As soon as we arrived at Hong Kong International Airport we knew we were arriving in a city unlike anything we had experienced before. The airport itself is so big that we had to take a light rail train from our arrival hall to immigration and baggage claim.
For our seven-day stay in Hong Kong we had booked a cosy, and I mean very tiny, two bedroom Airbnb apartment in the suburb of Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island (see our review here). The location itself though was excellent, with numerous public transport options at our doorstep, along with lots of food options that were budget friendly.
I’m sure everyone who has been to Hong Kong has gone to the top of Victoria Peak or at the very least seen multiple photographs of Hong Kong’s sprawling skyscrapers from its peak. Although you are able to walk to the peak none of us were that enthralled with the idea considering the high temperatures and humidity that we were experiencing. Instead we settled on the historic funicular tram to transport us to the peak. At the peak we were treated to marvellous 360 degree views of Hong Kong Island and beyond, it truly is a sight to behold and if we thought the skyline was amazing from ground level, to see it from above is really something else. At the peak itself is a reasonably large retail area that contains shops and restaurants, with even a Burger King present, further shops are also been added so to my surprise at least it is not just a viewpoint and you could easily spend a good amount of time (and money) at the peak. However, apart from a trick art area that was free to enter, nothing was really in our budget range, so after admiring the view and exploring the area we headed back down the mountain and into the busy streets of Hong Kong once more.The city of Hong Kong has definitely got an eye on the future, but also has kept alive its past, especially with its fleet of ding ding trams. These incredibly narrow two-level electric trams run throughout the day and night and are a must-do experience in itself. The boys especially enjoyed them and at only $2.30 HKD/$0.43 NZD flat fare for adults ($1.20 HKD for kids), they are a cheap option to get from A to B while seeing the sights; especially if you manage to get a front seat on the upper deck.Another experience on the list for visitors to Hong Kong would have to be the light and sound night show also known as “A Symphony of Lights”. This show occurs every night at 8pm with multiple buildings from each side of the harbour taking part, there are even some lasers flashing from the top of skyscrapers. It is described as “an outdoor audiovisual feast” and as we jostled for a position with the hundreds of other keen spectators, our expectations were high. Unfortunately they were obviously too high as we were nowhere near amazed or impressed as we thought we were going to be. With Braxton asking throughout the show, “when is the cool bit going to happen?” With this I think he hit the nail on the head and although at times it seemed like it was building up to something great, it just fizzled out. Afterwards when we were talking about it, we started making excuses as to why it didn’t “wow” us, like “maybe we have just seen so many amazing things over the past year that it takes a lot to impress now”. But to be honest I think it was just underwhelming, which is a pity as it really could be something incredible. I’m sure other people have visited and being wowed by it, some can’t believe we did not enjoy it, which is fine, but it was definitely not one of our highlights of our visit.Hong Kong, along with mainland China, is one of the homes of Dim Sum or as we call it, “Yum Char”; so we could not visit without getting our full of it. Conveniently Paula’s birthday fell during our stay, so like when it did in Kuala Lumpur, we decided to find an ‘all you can eat’ lunch with free flow champagne. Luckily I managed to find one called dragon-i, which is actually a famous VIP nightclub in Hong Kong, however for lunch they cook dim sum and offer ‘all you can eat’ packages. On the weekends they also offer a free flow champagne deal with Veuve Clicquot (which just happens to be one of mine and Paula’s favourites). Although we had one problem, Paula’s birthday was on a Monday. I needn’t of worried though, as after mentioning we were celebrating a birthday they were quick to offer up the free flow champagne deal for us at the weekend rate of $580 HKD/$109 NZD (plus the standard HK 10% service charge) so a total of $638 HKD/$120 NZD per adult and the boys were $151.80 HKD/$29 NZD each. This gave us three and a half hours of unlimited food and drink, which we definitely made the most of and managed to try every dish on their menu. Both Lincoln and Braxton love dim sum, with their favourites being pork spare ribs and prawn dumplings, which they managed to have multiple dishes of. The staff even offered a complimentary special dish, dan dan meen, for us to try and a fruit platter for dessert, which was an incredibly thoughtful touch. After three plus hours of drinking countless glasses of champagne, I stopped counting after the fourth bottle was opened, we swayed out of the restaurant with our stomachs full of far too much food and wine. Neither Paula or I really remember the trip back that well, although we do have photographs of us on a ding ding tram and we managed to wake up with the children in our own apartment the following morning.During our stay the weather was a little rainy at times, after a grade three typhoon had passed through, so we visited a couple of museums for some indoor activities. The Maritime Museum traces Hong Kong’s maritime history from hundreds of years ago with artifacts and displays about junk boats, the opium trade and piracy, just to name a few. It provided a couple of hours of history lessons for the kids with several hands-on displays for them to stay engaged with. The Hong Kong Science Museum is huge and we made sure to visit on a Wednesday when admission is free. There was so much to see and do here that you could happily spend the best part of the day exploring it with children who are secretly learning about the properties of sound, aerodynamics, energy and biodiversity without even knowing it. We definitely ticked it off as a school lesson for the children, although don’t tell them that.
We really enjoyed our week in Hong Kong and next up was a week in Macau, the gambling capital of Asia (and probably the world). With gambling being one of my many vices, wait to see if we left with our budget intact or if Our Awesome World Adventure is going to be dramatically cut short!
Average Daily Spend – $281.02 NZD ($108.52 over budget per day)