15.12.2008 - 18.12.2008 9 °C
I found myself excited about getting to Hong Kong, keen to experience that contrast to the past few months just before returning to England. In anticipation of this we had booked a hotel room on Hong Kong Island itself, about 3 months previous. Upon arrival I arranged, for the final time on this trip, the new currency we would need and then got tickets for the travel we would need over the next 3 or 4 days. We were extremely lucky with the hotel, room prices were triple what we paid due to the holiday season, not only that but we were given a room with a view over Hong Kong harbour. A brief walk around the local area that evening clarified two things. Hong Kong has all your favourite high street shops from home, quite a few western people, living and working here and most importantly as its smell is almost inescapable in areas, the people of Hong Kong dry and eat virtually everything you can imagine as well as many others you couldn’t.
The festive spirit was definitely alive in Hong Kong and a booklet of various Christmas events on around the city was readily available. Near the centre there was, as you’d expect, a massive Christmas tree and every shopping mall was decorated to excess.
Just a note: Hong Kong boasts the longest escalator in the world, which runs along one of the main streets, all of it outside. Due to the small size of the island in contrast to its large population everything is built upward. As such the architectural skyline of Hong Kong is of course powerful with bold skyscrapers dominating your eyes. The island has a peak that is accessed via a cable car and provides excellent views of the urban sprawl bellow.
After dining out the evening before, to toast the end of our long trip, the final day was a full and fun one. Firstly we made the most of the early check in facility from the central train station, checking our luggage for the evening’s flight. As our bags got transported to what we hoped was to be our flight, we caught a bus to Ocean Park, a theme park, small zoo and general multi attraction place to go. As well as taking in some great views from the cable cars used to get around the park, we went on some rides (getting drenched on a flume), watched a terribly cheesy ice show, saw some pandas, heard a carol performance from a school choir, threw snowballs in a special chiller room, and attempted to play chopsticks on the giant piano in Santa’s grotto ala Tom Hanks in Big.
From Ocean Park we went back to the centre and looked around Hong Kong’s boulevard of the stars, Bruce Lee being the most impressive, whilst waiting for the Harbour skyscraper light show to start. Not to say the show wasn’t impressive, the lit skyline alone is, but it just wasn’t as extensive as I expected. None the less I can’t imagine seeing anything like it anywhere else. All that was left was to get the train to the airport buy some duty free and hope our bags had made it onto the same plane we got on.