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Christmas Lights in Hong Kong
Rating : (5 stars)

Hong Kong, China
Dec 16, 2003 08:04

Pros: stunning views, fantastic place
Cons: expensive city

Attempting to be semi-organised we tried to book our hotel in Hong Kong while still in New Zealand. Much to our horror the travel agents could not confirm anything. Family had already recommended just turning up and booking the hotel in Hong Kong airport where some fabulous deals could be had! Feeling a little happier, we came out of the arrivals gate and headed straight for the hotel booking desk hoping to find a comfortable room at the Peninsula hotel, in our dreams! The sign above the booking agents head listed all the hotels on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon, against every hotel was the word...FULL.. What did we do? We looked sorrowful and asked the lady to find us what ever was available and not too expensive…….

We have ended up in a lovely hotel called the Wharney on Hong Kong Island. It is situated in Wan Chai. Wan Chai means ‘little bay’ in Cantonese and it is home to the huge Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Our hotel was situated behind the Exhibition Centre on one of the main roads, whose main business seemed to be sex orientated. The flashing lights of this red light district seem to blend in very well with the Christmas lights hung down the centre of the street.

We have discovered that the cheapest way to eat in Hong Kong is to go to McDonalds. I know it sounds absolute sacrilege to go to a fast food joint while somewhere exotic but having spent nearly all our money this was by fast the best option and who can resist their hot apple pies!

Hong Kong Island is the main business district but it is also full of tiny back roads of watch and dress makers. Hollywood Road is one of the oldest streets on the island and is supposed to be the spot where Gordon Bremmer claimed Hong Kong Island for the crown in 1841. The road curves around to the Man Mo Temple, a temple dedicated to two deities. We peeked inside; the temple was full of smoke from burning incense, fortune telling sticks and garlands of flowers around statues of the deities. Surrounding the tiny temple were the characteristic Hong Kong sky scrapers and some covered in scaffolding. Not the usual metal pipes, ladders and platforms but bamboo tied with twine! We caught the tram up to Victoria Peak which is the highest point on the island. It offers a stunning view across Hong Kong Island and luckily for us there was no fog or cloud! Apparently, Victoria Peak is the place to live and it is said that the house prices go up with the height of the peak. From Victoria Peak we travelled down to Aberdeen (Heung Gong Tsai meaning Fragrant Harbour), which is home to the boat people who live on junks moored in the harbour. We caught a sampan and toured the moored city (although the numbers of people living here keeps falling). We finished off the day by dropping in on a gold and jade factory before visiting Stanley market to check out the souvenir selection.

Our final day in Hong Kong was spent in Kowloon where we were on a mission to obtain a bargain camera for the Smith family. Michael and I had a good few attempts at getting the price lowered, we put on a great ‘Good cop, bad cop’ act. We eventually found a shop that looked the real deal and they assured us that we would be provided with warranties plus a photo copied set of English instructions for the camera. Michael, completely taken in by the sales talk even bought a nifty little camera not out in the UK for another year. Feeling happy but poor we joined an open top bus for a tour of the Hong Kong Christmas lights……. We head home tomorrow but it has been a fantastic trip!