5 Great Things to do in Hong Kong

 

It was so exciting to get the chance to travel to the vibrant and busy city of Hong Kong.  I last visited Hong Kong when I was a 10 year old child so my memory of the city was very different from the reality of modern Hong Kong!

Luckily, we had Angela, our lovely Homestay Student, living with us and her home town was Hong Kong.  Angela was here in Perth to study marketing at the University of Western Australia and she provided us with lots of great insider information about exactly what to do in Hong Kong.

Angela graduation UWA
Graduation Day for Angela *photo credit Marco

Angela set up a private Facebook Group which she updated with all manner of research and information about places she felt we should see.  As I did my own research and added options I had read about, Angela let me know which things should not be a priority for us.

Where We Stayed:

This was an all expenses paid trip and the accommodation was super high end – grateful!.  We stayed at the Shangri-La which is priced around $750 per night and is a stunning hotel with beautiful food.  We had a Harbour View Room which had a stunning view of the promenade below and Victoria Harbour.

The Breakfast Menu:

The breakfast was one of the best I had seen and included foods from every culture along with waffles and ice cream which Jeff found irresistible.  Every. Single. Day!  The hotel has a wonderful tea menu including the most delicious Ginger Tea I had ever tasted.

Shangri-La Hong Kong view
The view from our room in the Shangri-La Hong Kong

The Best Transport System:

There are many choices of things to do in Hong Kong and I was very grateful for all the advice that Angela had given me. The public transport system is truly amazing with the subway system  easy to navigate provided you remember which letter of the alphabet you entered from!  The local transport card, the “Octopus Card”, can also be used at convenience stores and coffee shops.  We had $200 loaded onto it and used it a lot.

Remember to Keep to the Right:

Everything moves super fast in the subway including the travelators and the escalators.  You feel like you will get whiplash from the fast descent but the Hong Kongers seem to be completely oblivious to the speed as they focus on their phones.   Just make sure you keep to the right to enable the fast movers to get past you.  I have read that MTR Transport have now deployed safety officers in red shirts who try to prevent people from walking on the escalators to improve safety and I am curious whether that is working!

With so many choices of awesome things to do and see, I have simplified my list down to 5 to make it a good basis to build your Hong Kong experience from.

5 Things to do in Hong Kong:

1 Visit the highest bar in the world.

The Ozone Bar at the top of the Ritz Carlton Hotel is currently ranked as the highest bar in the world.  It sits at level 118!  The views over Hong Kong Harbour are beautiful.  They serve delicious and very different snacks too so  wear something nice because they have some rules about dress code.

Highest Bar in the world Ritz Carlton Hong Kong
We were here – Ozone Bar Hong Kong

2 Take in the view from the Peak.

Catch the tram up to the Peak to capture the views of some of the most expensive real estate on the planet.  The tram has been transporting people up and down the mountain for over 100 years and the ascent is so steep you feel like the buildings and trees are all leaning too. There are some restaurants and souvenir shops at the top.   You can even pay a photographer to capture your picture with the city in the background (we took our own).  Arrive early to avoid the massive queue that forms to purchase tram tickets.

The Peak Hong Kong
capture your picture with the city in the background

3 High Tea at the Peninsula Hotel.

This spectacular colonial style hotel serves High Tea daily to the sound of a quartet playing classical music from the upstairs balcony.  The food is scrumptious and plentiful and the tea and coffee are bottomless.  We went with a large group and waited in a very long queue despite arriving prior to the opening time however the service was impeccable making it such a treat to enjoy a silver service afternoon tea.

Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong
The service was impeccable

4 Lunch in Soho via the mid levels escalator.

Soho (South of Hollywood Road) is the trendy restaurant area and the place to go to enjoy many food choices and lots of antique shops to browse through.   The mid levels escalator, which  is the longest in the world, is cleverly switched to accommodate the pedestrian’s working hours.  We rode the escalator for miles and  made the mistake of staying on all the way to the top when the down side was switched off.  It would have been a really long hike back if we hadn’t hailed a taxi to take us back down to Central.

5  Ferry trip and tour.

Angela did not put this tour on her list of things for us to do but the ferry trip and tour was fun and we did learn a lot about Hong Kong and it’s history.  The Star Ferry took us across Hong Kong Harbour to our double decker bus with open top and audio guide.  Then we caught a traditional junk ride to view the floating restaurant, saw the old houseboats and travelled by bus through to Repulse Bay where we decided to make our own way back.  Stanley Markets was nearby for some very critical handbag shopping followed by a lovely lunch and drinks at one of the beach front cafes.

Hong Kong traditional junk ride
traditional junk ride

 Dining and the Weather:

The food in Hong Kong is absolutely beautiful.  The locals use apps to book some hidden gems and you can enjoy some really unique dining experiences.  Just about every restaurant has free wifi.

Hong Kong Foods
unique dining experiences

Our trip to Hong Kong was in November and the weather was lovely.  The pollution level causes a visual haziness and the “light pollution” from the bright city lights  prevents you from seeing any stars in the night sky.

Hong Kong is a great destination for those looking for a fast paced and exciting destination.

Hong Kong Supermarket
checking out the beautiful fruit in the local supermarket.

A couple of extra tips:

  1. Download the MTR App to assist you to easily figure out how to get around the city.
  2. The supermarkets present their produce beautifully and the quality is really high.
  3. Leave plenty of time to get to the airport.
  4. Check your bags in at Hong Kong or Kowloon stations and travel to the airport bag free.
  5. Make sure you try the Pineapple Buns.
I hope this information has been helpful in your trip planning.  Know someone who is off to Hong Kong?  Share using the buttons below.

5 Things You Should Do In Hawaii

Hawaii has always seemed like a dream destination to me. As a child I watched black and white Elvis Presley movies and fell in love with the idea of visiting Hawaii.

The opportunity to travel has come through our business and we are lucky enough to travel all expenses paid. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for the chance to visit amazing places like Hawaii.

Today I am sharing 5 things to do in Hawaii and I am focusing on the beautiful Island of O’ahu.

The Beautiful Island of O’ahu

 

O’ahu Hawaii:

O’ahu is the third largest of the Hawaiian islands and is famous for Pearl Harbour, Diamond Head and it’s capital city Honolulu.

From the moment you land at Honolulu airport you can feel the gentle heat and smell  delicious tropical fragrances. You are greeted by friendly faces wishing you “Aloha”.

We stayed in the beautiful Sheraton Waikiki this trip but have also stayed in the iconic “Rainbow” Hilton Hawaiian Village on past visits. I have googled and it is quite expensive to stay there at around $500 per night. There are abundant accommodation options at every price point as this is a popular tourist area.

With heaps of great things to do and see from the Waikiki area, tour operators are on every corner ready to hook you up with an adventure.  You can try surfing lessons, paddle boarding, hiking and outrigger rides. For those looking for more sedate experiences there some huge shopping opportunities at the massive Ala Moana Centre and the Waikele Outlets.

Here are my top tips for memorable things to do in O’ahu Hawaii

  1.  Pearl Harbour. I always feel sad to visit memorials and places connected to war but I felt it was important to visit this historic naval base. As expected, it’s a place of quiet respect for the people who lost their lives in the air attack by the Japanese which drew the US into World War 2. You can watch a movie which details exactly what happened at Pearl Harbour. The iconic memorial building takes you above the sunken USS Arizona where the oil from the ship still bubbles to the surface.
  2. Bicycle Tours. There are many bicycle tours available in Waikiki. With beautiful scenery and some wild volcanic activity this is the perfect place to ride. We cycled about 8.5km DOWNHILL after being driven up the mountain by air conditioned van. This tour is suitable for anyone who has ever ridden a bike – ever, even with trainer wheels. The guides take extreme care to ensure everyone is riding well and deliver a lengthy safety message before setting off in convey down the mountain at cautious speed. A ride leader and tail end Charlie communicate via radio and the van follows to collect anyone who decides the ride is too hard. In other words, they cover their litigation butts and it makes for a very slow, safe ride. The scenery is beautiful and as an experienced cyclist, the slowdown made me more mindful to enjoy the beautiful views.
  3. Barefoot Walk along the beach at night hand in hand. This is the ultimate romantic dream experience and just needs to be done for the memory bank and bucket list.
  4. The Pink Palace  is the famous Royal Hawaiian Hotel which opened in 1927 and was the playground of the rich and famous throughout the 1920’s and 1930’s. The hotel has a spectacular view of Diamond Head and its private beachfront is “the place” to be. We were lucky enough to be invited to a private Lanai where we were serenaded by a solo singer/guitarist while watching the sun set and tasting a delicious assortment of finger foods. The building has gone through a number of incarnations and has been renovated to preserve its opulent style.
  5. North Shore is the place to see the big waves and is the surf spot famous the world over. We took a guided tour up and stopped along the way to see the spot that Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster rolled around lustfully in the surf in the movie “From Here to Eternity”, the TV home of Magnum P.I. and took in a spectacular view of the island. From the lookout you can see Gilligan’s Island (or the island that was depicted in the TV series introduction shots)  just off the coast of O’ahu. It’s real name is Coconut Island and it’s definitely not a 3 hour cruise away. The day that we visited the North Shore, the waves were massive and even the locals had come out to watch the surfers being towed out by jetski to risk life and limb to take advantage of the huge surf.
Pearl Harbour Hawaii
The Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbour

 

Diamond Head Hawaii
Waikiki by night

 

Pink Palace Hawaii
The Pink Palace Garden Lanai

 

waves crashing on Hawaii
Surfers risk their skin on the volcanic rocks

 

 

Checklist of must do’s while you’re in Hawaii:

Best Restaurant – House Without A Key, famous for it’s signature Mai Tai.
Great Restaurant/Bar – Tommy Bahamas with it’s upstairs fire pit.          Essential Footware – Several pairs of Havianas
Sunglasses to buy – Mau Jim’s
Memento’s- iconic dashboard hula dancer and vintage playing cards.

 

Signature Mai Tai of House Without a Key

O’ahu is a beautiful place to visit, meet wonderful friendly people, taste beautiful food and capture picturesque sights with some adventure opportunities thrown in.

Have you been to any of the Hawaiian Islands? Love to hear your top tips – do post in the comments section below.

Know someone who would enjoy this information about what to do in Hawaii?  Feel free to share using the social button below.

Christmas Tree Travel Adventures

Our Christmas Tree has become a lovely reminder of travel adventures and special people.

In the beginning, Jeff and I experienced a culture clash over the Christmas tree.

Jeff stood firmly in the real pine tree cut down and shoved in a pot camp.

I wanted to unleash my creative spirit and argued for something unique and a little crazy each year.

For several years there was disharmony over the Christmas Tree. A sad state of affairs considering joy to the world and all that.

So, we compromised and bought a two metre pine look-alike to assemble each Christmas. I planned to adorn it with only angels. Angels of all kinds, plus lights. Peace on Earth!

We are blessed to get the opportunity to travel and in each city we visit we look for a Christmas Tree Decoration. Our tree has become like a travel journal.

Each year when we put up our tree, the decorations remind us of places we have been.

Last year, Angela who stayed with us from Hong Kong, took enormous pleasure in decorating our tree. She added a Pineapple Bun decoration from her city. Angela studied Marketing at the University of WA and did everything with flair and passion.

This year, our tree was installed and decorated by Ziye, Iris and Addie from China. Ziye has been with us since February and Iris since July.  They were fascinated to see the Cloisonne Panda from Beijing and to hear about our experiences and what we ate in China.

Hawaii
Helsinki
Amsterdam
Disneyland
Sweden

Now we have added a new tradition. With the birth of our first Grandchild this year, Chloe and Joel presented us with a customised decoration for Xavier William’s first Christmas. So much Love!

 

I wonder how many Grandchild first Christmases we will celebrate.

How wonderful, how blessed.