Published: March 7th 2007February 28th 2007
Days 43-45, Hong Kong, China
Well, the QM2's arrival into Hong Kong (HKG) was not as spectacular as we had hoped…but BEING in Hong Kong was EVERYTHING we had hoped for and MORE!!!! The QM2 is just too big to fit into the passenger terminals in most cities around the world and Hong Kong is no exception, so we arrived with a lone fireboat leading us to our berth in a container port. The QM2’s arrival in Sydney was such a spectacular event, as was her departure. I guess we were trying to compare the two which isn’t really reasonable. The container port we arrived in was absolutely huge though, so we got to see this very modern Chinese working port. It is truly a working port and many containers were being moved around until absolutely the very last minute before we pulled alongside the pier, when operations were shutdown. There were Chinese dragons dancing along the pier to traditional Chinese music to greet us! Once the ship was cleared, we were off the ship and on our way to our Hong Kong orientation tour. Our tour guide was excellent! We visited Hong Kong Island and saw its unique buildings,
beaches, historical landmarks, the Stanley Market, and the beautiful Victoria harbour, to name just a few sites. We even went on a Sampan ride to see the houseboats and boatpeople that are well known in the Hong Kong area. When we finished our tour, we reboarded the ship to collect our suitcases that we needed for the next few days. Since our ship was at the container port we had to take a 20 minute shuttle into the city to get to public transportation to our hotel. Once the shuttle bus dropped us off at the city harbour area, we made our way through the streets of Hong Kong with our little suitcases in tow to the subway station. Public transportation in Hong Kong is a breeze once you figure out a few basic things. After some minor confusion about where to enter the station, what kind of tickets to buy, and which direction to go (just minor things!), we boarded one of the cleanest mass transit trains that we had ever seen! In Hong Kong it is called the MTR. All of the stations were amazingly clean! HKG has stiff fines for littering and smoking in public areas. There
is also no eating or drinking on, or in, any of the trains, buses or stations. These fines seem to be working! We made it to our hotel, got to our room, and opened the door to another fabulous view. We had a great view in Sydney and we didn’t really think it could be topped, but we opened the door on the 22nd floor of our hotel and found our beds facing two beautiful walls of windows overlooking Victoria Harbour! It was spectacular!!! I don’t think any of us cared to leave the room……but we had to. Hong Kong awaited us. That night we went up to the tallest peak in Hong Kong, Victoria Peak, to have dinner and view the city lights. The peak tram was only a short distance from our hotel but trying to figure out how to walk there was impossible because many of the sidewalks are not at street level, but are elevated to get people away from all of the traffic and facilitate their journeys. It works well, but only if you know where the walkways begin and end! So our first experience in a Chinese cab—a red and white one at that!
That was the best two dollar cab ride we have ever had and probably the ONLY two dollar cab ride we’ve had! I don’t think we can even touch a cab door handle for that in the states! We did learn that many cab drivers speak English but most do not, so it is really smart to have the address of where you want to go written down in Chinese. After a great dinner, we looked around a little bit and to our amazement saw our ship in Victoria Harbour on its departure from Hong Kong! The next day, we decided to tour all of the markets on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong that we could. We started with the flower market, then looked for the bird market and couldn’t find it (the boys were happy about not getting next to any birds in this region anyway!), went to “Boundary” street to see the area that used to divide China and HKG, went to the women’s market that had EVERYTHING and wasn’t really a women’s market, found the street you go to when you are remodeling your home, found the fruits and vegetable market, found the jade market, found
the live wet market with live fish, turtles, frog etc. to pick up for dinner, and found the night market. Wow! What a day! After dinner, we took the famous Star Ferry back across Victoria Harbour to Hong Kong Island where our hotel was located. We had big plans for the next day to go to Lantau Island and visit the Po Lin Monastery. But, that was not in the cards. The skyway tram to the island was shutdown two days in a row for high winds. It would open intermittently during the day but we couldn’t rely on the timing, and since we had to be at the airport at 6:00 pm for our flight to Singapore, we didn’t want to take any chances. So we went to Plan B. Plan B was a visit to Disneyland!!!
There are more photos below