China Tour: Hong Kong
After visiting the yard in Xiamen, we stayed two nights in Hong Kong.
most of the time within sight of
Harbour (map of area). The harbor separates Kowloon Peninsula on the north from
Hong Kong on the south. The waters are constantly busy with boat
traffic of all kinds, ranging from ferries, tour boats, high-speed
catamarans, and cruise ships to tugs, and all manner of commercial
boats. We enjoyed our stay at the
Nikko Hotel on the Kowloon side, alongside the harbor, which was within easy walking
distance of the shops and restaurants in Kowloon.
Fodor's Hong Kong was a useful reference and source of ideas,
although a little lacking in detailed directions. The tourist map we
got from the hotel filled in any gaps.
Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade runs along the Victoria Harbor waterfront from near
our hotel. Part of the promenade,
Avenue of Stars,
celebrates Hong Kong's film industry. The walkway is reasonably crowded in
this morning picture, but at night the crowds were thick.
High temperature areas like Hong Kong really come alive
at night when when the weather is a little cooler. It's not much cooler at
night though--the low & high temperatures the first full day we were there
were 83F & 94F, with relative humidity ranging from 57 to 88%.
boat like these picked up groups along the Kowloon breakwater throughout the day.
The harbor has a constant chop, and getting the boats close enough to the
breakwater without pounding them to pieces appeared to be a real challenge (video).
Each captain approached slowly, and carefully adjusted position until their
boat was up against a gap. Most had a small female crewmember
who worked from the bow with a long boat hook, either fending off or hooking
on. Once the boat was alongside, people just hopped on, carrying food,
drinks, and even small children. It all looked rather unsafe, but
nobody seemed particularly concerned.
||You pretty much have
to ride a Star Ferry
across the harbor--the company has been operating a ferry service between
Kowloon and Kong Hong since the late 1800s. We purchased a day pass, but it
turned out to work only their
Harbour Tour boat and
didn't include the standard cross-harbor ferries. This worked out ok, as we
had wanted to take a night harbor tour anyway, particularly to see the show
A Symphony of Lights. And the dramatically lit skyscrapers that surround
the harbor are a show themselves. We brought takeout food with us and
rode two night tours in a row.
||On the Hong Kong side,
companies such as
First Ferry operate high-speed
catamarans to the gambling mecca of
Macau. It's incredibly popular. Ferries run 24 hours a day, leaving
about every 15 minutes between 7am and midnight.
||On our way to
The Peak, we took the
escalators up to mid-level (you instead can take a free shuttle to the peak
tram from the Central ferry terminal). The series of escalators and walkways
run up for a half mile and are billed as the world's longest. We got great
views into the city and found lots of interesting bars and restaurants near
the top in SoHo (short for "South of Hollywood Road").
||From the top of the
escalators, we walked through the
Zoological and Botanical Gardens on our way to the the Peak Tram
terminal. Several endangered species are houses here, including
White Rufted Lemurs and
The Peak Tram has
operated commercially since 1888, and for many years was the only way to
reach the top other than a sedan chair. The tramway runs nearly a mile
from 95 feet above sea level to the
Peak Tower at 4,478
feet above see level.
The views from the top are amazing, even when the weather is somewhat hazy.
This is looking northeast, over the skyscrapers of Hong Kong and across Victoria Harbour
From The Peak, we could see masses of commercial boats moored along the west
shore of Kowloon, so on our second day we went over to check them out.
Hundreds of boats were packed in behind what turned out to be a large
Nearby was a massive complex including residences, hotels, and a major new
with over 1 million square feet of retail space. It even had an indoor
skating rink. We came across 24
Lamborghinis parked outside at one
of the hotels. It
was a meeting of the Hong Kong Lamborghini club. The cars looked amazing,
and most were quite new. As a mechanic specializing in exotic Italian cars, James used to work on
Lamborghinis, but had never seen so many in one place.
Click for more pictures
Last updated 2009.10.03