Thursday, January 15, 2009
Hong Kong - The 2nd Sleepless City
Everybody knows Hong Kong. It's in Asia, right? In Southern China? Well, not really China... they've got their own licence plates, money, flag, even their own language, they still speak Cantonese as a main language instead of Mandarin! Customs and immigration are also in the package as flights from the mainland to Hong Kong are considered international. You ask me why? From 1897 to 1998, Hong Kong was on a 100 year lease to Britain. It developed totally differently than mainland China and successfully too. So successful in fact, that China decided to let it be when they got it back in 1998! So they still have all of those things.
The main sights are Victoria Peak, The Star Ferry and The Sound and Light Show. We have done all of those things plus one, covered below. But there is much more to Hong Kong; gardens, malls, markets, amusement parks and much much more.
Victoria Peak is a large peak on the main island. You ride the Peak Tram up the mountain, go through a mall (urgggg), up to the top, and see the city from an enormous height. There are also restaurants up there, so most people eat, shop and see.
The Star Ferry is a HUGE attraction in Hong Kong, especially during the evening. During the day, the Star Ferry is mostly used as transportation. Ride on the top deck if the breeze is getting to you, it's inside. The bottom deck is better for wave watching (and cityscapes) however. Ride the bottom during the day in the warm sunlight and the top in the chilly evening. At night, people take the ferry at 8:00 around the harbor to see the well known light show and the lit up sky-scrapers.
There are many gardens in Hong Kong. The only one that we visited was the Nan Lian Gardens. Since the garden is in Oriental style, there is no playing, I-Pods , tripods, or any other “disruptions” to ruin it's serenity. They have a Buddhist temple there and a nunnery for the monks. In the center of the park stands a three story tower in the middle of a pond. Fish are there as they are a must with all Oriental gardens. There is also a vegetarian restaurant and a Chinese tea house where one may learn the art and history of tea drinking in China.
The nightly sound and light show is known throughout the world. And for a good reason, it's the largest sound and light show in the world!!! At 8:00, all the buildings forget their own agenda of lights. In unison, they change color. The AIG tower turns green, then the International Finance Center, then this one, then that one... And if you go to a certain spot, you can hear music at the same time!!!
So those are the attractions that we visited in Hong Kong. There are several more that are relatively well known but too bad because we didn't go to them. So if you go, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!