Farewell to Vietnam, Arrival in Hong Kong

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September 29th 2014
Published: June 11th 2017
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We were picked up in our hotel in Hanoi by the Vietnam Awesome Travel driver at 7:30 this morning, and we were off to the airport for our flight to Hong Kong. We have enjoyed visiting Hanoi. It is a pretty city, set on the lake, and the old quarter is so interesting, especially at night, and unlike anything we have experienced before. We are now in Hong Kong and it seems much more like a regular big city, without the character and traffic craziness of a city like Hanoi.

The flight from Hanoi was only two hours, and was uneventful. Nobody was sitting in the window seat so we could spread out a bit. We landed about 1:30 and went through immigration and baggage pickup quickly. We had bought our MTR travel passes online so we picked up our passes at the airport express customer service desk, and waited a few minutes for the train. The airport express train is very nice, with comfortable seating and space for luggage. We got off at the Kowloon Station, maybe 20 minutes from the airport, and got a cab to our hotel. As I mentioned yesterday, we are at the Stanford Hillview Hotel, in a different area of Kowloon than I had expected when I thought we were staying at the Stanford Hotel in Mongkok. I kind of wish we were at the Stanford in Mongkok since I think the area would be more interesting.

We settled in our room, changed from our travel clothes (it is in the 30s here but not as humid as Cambodia and Vietnam), and headed out. We walked to the Star Ferry pier which is the closest Big Bus tour stop, maybe a 20 min walk at the most, and picked up our Deluxe Day and Night Big Bus tickets (also bought online before we left). We did the Big Bus Kowloon tour, but at one point, by the Avenue of Stars on the waterfront, we had to get off the bus and wait for the next one, and the next one was parked way ahead and ended up leaving without us (and several other people as well). I think we had done most of the Kowloon tour anyway, but It was kind of funny. We walked to the night bus stop, complained to the Big Bus rep about being left behind, and picked up some cold drinks at the nearby 7-11 (like Bangkok Hong Kong has lots of 7-11s). We got on the night bus and waited awhile for it to leave (it filled up quickly). Off we went on the night tour, which we knew was also in Kowloon, but we didn't realize it was pretty much exactly the same route as the Kowloon day tour, with the same commentary! I could have recited some of it myself. Anyway, Kowloon looks much more interesting at night with all the lights and neon signs. The night bus finished at the Avenue of Stars area, and as we were parched by this time we stopped at the "Deck n Beer" on the waterfront for a beer (and we thought something to eat but they didn't serve food so we munched on peanuts). It cost about $30 for two Tsing Tao beer each. We aren't in the land of cheap beer anymore, that's for sure.

So much of the area we saw today was an endless parade of high-end designer stores. It was kind of a let down, as we don't find that very interesting, especially when compared to colourful Hanoi. But Hong Kong is
Kowloon StreetsKowloon StreetsKowloon Streets

Hard to take pictures from the bus, but gives you an idea anyway.
vasty different from a city like Hanoi, and we have to appreciate it for what it is.

The highrises across from Kowloon on Hong Kong Island are just amazing. There are so many and they are so tall. Vancouver's skyline would look puny in comparison. It was a pretty incredible sight to see as we enjoyed our beer.

After our beer we hopped in a cab for the short ride back to our hotel, and then found a place to eat. We both had noodle soup, and shared a red bean milk drink which was very tasty.

Back in our hotel room I prepared to transfer pictures from the camera to the ipad as usual, but kept getting an error message on the camera ("connection failed") and I have no idea why this is happening. The cable has worked flawlessly all this time. So I had no choice but to transfer pictures wirelessly, which was a very slow process as I had to do it one picture at a time and the wireless connection kept disconnecting. So I gave up after a while and only have a few pictures to add. I think tomorrow we will bring
Kowloon StreetsKowloon StreetsKowloon Streets

I didn't realize it was blurry till I had transferred it. Ah well.
the iPad mini with us and take some pictures with it so I can easily add them to the blog.

You probably have heard about the protestors in Hong Kong. We haven't seen any in the area of Kowloon we were in today, burt the Big Bus cancelled it's Central tour today because of the demonstrations. We hope it is back on tomorrow. Either way, we'll find a way to see what we want to see. I wouldn't mind seeing the protests in person, but we'll be careful.

Tomorrow we will take the Star Ferry across to Hong Kong Island, and do the Big Bus tours (and hop on and off where we want to). We will take the cable car up to the Peak, and whatever else we can fit in. On Wednesday we have a full day tour to Lantau Island (including a vegetarian lunch at the Buddhist monastery there).

Good night from Hong Kong!

Additional photos below
Photos: 17, Displayed: 17


Susan in the Middle Road ParkSusan in the Middle Road Park
Susan in the Middle Road Park

After we got left behind by the Big Bus!
Kowloon building at nightKowloon building at night
Kowloon building at night

The shadow of a person is projected on this huge building - kind of cool.
Our streetOur street
Our street

You can see our hotel sign in the background - the Stanford Hillview Hotel.

29th September 2014

Yes please be very careful. Love you lots. Storm
30th September 2014

Are you going to try to see the protests?
30th September 2014

It sounds like we are all concerned about the protests. Please be extremely careful Lori and Susan. It could be very easy to get caught up in something dangerous. Hong Kong is so different from what it was when we were there 18 years ago
. I remember the harbour as being so tranquil with many junks. We had a lovely trip on a junk to a floating restaurant.
30th September 2014

Hi Lori and Susan I suggest you don't go near the protest. Lots of people have gone to a protest just to see it but have inadvertently got involved. Dad
30th September 2014

Hi everyone, don't worry we are not going to go near any protests. We took the Star Ferry over to Central this morning, and walked to the Peak Tram (since the Central Big Bus Tour is not operating because of the road closures). We saw numer
ous police, and some barricaded roads, and some people milling about in the distance, but that's all. We are resting in our room for a bit and then will go back out later for the Big Bus tour that is running, to Stanley.

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