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Hong Kong Travel Journal

Three Days in Hong Kong Before a Cruise on the Crystal Symphony

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Hong Kong - Star Ferry between Hong Kong and Kowloon

Hong Kong

Hong Kong (c) Linda Garrison
I have long wanted to visit Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, and when an opportunity to sail on the Crystal Symphony from Hong Kong to Singapore via Vietnam and Bangkok arose, I couldn't wait to get on the plane.

Our flights from Atlanta to Hong Kong all went without a hitch. Mom and I managed to watch several movies, read a book (or two), work a few crossword and Sudoku puzzles, and even nap a little (but not enough). We zipped through immigration and customs in Hong Kong, retrieved our bags, and I found an ATM to get some Hong Kong dollars. We decided to take an airport shuttle bus rather than a taxi, which was a good choice. It was about $35 for the 2 of us, and the airport is quite a ways from the city. The shuttle left the airport about 11:10 pm. Of course, we stopped at three hotels before reaching ours about 12:30 am. Turned off the light at 1:24 am after a very long day/night.

Awoke our first morning in Hong Kong about 8am to a cloudy day, and it was raining by noon. We ate breakfast at a coffee shop near our Renaissance Harbor Hotel, which conveniently adjoined the Hong Kong Convention Center and was right on the harbor. Walking along the harbor area for a while helped us stretch our legs and also see if the weather improved. Along the harbor near our hotel, we saw the Forever Blooming Bauhinia Statue in Golden Bauhinia Square and the Reunification Monument, both of which mark the transfer of Hong Kong from Great Britain back to China.

Since Victoria Peak was cloud-covered, we opted to do our shopping in the downtown market near the Central MTR (subway) station. The walk to the Wan Chai subway station from our hotel was about 3-4 blocks, but it was a covered elevated walkway over the streets and through office building lobbies, etc. The Hong Kong subway is very easy to navigate and has signage in English (thank goodness!). The Central MTR station was only 2 stops away and the ride was less than a dollar for the 2 of us. We browsed in some of the street markets (Li Yuen Street East and Li Yuen Street West). The vendors were thankfully not as aggressive as we have seen elsewhere. Mom bought a summer leather purse, and we bought some souvenirs.

Since it was starting to rain, we rode the mid-levels outdoor covered escalator up the hill, stopping at Hollywood Street to window shop the antique stores and at Staunton St. to check out the numerous restaurants since we were ready for a late lunch. We also visited the Man Mo Temple, which is Hong Kong's oldest. The smoke from the burning incense (some of which were on coils hanging from the ceiling) kept us from staying long since it was very smoky. Although it was raining, many of the restaurants were open to the outdoors, so we ate a late lunch before deciding to call it quits for the day. We got back to the hotel a little after 4 pm, took LONG naps while the rain pelted our window outside. Neither of us was hungry for supper so we ate snacks we didn't eat on the plane and drank some more water.

Well, our normally good luck with the weather ran out. It was raining when we woke up our second morning in Hong Kong, and stayed that way most of the day. To make matters worse, the humidity was about 94% and you couldn't even see across the harbor, much less to the top of Victoria Peak. It was also windy. So, we stayed in the room most of the day and got some well deserved rest stretched out on the beds. We did venture out to eat and to do a short walking tour in the early afternoon (between showers). We also rode the MTR (subway) downtown, thinking we would do a little indoor shopping in one of the many malls. However, the place was packed with people. I think everyone decided to do the same. Evidently many people have Sunday off. We weren't really wanting to buy anything, so retreated back to the room and crossed our fingers that it would be nicer the next day.

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