Mar 16

Hong Kong for a Day (Destination: Hong Kong)

Traveled Saturday, Sept 7, 2013

I only got about 3 hours sleep on my 13 hour flight from Vancouver, but I did manage to watch Hangover 3, Iron Man 3, Admission, and a fascinating documentary called “Eat, Fast, and Live Longer.” I was lucky to have a window seat and an empty seat next to me on a very full plane. There was a young traveler in the next seat on his way to do tours on 3 continents over the next 2 months.

After arrival, I was on the train to downtown hong kong in less than 30 minutes – deboarded, went thru immigration (no questions on what I was doing in HK or how long I’d stay), exchanged some money, and bought a return ticket on the Airport Express. A one way ticket on this fast train to the city is 100 HKD, but if you’re returning to the airport on the same day, the price is the same. There were cheaper alternatives like the bus but this way leaves no traffic surprises on the way back to the airport
So, I rode all the way to the last stop – HK Island and then walked up to the Peak Tram terminal, stopping at the Episcopal cathedral on the way.

The tram was a very steep train ride up the hill on tracks that were laid in 1888.

The 360 degree viewpoint was not open yet, so I walked further up the hill walking by the Tai Chi practicers in a park. The views from the viewpoint were OK today, although somewhat blocked by smog/haze. At least it wasn’t clouds. Totally clear days are not the norm here.

Back down the hill, I stopped at the free Botanical gardens and zoo. They had an excellent primate exhibit with several types of monkeys, 2 kinds of lemurs, and a large orangutan exhibit. And smack dab in the middle of the primates was a cage with a couple raccoons! It was awesome to watch the zookeeper feed the Orangutans carrots, squash, oranges, apples, and bread – they loved the apples! Then I stopped in the small visitor center to be told they’d be showing the baby twin Orangutans that were born in 2011. They were so cute!

From there I walked thru the Admiraly area and peeked in a very small temple. Then caught the Star ferry across to the Kowloon side. There were very good views from the boat.

I walked thru the Kowloon park and briefly stopped at the Hong Kong heritage center.

Next, I headed up to the market area and had lunch (sautéed beef and Chinese vegetables) at a bit of a dive. I walked thru the jade market and the local fruit market. They were just setting up for the famous Temple night market just a street away, but the only people on that street besides those setting up were what appeared to be more than 20 prostitutes spaced out over a 2-block area. I continued to the train station to return to the airport, but stopped to by a souvenir magnet and walk around a mall first.

Back at the airport it was smooth sailing thru immigration. I stopped at a pharmacy to buy some Berocca (Vitamin C and Zinc effervescent pills) because I have a slightly sore throat. The guy sitting in front of me on the Seattle to Vancouver flight had a pretty nasty cough so I hope I didn’t pick something up.

These signs on the roads saved me a few times!

This day had been my first time in Hong Kong. Overall, it felt VERY safe and quite clean. There were lots of signs forbidding things that were pretty interesting (like a $1500 fine for spitting on the street or feeding the pigeons)

The city was beautiful after I flew out after dark.

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