Hong Kong Journals

Hong Kong, NYC on the South China Sea

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A January 2002 trip to Hong Kong by Overlander

The Lights of Empire Centre Photo, Hong Kong, China More Photos
Quote: Hong Kong is Manhatten's Doppelgänger on the South China Sea; it's Asia's high-tech nirvana; it's traditional China; it's just about everything you can name. For my money, it's the most exciting city in Asia and -- just possibly -- in the world. To me, only New York rivals it.

Hong Kong, NYC on the South China Sea

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Overview

The Lights of Empire Centre Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
Most Impressive Sights If you do nothing else in Hong Kong, walk along the promenade along the harbor between the Star Ferry Terminal and the Intercontinental Hong Kong at dusk for a view of the lights from the skyscraper canyons on Hong Kong Island against a dimly silhouetted Victoria Peak. No other cityscape can rival it except -- just possibly -- the view of Manhattan from the Jersey Shore. The Street Markets From a Chinese perspective, the many street markets of Hong Kong are a joy, whether the Night Market in Ya Mau Pai, the Bird Market in Mongkok, or the many side streets that lead uphill from the sea on Hong Kong Island. These will all live in your memor...Read More

Hotel Ibis North Point

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Hotel

Hotel Ibis North Point Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
The Ibis is a very modern, very clean, but rather modest 3-star hostelry that offers excellent service and spotless bathrooms -- but direct Internet connection, hair dryer, and bath. The problem was that the room, which was meant to be a double, was too small for two people to move past one another alongside the bed. Indeed, the only way we could create any extra space for ourselves was to push the bed back against the wall, which at least allowed us to turn the chair around. As for the mattress, it was orthopedic "hard" and barely larger than a North American single -- yet this was supposed to be a double! Another caveat: there are both standard and deluxe rooms; however, you don''t get a l...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 20, 2002

Hotel Ibis North Point
138 Java Rd.
Hong Kong
(852) 2588 1111

Booth Lodge

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Hotel

Booth Lodge Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
East Asian Accommodation Note: One of the peculiarities of East and Southeast Asia is that organizations such as the Salvation Army, Caritas (Red Cross), and the YM(W)CA run hotels that are perfectly respectable places to stay. I wouldn''t think of staying in any of them in North America, for example, because I''d figure they were essentially flophouses meant for the down-and-out. In Asia nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, they often offer accommodation that is the best value for money anywhere in town. This is certainly true of Hong Kong. The Salvation Army''s Booth Lodge is perhaps the best "deal" to be found in all of Hong Kong. Doubles ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 21, 2002

Booth Lodge
11 Wing Sing Road
Hong Kong
(852) 2771 9266

Treasure Restaurant

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Restaurant

Treasure Restaurant Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
The Treasure is but one of many, many excellent restaurants scattered along Nathan Road in Kowloon. This particular one is larger than most with dining rooms on at least three floors of a high-rise. If you come for dinner, I'd make a reservation; the afternoon dim sum spread doesn't cause those problems. We had afternoon dim sum nibblies on numerous occasions during our last trip to Hong Kong. There is a selection of over 50 items, which are wheeled by your table on carts. You call over a waitress and the cart, she opens the little bamboo steamer baskets, and you pick whatever you want. They all look wonderful; however, anyone with allergies to seafood should be cautious ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 21, 2002

Treasure Restaurant
Corner of Nathan Road & Wing Sing Lane
Hong Kong

Tong Tai Restaurant

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Restaurant

Tong Tai Restaurant Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
The Tong Tai is a great little semi-sidewalk restaurant in the Temple Street Night Market that specializes in seafood. They serve just about anything that you'll find in the waters of Hong Kong, many things most Westerners have never seen before let alone considered eating! You walk by the tables set up with the ingredients and you pick whatever you want from bizarre crustaceans to clams, whelks, and other odd snail-like things. Or maybe you'd prefer a sea cucumber? Or edible jellyfish? Whatever... I should add here that most of the little guys you'll soon be downing are still very much alive when you pick 'em. Some are so lively, in fact, that they crawl right off the plates in front of...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 20, 2002

Tong Tai Restaurant
Temple St & Ningpo St.
Hong Kong

Pacific Coffee Company

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Restaurant | "The Pacific Coffee Company"

Pacific Coffee Company Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
This old Seattle company has outlets scattered throughout Hong Kong's glitzier districts and shopping malls, so you're never much more than ten minutes away from a latte. My wife and I were in two or three during our stay and I have to say that we were not that impressed with the service nor with the staff, who tended to be rather ill-informed, a trifle surly, and barely capable of intelligible English. For most visitors, I suppose, the main point to a stop at a Pacific Coffee Company outlet is the free web-surfing they offer. All the ones I saw had a few lap-top computers - never more than six - available for client use. Officially, you're only allowed 15 minutes' worth of free 'Net time, ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 25, 2002

Pacific Coffee Company

Hong Kong

Ocean Park

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Attraction | "The Pandas at Ocean Park"

Ocean Park Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
Two terminally-cute, roly-poly, fuzzy-wuzzy Giant Pandas, Gia-Gia and An-An by name, are arguably the premier drawing cards for Ocean Park, Hong Kong's eclectic answer to Disney World. Housed in a state-of-the-art enclosure that mimics as many features of real panda habitats as it can, these charmers seem as contented as any animal in captivity could possibly be. The afternoon my wife and I were there, only one of the pandas -- whether Gia-Gia or An-An, we still don't know -- was being sociable. Keeping its distance from the audience below (or were we its audience??), s/he sort of walked/rolled from one place to another, at times rolling i...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 8, 2002

Ocean Park
Ocean Park Road Aberdeen
Hong Kong 4000039
+852 2552 0291

The Butterfly House at Ocean Park

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Attraction

The Butterfly House at Ocean Park Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
The Butterfly House The long, low, glass-encased butterfly enclosure at Ocean Park gave me the feeling that I was walking inside a caterpillar, which, I supose, was the archtect's intention. Once inside, you follow a tiled walkway that takes you past dozens of tropical flowers, plants, and trees, many of them orchids, which butterflies have an apparent affinity for. The butterflies themselves are mostly varieties that are indigenous to Hong Kong and nearby Guandong Province of Mainland China. Ranging in size from just a few centimeters across to giant varieties whose wingspans can be as much as 15 or 20 cm...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 16, 2002

The Butterfly House at Ocean Park
Aberdeen
Hong Kong

Temple Street Night Market

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Attraction

Temple Street Night Market Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
Asian Night Markets: An Introductory Note Night markets are a long-standing and utterly delightful tradition in East and Southeast Asia that must date back centuries. Every city of any size from Indonesia to HongKong and beyond has at least one. Although some have begun to open up in the late afternoon - due largely I suspect to pure avarice and greed - they never really kick off until after dark when most people are off work, need to shop, and desperately want to get out of their almost universally cramped apartment blocks. The night market is cheap - or even free if you don't buy anything - and offers a great opportunity to see and be seen. Evening strolls through the loca...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 21, 2002

Temple Street Night Market
Temple Street
Hong Kong
+852 2807 6543 (HK T

Ocean Park

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Attraction | "Navigating Ocean Park"

Ocean Park Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
Navigating Ocean Park Due to the exigencies of Hong Kong geography, Ocean Park was built over a headland and extends down into a lowland valley on Hong Kong Island's south shore adjacent to the old settlement of Aberdeen. There are at least four distinctive levels in the park which had to be connected together. But how? Ocean Park's planners solved it with typical HK panache: use technology in any way possible. There are two principal sections of the park: The Lowlands, where such exhibits as the Panda Enclosure and the Children's Park are located. The other section is some 200 meters higher up and drapes itself down the other side of the headland. The questi...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 20, 2002

Ocean Park
Ocean Park Road Aberdeen
Hong Kong 4000039
+852 2552 0291

Yuen Po Street Bird Garden

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Attraction

Yuen Po Street Bird Garden Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
The Bird Garden offers a delightful respite from the noise and hubub that rule the streets of Kowloon. For decades bird lovers have congregated here in Yuen Po Street to air their birds, let them sing, and talk about their feathered pets. It was only natural that commercial interests should be aroused, so a market sprang up alongside. Stalls selling birds, bird food, cages, and every conceivable item related to the care and feeding of birds began to appear. Walking through the Bird Garden is an unforgettable experience. Young and old are here, people of every shape and description, all with an overwhelming interest in birds. Even if you don't like the little beasties, people watching is enoug...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 20, 2002

Yuen Po Street Bird Garden
Yuen Po Street
Hong Kong
+852 2807 6543 (Hong

Tropical Fish Market

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Attraction

Tropical Fish Market Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
One of the more unusual street markets is the one on a short stretch of Mong Kok's Tung Choi Street where dozens of tropical fish shops and stalls are concentrated. I've seen street markets devoted to a good many common and not-so-common items in my time, but this was a first. The Chinese, of course, have been fascinated with decorative and exotic fish for centuries, so I suppose it's no surprise that they would come up with a market like this. It is, nevertheless, unique in my experience. Most shops are pretty small; indeed, some are mere stalls. Some shops have large numbers of aquariums, but most simply put their fish in little plastic bags, and hang them on pegboard for ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 25, 2002

Tropical Fish Market
Tung Choi Street
Hong Kong

Hong Kong Flower Market

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Attraction | "Flower Market"

Hong Kong Flower Market Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
Hong Kong's Flower Market, which serves both wholesale and retail customers, stretches the equivalent of two or three blocks along one side of a street of the same name between Sai Yee and Yuen Po Streets not far from the Prince Edward Street station of the MTR. (Follow the same directions I've given for a visit to the adjacent Yuen Po Bird Garden on another page.) The little street is ablaze with color and crowded with customers much of the time. The variety of flowers available is mind-boggling and range from the usual roses, babies' breath, and chrysanthemums to the bizarre, e.g., cabbage flowers, China fruit, and Venus Flytraps. There are cacti from the American Southwest, Hawaiian orchi...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 25, 2002

Hong Kong Flower Market
Flower Market Road, Mong Kok, Kowloon.
Hong Kong

The MTR -- Mass Transit Railway

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Story/Tip

Ticket Machines Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
Most mass transit systems are not something one generally waxes enthusiastic about, as I’m sure you’ll agree. Indeed, more often than not, they’re something that frequently provokes dismay, derision, and disgust. Hong Kong’s MTR network, however, is an exception to this rule. It is nothing short of brilliant. Although it would be nice to see a few more metro lines added to the system – and the buses could certainly stand to be less heavily air-conditioned – the fact remains that it is unquestionably the easiest and most transparent system to use that I have ever encountered anywhere in the world. It is just about idiot-proof, which is saying something. Tickets A...Read More

The Star Ferry

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Story/Tip

A Star Ferry underway Photo, Hong Kong, China
Quote:
Until the appearance of two cross-harbor tunnels between Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, the Star Ferry service, which commenced in 1888, was the sole connection between these two part sections of Hong Kong. The only lengthy interruption in service took place during WWII during the Japanese Occupation. Otherwise, the ships have been moving millions across the channel quickly and safely for all these many years. The ferries are still the most economical, and in some ways, the most convenient way for residents and tourists to cross the harbor. Fares are amazingly low, a mere HK$1.70 for the 8 minute trip between Tsim Sha Tsui and Central. If it's hot and humid, however, it's best to opt for the ...Read More