on Kowloon. So I booked a round trip ticket from the airport to there. Buying at the kiosk in the airport it cost me 90HKD for the round trip. Oddly, this is the same as a one-way. Not bad considering that is about 9 euros.
From Kowloon Metro stop there is a free hotel transfer bus that dropped me at the Marco Polo Hotel near the waterfront. I only know this due to the incredibly helpful tourist woman in the airport. So happy I stopped there. Then I was able to walk around the Kowloon waterfront for a while enjoying the sun. Even though it is still northern hemisphere and technically winter, it was so nice and warm.
The central pier where the tourist office was for my Junk tour is also where the Star Ferries run. These are the ferries that run between Kowloon and Hong Kong island. This was a great experience for me. I rode it twice on my day in the city and loved it. First, tickets are 2.50HKD, so about 25Eurocents or 40US cents. Seriously!! For public transport and great view this is totally worth it. A note here though, have change. I had to run back and buy a drink to break down the bills from the ATM for coins to put into the machine. You buy a green token in a machine and then put that in the turn styles to get into the loading area.
Check. I put out a few calls on Twitter for other people in Hong Kong at the same time as me. I knew I would be tired and it would be great to have people to help me stay up and see things. I met up with Connie Hum for an excellent Dim Sum lunch. She even ordered for us in Chinese. Which was good as at that point I was hungry and didn’t know what anything was. My favorite was the soft sweet egg cake. It looks like a brownie but isn’t. Tasty. Connie and I also walked around through the massive warren of malls hunting for a for a coffee before she headed off to work.
Junk Harbour Tour
I did some research and found that the Hong Kong tourist board runs Junk tours on a restored fishing junk. This was top on my list to do as I love sailboats. It meant booking in the tourist office before hand on Kowloon side to pay my 100HKD in cash. A bit more expensive than the other tours I saw advertised, but way worth it.
The boat is called the Duk Ling. I have no clue if it is meant to be a joke of Duckling, but I liked it. Cold out on the water though. I was glad to have my sweatshirt.
Hong Kong Mid Level
Another big thumbs up for finding new friends on Twitter. I caught up with several other travel bloggers for dinner. (Juno, Steve and Nicole ) We went to a noodle house in the mid-level and had some great food and company. At this point, I was beginning to fade and needed to head back out to the airport for my flight to Auckland. I had on my list during the afternoon to see the mid-level escalators. Come on. Outdoor escalators? Gotta see that. They run both down for morning rush hour and then both ways the rest of the day. I had missed out on it during the day, so was happy to see them on our way to the subway.
What I Missed
The day was fun but a bit rough. I was dead tired. I had hoped to make it to Victoria peak, but that wasn’t happening. I did get to the cable car bottom and fell asleep standing in line. I decided to not spend money on it as I was unlikely to stay awake enough to enjoy it and didn’t want to miss my Junk tour. So I walked back down to the pier and napped at the outdoor tables there. Victoria peak is now high on my list for the return journey.
I also had some issues with my camera. The chip got corrupted. I thought I lost all of my morning pictures, but was able to salvage most but not all of them. Oh well, another reason to come back.
The main point of the trip to New Zealand was to see and travel with Ali. Despite which I was really looking forward to Hong Kong. This was my first trip to Asia and it was an additional carrot for getting on the long flight. The ticket was a bit more(Cathay Pacific is nice, but not necessarily cheap), but totally worth it. I am ready to go back and see more of the city. I liked my day in Hong Kong. Look for some more detailed posts coming.
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January 30, 2012 @ 2:15 pm
I’m looking forward to spending a few weeks in Hong Kong, and your post is a great reminder of the all great stuff to do, nosh, and see. Thanks again for your post, Andrew!
January 30, 2012 @ 8:15 pm
Thanks for the comment, Henry. I’m sure I only scratched the surface on my day.
January 30, 2012 @ 7:49 am
We’ll go back and spend a bigger chunk of time in Hong Kong one of these days. I’m so glad you got to do this to break up the long journey and that it helped with the jetlag.
January 29, 2012 @ 4:45 pm
You really maximized your time! HK is one of my favourite big cities in Asia.
January 30, 2012 @ 8:12 pm
Thanks. I needed to stay awake. No other reason for me to push so hard. What I saw I did like a lot though.
January 27, 2012 @ 12:22 am
That was definitely a quite busy day… glad you found the chance to sit down and eat dim sums… from my week in HK, it’s hands down the one thing that made me think that I might accept living there!
January 28, 2012 @ 3:18 pm
I like the idea of spending more time in Hong Kong. Definitely the food was good and cheap in both places we ate. Not sure I can take the pace and bustle to live there for a long time, but definitely up for a few weeks. Especially as I have seen pictures and heard stories of other things to do around the area.
January 26, 2012 @ 1:37 am
Sounds like you packed a lot into one day and cool that you were able to meet up with people from Twitter. I’ve only had layovers in Hong Kong, but unfortunately they haven’t been long enough to leave the airport.
January 26, 2012 @ 8:18 pm
Definitely take a few days and go into town if you can. It is a neat place. It was a full day, but it needed to be to keep me awake. The people helped a lot.
January 23, 2012 @ 10:16 pm
Oh, doing these layover trips while fighting your first day of jetlag is tough. How cool that you were able to meet up with people. Always helps! I’ve only been to Hong Kong a few times and always for very short times, but it seems like a really interesting city. I really want to try to junk tour you mention above! Sounds like a blast!
January 26, 2012 @ 8:09 pm
Twitter is such a great resource for meeting people. I am so happy I got to meet them too. It helped to have places to be with people that would notice if I wasn’t there so I didn’t fall asleep somewhere. It helped keep me up while sitting still to eat.
The city definitely looks worthy of a return visit. The junk tour was really cool, just take a jacket if it is at all cool. There is a lot of wind on the bay.
Caroline @ Traveling 9 to 5
January 23, 2012 @ 2:46 pm
Im getting on a Cathay flight tomorrow morning and leave for HK. I have a week there and hope I can meet up with as many people as you did and get out to enjoy the city!
January 23, 2012 @ 7:51 pm
Oo where are you flying from? The Cathay entertainment options in the seat back where one of the best I have seen in my limited experience. More than enough to keep me entertained for so many hours even as picky as I am.
Definitely do some tweets to see who is around.
ian in hamburg
January 23, 2012 @ 11:12 am
Sounds like a great day in Hong Kong. Transport there has always been reasonable. I think it’s because there are so many people crowded into a small area, they don’t have to charge so much per customer to come out ahead. The Star Ferry has always been the best way to see the harbour for next to nothing, but with a junk ride you went more than one better. A pity about how the air pollution hangs over the place now.
January 23, 2012 @ 7:53 pm
Thanks, Ian. It was a great day. I hadn’t really thought of that. Not sure if it is still true, but the Staten Island Ferry in NYC was free for a long time. Probably for the same reason. The pollution was annoying to look at, but at least in my one day there I didn’t feel it so much in my lungs. In fact the afternoon was a nice sunny days that I enjoyed coming from wintery Germany.
January 23, 2012 @ 10:39 am
I’ve only been through the HK airport but would love to check it out someday. Getting out on the water looks like a good plan! I love DimSum – though I’m not sure if I could get John to try it…
January 23, 2012 @ 7:41 pm
DimSum is great. They had all kinds of stuff (post coming). There were little BBQ Pork balls wrapped up in dough. Those looked foreign but didn’t taste weird at all. I’m sure you could get him to try at least though.
The HK airport on the way home was COLD!!
January 22, 2012 @ 9:38 pm
Great job taking advantage of that layover! Hong Kong is definitely on my list of places I’d like to visit. I grew up in the Philippines, yet somehow during those 10 years I never managed to visit another Asian country. My sister went to HK with a friend, and my husband lived in China for a year. I will have to stop there on my way to visit my parents in the Philippines (hopefully in the next 5 years.) Also, good call on realizing that you would just fall asleep at Victoria Peak, and just taking a nap instead!
January 23, 2012 @ 7:40 pm
Growing up, I really only remember traveling further than an hour or two in the car to see family. So I can well imagine if your family wasnt in another country there wasn’t much reason for the hassle. Definitely worth a few days at the least.
Yeah, I wandered back down to the pier, bought a coke for 8 dollars (Hong Kong Dollars, so like 1USD, but wow did I perk up when she said that) and fell asleep in front of the Subway. 🙂
January 22, 2012 @ 4:39 pm
I love having stopovers when travelling to far flung locales, it’s like a mini holiday in itself. We had 13 hours in Shanghai on our way to NZ last year, and had a wonderful day out, and then on the way back we had a day in Seoul, which was also great fun. Nice post 🙂
January 23, 2012 @ 7:37 pm
It is a really nice break. If nothing else to get out of the airport and stretch the legs. If you can manage to stay up and alert for most of the day, you can often take a big bite of jetlag too.
Shanghai sounds cool. Did you have to deal with the Chinese visas to be out in the city?